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Nintendo Wii To Embed NEC's DRAM

NEC selects MoSys as the DRAM macro design partner for the Wii, saying the company has experience in implementing 1T-SRAM macros on NEC's eDRAM process.
MoSys Inc. and NEC Electronics officials confirmed Monday they will supply Nintendo Co. Ltd. with 1T-SRAM and eDRAM technology, respectively, for the Wii game console.

MoSys and Nintendo have worked together for the last six years. Previous generations of MoSys' 1T-SRAM technology were built into the GameCube. The newest 1T-SRAM technology embedded in the Wii console use NEC Electronics' 90-namometer CMOS-compatible embedded DRAM (eDRAM) process technology.

NEC said it selected MoSys as the DRAM macro design partner for the Wii because the company has experience in implementing 1T-SRAM macros on NEC's eDRAM process.

Technical specifications for the Wii have been left purposely vague by Nintendo, making the console appear less powerful in contrast to the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Lack of concrete information has left analyst and industry observers to speculate based on expertise as to the console's abilities.

"Microsoft and Sony want cinematic quality," which relies on the interaction between the main memory, processor and graphics cards, explained Tony Massimini, chief of technology at consulting firm Semico Research Corp. "Nintendo isn't really going for the same cinema quality, but rather the fun experience," he said. "NEC has turned to MoSys, which is a design house, for their 1T-SRAM design, so consumers can expect improved graphics over the previous generation of Nintendo console."

Designed to provide advanced graphics for the new gaming platform, NEC will manufacture the LSI chips with eDRAM on the company's 300-millimeter production lines.

Some analysts weren't particularly impressed by the news, calling the need for better power and processing speeds as a given to handle detailed graphics. "When you're processing the data on games, you need the horse power," said Chris Crotty, senior analyst for consumer electronics at iSuppli Corp. "If you think about all the high-def games coming out, you need a good engine to get up the hill."

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