IBM consortium catches up in 45nm chip race

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IBM consortium catches up in 45nm chip race

First working silicon promised for late 2007.

A consortium of IBM, Chartered Semiconductor, Infineon and Samsung has created its first silicon-functional circuits using a 45nm production process on 300mm wafers.

The group has produced a chip which includes standard library cells and I/O elements provided by Infineon, as well as embedded memory developed by the alliance.

The component demonstrated a 30 per cent increase in performance over 65nm chips, the group claimed.

Research for the development was performed at IBM's Advanced Semiconductor Technology Centre in East Fishkill, New York.

Collaboration on the development of advanced process technology has been going on for some time, and the first working 45nm silicon is expected to start shipping by the end of 2007.

The consortium has also released a design kit that seeks to entice third-party chip designers to create chips on top of its technology.

Infineon board member Hermann Eul touted the 45nm chips as ideally suited for mobile applications because they deliver reduced power consumption and increased performance.

"The first structures in 45nm represent our most cutting-edge technology, bringing together high-performance capabilities and low power consumption," he said.

"This solution is clearly well suited to address the needs of next-generation mobile applications."

The consortium, however, is trailing behind microprocessor manufacturers Intel and AMD in the race towards 45nm processors. 

Intel produced the industry's first 45nm test silicon in January, followed by AMD in April. Both companies are expected to ship 45nm processors in 2007 or early 2008.

Current advanced semiconductors are made using a 65nm production process. The number refers to the average feature size inside the semiconductor.
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