NEC joins IBM 32nm chip plan

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NEC has become the latest company to partner up with IBM in its efforts to build a 32nm processor..

The two companies said in a joint release on Thursday that the Japanese electronics firm will join seven other companies on Big Blue's project to piece together the components for a 32nm chip.

The efforts will focus mainly on the development of CMOS circuit designs which are considered to be vital in the development of 32nm-scale electronics.

Currently, NEC is working jointly with Toshiba on 45nm and 32nm CMOS development. The new deal will expand that partnership to include IBM and the other partners. The firms will divide up the research and development costs of the project.

"At the highest levels of technology, it is becoming increasingly difficult for semiconductor companies to differentiate their products on the core CMOS process technologies alone," said NEC president and chief executive Toshio Nakajima.

"A better course is to share the development costs of a common process platform with leading semiconductor manufacturers from around the world."

If the project is successful, NEC hopes to use the new development processes to make embedded DRAM memory chips as well as new system on a chip products.

The partnership also gives IBM another partner in the race to be the first to market with 32nm chips. The company is currently in a race with Intel to develop the chips and Big blue hopes that its collaborative efforts will give it the upper hand.
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