AMD, IBM pool chipmaking development

Makes sense

AMD and IBM are teaming up to develop chipmaking processes for use in new high-performance processors.

IBM is of course a major semiconductor player and a powerhouse of materials and processor design. But like AMD, it is a minnow compared with Intel. An AMD-IBM combo should mean that both can now comfortably, or less uncomfortably than before, keep pace with the capex arms race set in train by Intel.

AMD and IBM say they will aim to improve microprocessor performance and cut power consumption, through the use of materials such as high-speed silicon-on-insulator (SOI) transistors, copper interconnects and improved low-k dielectric insulation.

The duo are also collaborating on 65nm and 45nm production technologies to be used in 300mm silicon wafers. They reckon the first 65nm chips will roll out of their respective fabs in 2005.

In January last year, AMD announced a deal with UMC, the Taiwanese contract semiconductor maker, to build a new 300mm wafer chipmaking factory in Singapore. But according to EE Times, the IBM deal means the end of this relationship. The UMC gig had only got to memorandum of understanding stage, AMD told the magazine. ®

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