IBM is all set to stir up the world of telephony by building a new set of custom chips which will help commercialise some of its breakthrough chip technologies in the communications, storage and mobile market.
Launched at the annual Design Automation Conference held in San Diego on 5 June, these chips will allow IBM to create more powerful designs in less time and at lower cost for for telephony backbone as well as handheld devices.The company already builds ASICs for the telephony market.
IBM plans to roll out a suite of ASIC chips including the top-of-the-shelf Power6 range, using SOI wafer technology for the communications, consumer and other major market segments. The current domain for SOI has been microprocessors produced by IBM, AMD, Sony and Freescale.
This is the first time a new generation of embedded dynamic random access memory (eDRAM) implemented in Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology is being used commercially. This technology was introduced in February 2007 at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC). Using the SOI technology will help IBM achieve a 30% performance gain compared to chips using standard CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) technolog. And by building it on a scale of 45-nanometer feature sizes, IBM is expected to achieve higher performance than comparable 65nm chips.
IBM also launched three other digital and analog semiconductor products for mobiles and other wireless products. These are:
SiGe BiCMOS 5PAe: this silicon germanium-based analog offering is the first-ever IBM product based on the IBM through-silicon via technology and can lower costs for clients who are designing power amplifiers for cell phones, wireless phones and WLAN/WiMAX applications.
CMOS 11LP: optimized for lower device leakage for handset design, includes performance and low leakage SRAM, two standard cell libraries, and is built on state-of-the-art immersion photolithography technology.
SiGe BiCMOS 6WL technology: a cost-optimized version of existing IBM technology, a value for money option for clients demanding high performance analog for high-volume consumer applications including mobile phones, WLAN and global positioning devices.