IBM outsources PowerPC production to Samsung

Would-be licensee?

IBM has offloaded some of its PowerPC production to Samsung, according to a Taiwanese chip design source close to IBM.

However, said source admitted the production volumes were "small", in a DigiTimes report.

Mac users need not worry in any case. With the exception of the Power Mac G5's 64-bit PowerPC 970 processor, every other Mac currently available uses Motorola-source G4-class chips. The 970 is fabbed at 130nm at IBM's 300mm wafer fab in East Fishkill, New York State.

The chips Samsung is punching out are 180nm parts produced on 200mm wafers, so at best we're talking G3-class chips - which, as we've said, Apple doesn't use.

The good news is that IBM has outsourced the production to Samsung because its own capacity is insufficient to meet growing demand, the source claims, suggesting better than anticipated sales of the products going forward. Perhaps Nintendo is ordering more GameCube chips.

The source also suggests that Samsung is interested in IBM's intellectual property, which may mean it's looking at becoming a PowerPC licensee. That would add a third chip maker to the platform.

It was also announced this week that IBM has won the contract to design and produce the second-generation Xbox console's main processor. ®