NEC joins IBM's Super Friends chip alliance
Intel plots from Hall of Doom
IBM has recruited NEC Electronics to its semiconductor Super Friends alliance, designed to spread out the cost of developing and producing 32-nanometer fabbed chips.
NEC is the eighth big name to add its name to the roll, which includes companies such as Samsung, Toshiba, STMicroelectronics, Infineon, Freescale and Chartered.
The companies hope pooling their cash can counter Intel's multi-billion dollar R&D budget and significant muscle in the chip game.
Specifically, NEC will extend what it knows about 45nm and 32nm CMOS process technology nodes that it currently co-develops with Toshiba to IBM and the rest of the gang. Through 2010, it intends to help develop a common 32nm processor core as well as aid with System-on-a-Chip (SoC) development and design.
"The new agreement with IBM means that NEC Electronics will develop a common semiconductor process with industry leaders, allowing us to focus on being first to market in areas of eDRAM products and SoC solutions that provide our customers with added value, such as high reliability and low power consumption," said NEC boss Toshio Nakajima in a statement.
The alliance works and schemes at IBM's East Fishkill, New York semiconductor fab and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SNSE) of the University at Albany (The fightin' purple and gold, we understand).
"As the 'scaling' of semiconductors to ever smaller feature sizes continues, the cost of conducting basic research and development and the associated capital investment continues to rise," said Gary Patton, veep at IBM's Semiconductor Research and Development Center in a statement. "Our unique collaborative model for semiconductor research and development helps to mitigate individual investment while allowing for increased design complexity, shortened time-to-market and quicker integration of next-generation process materials and technology nodes."
Hitachi, meanwhile, is sort of an odd duck in the mix. It also inked a partnership with IBM to share 32nm production techniques – yet isn't a part the alliance.
Nevertheless, the theme of the season is shaping up to be Intel versus everyone else. ®
I want a Cell based computer :)
RE: Good idea
It would be so cool if IBM brought the Cell into a linux computer, or better yet, Windows 64-bit. or maybe as a add-on card. Since games are moving to ray traced rendering, IBM could really nab some market share. I think they'd have to add some more specific ray tracing functionality, but just imagine :) Since the Cell was designed from the ground up to scale with more cores, a gamer could have a seriously powerful setup. If IBM masters optical chip interconnects, it would really be fun.
Perhaps the next step is for nVidia to acquire AMD, then merge into a close partnership or sub-company of IBM. That would give Intel an run for their money. Unfortunately, word has it that the nVidia CEO is too arrogant and blind to see any such possibilities.
Re: the real loser is Sun
Sun still exists? ;-0 heh. They need to give it up. What little valuable technology they have left should be folded into a bigger cause.
If developing smaller process costs really exceeds an individual company's possibilities, this is a good option. I prefer them teaming up over having intel (or any single commercial entity) left as the only one researching into the topic.
The real loser is Sun
Sun is out in the cold relying on TI who has announced they will exit the fabrication business.
I look forward to Cell v4 with 128 quad precision SPUs and a full featured 8 core PPU, able to stand alone as a CPU on a mainstream motherboard with SATA, SAS and 4 x PCIe16 electrical slots.
I'll be wanting to see optimized PPC Linux and Win64 distro to run on that platform too.
However, I've been drinking this evening.