Chinese Chipmaker Licenses IBM Technology - InformationWeek

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Chinese Chipmaker Licenses IBM Technology

SMIC will use IBM's 45-nanometer technology in graphics chipsets and advanced mobile phones.

Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. said Wednesday it has licensed IBM's 45-nanometer integrated circuit technology.

SMIC said it would use IBM's CMOS technology on 300-millimeter silicon wafers used in SMIC fabrication plants. CMOS, or complementary metal-oxide semiconductor, is a major class of integrated circuits used in microprocessors.

The IBM technology will be used in building graphics chips and chipsets and in components for advanced mobile phones and other consumer devices, the companies said in a joint statement. The licensed technology is expected to complement SMIC's work in 65-nanometer low-power technology.

SMIC, based in Shanghai, is among the largest wafer fabrication facilities, or fabs, in China. The company has two 300-millimeter wafer fabs in its Beijing megafab. In addition, SMIC will manage and operate a 300-millimeter wafer fab in Wuhan. That fab is owned by Wuhan XinXin Semiconductor Manufacturing.

Making chips with 45-nanometer integrated circuits boosts overall processing power by fitting more transistors on a processor than chips made with larger circuits. Intel started shipping 45-nanometer chips this year, and Advanced Micro Devices is expected to follow in 2008.

IBM and its joint development partners announced this month that they would make next-generation 32-nanometer processors available in the second half of 2009. IBM partners include AMD, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Freescale, Infineon, and Samsung.

IBM and its alliance partners have not yet begun volume production of 45-nanometer devices. That's expected to start at the end of the first quarter of 2008. The 32-nanometer devices are expected to deliver 30% higher performance than 45-nanometer products, while cutting power usage by 45%.

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