By Kate Concannon
Mere minnows under Intel’s shadow, the AMD-IBM microprocessor-production partnership could see both manufacturers up their stake in the chip market.
AMD and IBM have announced their decision to combine forces to develop processes for manufacturing high-performance chips. Both companies hope this collaboration will add might to their fight against the world’s chip giant, Intel.Chip-making processes developed by California-based AMD and New York-based IBM will be engineered to facilitate the production of microprocessors that clock faster speeds with lower power consumption. High speed silicon on insulator (SOI) transistors, “low-k dielectric” insulation and copper interconnects are just some of the technologies planned to be utilised in these processes.The partners will also be cooperating on technologies for 65nm and 45nm chip production on 300mm silicon wafers. According to AMD and IBM’s progress forecast, the first batches of 65nm chips will be signing out of their fabs in 2005. "We are set to commence production of our 90nm solutions in the fourth quarter of 2003, so we are now expanding process-technology development efforts for our next generation of processors targeted at 65nm and below," says AMD chief scientist Bill Siegle. The announcement of this tie-up seems to suggest the end of the relationship with Taiwanese contract semiconductor maker, UMC — a relationship that AMD had seriously considered solidifying last year, with the establishment of a 300mm fab in Singapore.