SAN FRANCISCO – Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Monday launched a line of computer processors that use less power, saying its adoption of new manufacturing techniques will help it compete with rival Intel Corp.
The development helps AMD close a manufacturing gap with Intel, which has been using the advanced chipmaking process for more than a year.
Each new generation of chipmaking tools shrinks circuitry further, making chips run faster and use less energy. It also boosts profits by letting chipmakers produce more chips from a single slice of silicon.
AMD is essentially taking an existing chip design, the Athlon 64 FX for desktop computers, and shrinking it. The processors are priced from $169 to $301 depending on speed and use about 30 percent less energy than the earlier versions.
It will soon roll out lower power chips for laptops and the server computers that run business networks, as well as chips that deliver a mix of lower power and faster performance, Kepler told Reuters in an interview.
“We are leading with energy-efficient versions and taking benefits of the technology entirely in power because that’s what our customers want — lower power,” said Nick Kepler, AMD’s vice president of logic technology development.
The chips have circuitry that is only 65 nanometers wide, or about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. AMD’s current chips are made with 90-nanometer circuitry.
“Our 65-nanometer conversion is happening at a very good time. We’ve had tremendous demand over the past year. We have gone from having a very small market share to over 20 percent market share and moving to 65 nanometer will help us support that demand,” Kepler said.
Kepler also said AMD planned to make chips on 45-nanometer technology by the middle of 2008, with 32-nanometer chips to follow less than two years after that. The company works with International Business Machines Corp. to develop new manufacturing techniques.
Intel plans to start 45-nanometer production in mid-2007.