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MS pronounces TSMC an 'Xbox 2' partner

Redmond-designed chipset?

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Microsoft yesterday added TSMC to its list of "future Xbox products" chip makers, hiring the world's largest semiconductor foundry to punch out 90nm parts, it is believed.

"Future Xbox products", is generally taken as code for Xbox 2. The announcement is widely being seen as confirmation that Microsoft plans to design more of the console's chippery itself rather than simply buying in components from other suppliers.

"The breakthrough agreement expands an ongoing relationship between the two companies by providing Microsoft with direct, collaborative access to TSMC's advanced semiconductor process technologies," the companies said.

However, it has already contracted IBM and ATI to work on the next-gen console's CPU and graphics chips, respectively. The deal with TSMC is likely to centre on the production of the machine's ancillary chip set and possibly - given the close ties between TSMC and ATI - its graphics engine.

Microsoft has also signed SiS to make I/O chips for the new console. ®

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