IBM to unveil cutting-edge chip design

IBM said it will introduce a new chip design next week that combines two cutting-edge semiconductor technologies in a single product. The result, according to IBM, will be a versatile, high-performance chip for use in next-generation wireless telephones and other advanced communications products.

Big Blue's design makes use of copper wires, which can carry signals between transistors at faster rates than can traditional aluminum wiring. The design also employs a silicon germanium (SiGe) process, which greatly improves the performance of the transistors themselves, IBM said in a statement.

Although each technology has been used separately, IBM will be the first company to combine copper and SiGe in a single, high-performance chip, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, a market research firm.

"By combining these two rather esoteric technologies, IBM should be able to produce chips that go even faster than merely using copper with traditional CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor), or silicon germanium with traditional aluminum," Brookwood said.

IBM plans to target the chips for use in advanced communications products, including Internet-ready 3G (third-generation) wireless phones, and 40 Gigabit-per-second SONET (synchronous optical network) equipment, the company said.

Getting the chip from the design stage into commercial production won't be easy, however. Both technologies -- especially silicon germanium -- are complex and tricky to manufacture, Brookwood said.

"It will be a real feather in IBM's cap that they've been able to combine these two," he said.

IBM didn't say when it expects to begin producing the chips commercially. Further details will be presented at the International Electron Device Meeting, a conference scheduled for next week in Washington, D.C., IBM said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?