Combining a new production process with a high-volume new processor architecture is a bit of a gamble, but it looks like it might be paying off with the upcoming AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs as early yields are looking good. An anonymous source is stating that AMD’s 7nm processor yields are sitting around the 70% mark, and at this stage in production that’s actually a pretty good figure.
The chip yield is one of the most important metrics in terms of silicon production. If your manufacturing process is delivering high yields that means a greater percentage of the chips on an individual wafer are deemed functional. There will always be defects in such precise manufacturing, so some of the chips on any given wafer will be dead on arrival, but however much you cut that down increases your profitability.
What classes a chip as a failure though can change. With AMD using a chiplet approach, and creating a huge spread of different chips from its Zen 2 architecture, there is a fair amount of variation in what the chips off the production line need to be capable of.
If a potential eight-core AMD Zen 2 chiplet cannot function with all of its cores loaded then there’s a chance that AMD could disable certain parts of the chips to cut it down to six-cores, for example. This would mean a failed eight-core chiplet could still have life. This isn’t necessarily how AMD is utilising TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process, but demonstrates how its smart one-architecture chiplet design could make things as simple, and as profitable, as possible in terms of production.
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The reported 70% yield comes from a previously reliable, but unnamed, source talking to Bitsandchips in Italy (via Guru3D). It also goes on to point out that Intel’s current 28-core 14nm CPU yield is hovering around the 35% mark and, given that AMD’s design is working from eight-core chiplets, it’s a lot easier to manufacture eight chiplets than a single, monolithic 64-core die.
So 35% yield versus 70% yield on both Intel and AMD’s most expensive professional server parts respectively. Guess who’s going to be just printing dollars with those numbers…
AMD’s Ryzen 3000 and EPYC chips will be out this year, and we’re expecting a big announcement at Computex at the end of May, beginning of June.