Luther Forest holds AMD info luncheon in Saratoga

At a luncheon sponsored by the Luther Forest Technology Campus, Advanced Micro Devices officials discussed every aspect of their prospective move to the Malta site except for oneare they actually coming?

While talking about their planning at the Tuesday, Jan. 23, City Center event in Saratoga Springs, AMD officials stopped short of committing to the Luther Forest site.

We expect the decision to be made some time this year, maybe sooner rather than later, but that's to be determined," said Terry Caudell, AMD's director of wafer manufacturing strategies.

AMD spokesman Travis Bullard reiterated what Caudell said, but added the computer chip industry is very competitive and very volatile, but company officials are assuming the plant will go forward.

The microchip manufacturing plant is in the early stages of the design phase, he said, adding chip plant builder M+W Sander has been hired to do a detailed plant design starting in mid-February.

If the approval to move ahead with the Luther Forest plant comes, the most likely ground-breaking would be in 2008, Caudell said.

The plant, which is now conceptually known as "Fab 4X" (AMD names their plants for the number of years they were built after the establishment of the company in 1969), would not begin chip production until after 2010, Caudell said.

"From the time the first spade breaks soil to the time chip production begins would be about two, two-and-a-half years," he told a group of nearly 700 people at the $30-a-plate luncheon.

Caudell later clarified what would actually take place at the Malta/Stillwater site, should it materialize. The fabrication plant wouldn't actually produce microchips"those are made at plants in Asia"but would refine and process the silicon wafers that are used for the microprocessors. The plant would be 1.2 million square feet and use the state-of-the art 300 mm wafer technology, in which the circuits themselves are 32 nanometers " 32 one-billionths of an inch. The technology produced at the plant, he said, would be a few years from the commercial market.

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