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Big Blue gets copper bottom

Power PC 750 goes 33 per cent faster

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IBM will announce today the shipment of copper interconnect technology on a flavour of the 750 Power PC processor. The 400MHz processor uses IBM-developed technology to speed connections on the chip using copper rather than the more conventional aluminium. The chip it will introduce had previously run at 300MHz using the aluminium technology. The first machines likely to use the re-vamped processor will be Apple Mac machines, both in new PCs and also in upgrade cards for Macs. But other chip manufacturers, including AMD, will also use the copper interconnect process in chips they manufacture. AMD already has a deal with IBM partner Motorola, which also has access to the copper interconnect technology. Intel, on the other hand, is unlikely to deploy similar technology until early into the next century. Although it is also working on copper interconnects, it lags behind Big Blue. Whether NatSemi-Cyrix will be able to use the IBM technology is subject to some doubt. Last week, it said it would switch most of its production from IBM fabrication plants to its own. ®

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