IBM Announces New Chip Making Method
IBM officially announced that it is producing the PowerPC 970FX today based on "a new method of manufacturing to make microprocessors that consume less power".
The new manufacturing process for the new chips includes silicon-on-insulator, strained silicon and copper wiring based on a 90nm chip making process. The resulting chip "which can process vast amounts of computer memory compared with a standard 32-bit chip, can either run at faster speeds or use less power".
According to Richard Doherty, research director at Envisioneering, "It's logical that Apple would select the flexibility of this chip for a next-generation notebook computer."
The incorporation of both Silicon-on-insulator and strained silicon gives credence to this early rumor report which claimed that IBM was producing chips using a new SSOI (strained silicon on insulator) manufacturing process. Previous expectations had targeted this technology at a later date (2005).
The new chips are already being used in the Xserve G5s. More information should become available at the ISSCC 2004 conference this next week.