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Xilinx parts with IBM on 90nm chip production

Posted: 15 Jun 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:programmable logic? 90nm? spartan-3? FPGA?

Programmable logic vendor Xilinx Inc. announced that it does not plan to produce 90nm FPGAs at IBM Microelectronics, and will instead continue to rely on Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corp.

"Although UMC remains our primary manufacturing partner, IBM continues to be a candidate for future foundry decisions," Xilinx said in a statement.

Though UMC has effectively been Xilinx's primary supplier of 90nm devices for more than a year, the move nonetheless signals a shift in Xilinx's strategy of having two manufacturing sources.

Xilinx did not cite a reason for parting with IBM, though company officials have acknowledged that IBM has had trouble attaining sufficient yields for its first 90nm products, the Spartan-3.

Xilinx said it has shipped more than 500,000 Spartan-3 devices made by UMC since last year but has not been able to keep up with demand for the low cost FPGA family.

UMC is also set to produce Xilinx's second 90nm product family, the recently announced Virtex 4. The devices will be produced on 300mm wafers and should start shipping this fall, according to Xilinx.

Virtex 4 uses 11 layers of metal and includes triple oxides, allowing the use of three transistor types per device. The Spartan-3 is based on a dual oxide process, according to Xilinx VP and general manager Erich Goetting, during a recent presentation with financial analysts.

The Virtex 4 will be produced at UMC's Fab 12 in Taiwan, where the company's Virtex 2 and Virtex 2 Pro are now made. The company will also tap a newer UMC fab in Singapore, Goetting said.

Goetting said Xilinx will consider using IBM for future products. "On the 90nm generation it turned out that UMC and IBM were very, very close in terms of time frame and thus there wasn't a big advantage to go with one or the other. So we decided to go with UMC. That may change in the future in terms of 65nm and 45nm," he said.

- Anthony Cataldo

EE Times

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