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IBM, Sony, Toshiba Build On Cell Deal

IBM, Sony and Toshiba are renewing their joint chip development, extending it with a new, five-year term.

The companies said the extension will enable them to work on 32 nanometer related research and advanced process technologies.

"By extending this relationship to the next-generation of process technologies and deepening our partnership at the research level, we expect to increase the pace of development for major technology advances," said Lisa Su, vice president of semiconductor research and development at IBM.

The research and development will occur at three facilities, including the Center for Semiconductor Research at Albany NanoTech, IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.and IBM's 300 millimeter manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, where Sony and IBM already work together thanks to the electronics maker's $325 million investment.

Sony's, IBM's and Toshiba's roots are deep. Since 2001, the partners have collaborated on 90 and 65 nanometer based process technologies, including the "Cell" microprocessor, which became available last February.

The Cell is built with 90 nanometer silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology and provides a multi-threaded, multi-core architecture that supports several operating systems and consumer electronics devices.

Sony will be using the Cell in its next generation Playstation 3 game console, which is expected to debut later this year. The Cell is also expected to find its way into Toshiba HDTVs.

On the enterprise side, the Cell can also be found in an IBM Blade Center chassis that is capable of processing at 400 gigaflops.