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IBM on Monday officially started to offer its customers to manufacture chips using 45nm silicon-on-insulator process technology, just days before Advanced Micro Devices – which uses fabrication processes developed with IBM – plans to start shipments of its new microprocessors made using 45nm SOI node.

“45nm is our 6th generation of SOI technology and is a key driver in many collaborative designs with clients, including networking, storage, gaming, and other consumer applications,” said Mark Ireleand, vice president of IBM's semiconductor platforms, reports InformationWeek web-site.

According to IBM, the chips produced using 45nm SOI manufacturing process can offer 30% higher performance and 40% lower power usage than the conventional technology, called bulk complementary metal-oxide, or bulk CMOS.

But while SOI has many advantages, it is much more expensive compared to bulk process technologies. As a result only a number of companies utilize SOI to manufacture their products. One of such companies is AMD, which has been making its central processing units using various SOI processes for five years now. IBM also uses SOI to make its own microprocessors. Still, the mass market of semiconductors has not adopted SOI just yet.

To fuel a new class of SOI designs, IBM will provide a 45nm foundry service within its own fabs. Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing will act as a “second source” foundry for IBM’s 45nm SOI offering, reports EETimes web-site. In addition, ARM Holdings also on Monday unveiled a physical intellectual-property library offering for the 45nm SOI technology.

No actual customers for the 45nm SOI line for IBM or Chartered were disclosed.

Tags: IBM, SOI, 45nm, Semiconductors

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