RealTime IT News

China's Largest Chipmaker Gets IBM 45nm Tech

IBM has found a major new licensee for its 45-nanometer chipmaking technology -- Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., the largest chip foundry in China.

The deal will see Shanghai-based SMIC licensing IBM's 45nm bulk metal–oxide–semiconductor technology. The two companies said likely products manufactured using the technology include 3G-compatible mobile devices, multimedia and graphics chips and PC chipsets.

The agreement gives IBM a major new partner in its effort to win support for its take on 45nm chipmaking technology, which are be smaller and more efficient that current designs. In the world of chips, reducing CPU size allows for more transistors to be crammed efficiently onto a 300mm die, while reducing the heat the part generates.

To date, IBM has not yet shipped 45nm products in bulk. Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, this year began shipping processors using 45nm technology, while rival AMD is expected to follow suit next year.

"China is a rapidly growing, strategic marketplace," said Kevin Hutchings, vice president of IP Licensing for IBM.

IBM is also seeking to gain partners for its next-generation 32nm technology, which it plans to make available to partners beginning in 2009.

For SMIC, the deal gives it an edge in competing with other chip foundries. At present, the company offers larger 65nm technology, which it said is being reviewed for use by customers.

According to SMIC spokespeople, the new agreement will help the company "provide optimal solutions for our customers at our 300mm facilities," said Matthew Szymanski, vice president of corporate relations for the chipmaker.

"Coupled with IBM's expertise on design enabler and system IP comprehension, SMIC can transition our fabless customers to system-on-chip (SOC) design for the 45nm-node era," he said.