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IBM, Others Join To Develop 32-Nanometer Microprocessors

The smaller the design, the more transistors can be built on the microprocessor, increasing its performance-to-power ratio.

IBM and four other semiconductor makers on Wednesday agreed to jointly develop technology for producing 32-nanometer microprocessors. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

IBM, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Freescale Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies, and Samsung Electronics have had a series of semiconductor process development and manufacturing agreements. The latest involves the development of 32-nanometer complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS), the most widely used integrated circuit designs. The partners also agreed to develop process design kits to support the technology.

The companies have worked together in the past in developing and manufacturing 90-, 65-, and 45-nanometer chips. The smaller the design, the more transistors can be built on the microprocessor, increasing its performance-to-power ratio.

The latest agreement covers design, development, and manufacturing of the advanced technology through 2010. The microprocessors would fit in a broad range of systems, from handheld devices to supercomputers, the companies said in a joint statement.

IBM, Chartered, and Samsung plan to use the jointly developed 32-nanometer process technology and design kits to synchronize their manufacturing facilities, the companies said. This will enable them to produce nearly identical chips for their respective OEM clients, which require a multisourcing model and expect early access to new technology.

As with previous projects, 32-nanometer development activities will take place at IBM's 300-millimeter semiconductor fabrication facility in East Fishkill, N.Y. Freescale is the newest member to the alliance, joining on Jan. 23.

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