Bulldozer's staggered release is starting to make sense. AMD began revenue shipments of its first Bulldozer chips earlier in the month, but those were server-based "Interlagos" parts and not the desktop "Zambezi" variant that's seen a number of delays. Chalk it up to problems on the assembly line related to the 32nm manufacturing process.
AMD confirmed as much when it reduced its third quarter forecast. The Sunnyvale chip maker previously predicted revenue would increase by 10 percent in Q3, but has dropped the forecast down to 4-6 percent.
"The less-than-forecasted preliminary third quarter 2011 revenue results are primarily due to 32nm yield, ramp, and manufacturing issues at Globalfoundries in its Dresden, Germany factory that limited supply of 'Llano.' Additionally, 45nm supply was less than expected due to complexities related to the use of common tools across both technology nodes," AMD said in a statement. "AMD continues to work closely with its key partner Globalfoundries to improve 32nm yield performance in order to satisfy strong demand for AMD products."
These issues are nothing new for Globalfoundries. AMD CFO Thomas Seifert recent complained of this very thing by saying, "We have been pretty open in that we see room for improvement on the Globalfoundries side... Performance is not where it needs to be and we are driving them very hard to where we need them to be in order to continue to grow this partnership." AMD took the precautionary step of ammending its chip agreement with Globalfoundries back in April with terms intended to give the fab incentive to improve its 32nm output, and to provide AMD with "downside protection."