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IBM ahead of the 0.09 micron chips

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IBM close to the historic chip milestone with 0.09 micron circuitry. According to some sources, in fact, today Big Blue will announce that it has laid the foundations and launched the process to churn out a processor with this record level of circuit miniaturization.

A chip with 0.09 micron circuitry would constitute the breakdown of a significant barrier in the field of semiconductor technology. Currently more refined processes, such as the one in use for Intel's Pentium 4 processors, allow to produce 0.13 micron chips. A 0.09 micron chip would mean a significant step forward and the prospect of faster, smaller and less energy-hungry processors.

The first 0.09 micron chip, although released by IBM's factories, will not carry the Internationa Business Machines brand, but Xilinx and will be a FPGA series chip, known for their reprogramming capacity and used in markets where they do not exist. standardized systems.

Although the processor will not be IBM, however, the fact that this will leave its factories is a fact of great interest for Big Blue who has created and built the tools necessary for its production and studied the manufacturing processes acquiring the know-how necessary in advance than the competition. IBM has also refined the processes in its new East Fishkill plant which will host the production of other chips, this time from IBM itself and always from 0.09 microns.

The Xilinx chip is expected to go into production by the first quarter of next year with full production by mid-year. By the second half of 2003, the plant should also produce other 0.09 micron chips entering direct competition with Intel which foresees the release of Prescott, its first 0.09 micron chip, in that time window.

Recall that IBM has explicit plans for the release of a 0.09 micron PPC processor. This is the PPC 970 which should first be presented in a 0.13 micron version in the second half of 2003 and will soon switch to 0.09 micron technology.