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ATI signs Chartered as graphics chip maker

UMC deal in the offing, too?

Claims that ATI has signed UMC as a foundry partner may prove premature. The graphics chip maker yesterday said it had brought in Singapore's Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing as its second chip producer.

ATI will be using Chartered to manufacture Imageon 2240 mobile media processors, which the foundry is punching out using its 130nm process.

ATI has traditionally worked exclusively with TSMC, the world's biggest chip foundry. It even went so far as to highlight the close partnership when arch-rival Nvidia, also a TSMC customer, brought IBM on board as a second foundry partner a few years ago.

However, recent reports concerning ATI's upcoming R5xx series of graphics chips have named UMC, TSMC's arch-rival and the world's second biggest foundry, as the producer of the entry-level R516, a cut-down version of the eagerly anticipated and delayed R520 next-generation chip.

The Chartered deal doesn't preclude ATI from signing UMC. Indeed, UMC is said to be gearing up to produce ATI chips using a 90nm process, whereas Chartered is focusing on the 130nm node. ®

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