Big Blue hypes up 0.13 micron capability
'Will be number two to Intel within five years'
IBM plans on giving Chipzilla a run for its money in the Marchitecture department with the announcement of 0.13 micron process using copper interconnects coupled with silk insulation. Silk is a low-k dilectric produced by Dow Chemical in the US. "Every 50 years or 100 years in the world, something major comes along and changes the world forever. This is one of those very, very big things," said the excitable John Kelly, general manager of IBM Microelectronics. Chips built using the new process could perform up to 30 per cent faster than existing products and consume less power, making them suitable for applications such as mobile phones, but production chips won't be available until the middle of 2001. A design kit will be available in July. Analysts can't agree on the lead IBM has over rival chip makers, variously quoting three months to two years. One even reckons IBM will be second only to Intel in chip manufacture by 2005. Although IBM's new C11 process is proprietary, Dow's silk product is commercially available so Intel and co will also be able to use it in their 0.13 micron (and smaller) processes. IBM is producing sample chips using the new low-k process on a pilot production line in Fishkill, NY and plans to build both ASICs and future variants of the Power4 processor, used in the RS/6000 and AS/400 ranges, using C11. ®