Cell chip is key to Toshiba plans, says president

Toshiba's forthcoming Cell processor will lead to a "Cell World" of new products, Masashi Muromachi, president and chief executive officer of Toshiba's semiconductor company, said on Thursday. The Cell chip will power Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 3 game console, among other products.

Toshiba will boost its capital spending so it can produce the most advanced chips to help make superior networked digital consumer products through the end of the decade, Muromachi said in speech at Ceatec Japan 2004.

In slide after slide, the Cell processor appeared at the top right of Toshiba's roadmaps for next-generation chips, showing how much faster or more capable it will be than anything the company can currently offer.

While the slides lacked hard data -- the megabits per second, gigahertz, voltages and other measurements that indicate chips' horsepower -- they showed just how important the processor is becoming to Toshiba.

"We must develop the world's number-one products," Muromachi said.

"Super-high performance processors are being developed by Toshiba. I would like to talk more about Cell right now, but I will refrain from doing so," he said.

Toshiba is working on developing a Cell World of products and is pouring cash into development programs towards this end, Muromachi said. The chip is expected to provide high-speed graphics processing for Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 3. The slides from Toshiba also showed next-generation TVs, DVD players and portable electronics products using the processor.

Cell is to be produced on 65 nanometer technology, which is one generation ahead of the most advanced chips made today by Toshiba, Intel and others. The figure is a measure of the size of the smallest element on a chip: the smaller the circuits and transistors become, the greater the computing power that can be built on the chip.

In 2003, Toshiba nearly tripled its capital expenditure to YEN 168 billion (US$1.5 billion) from the previous year to build advanced production lines for chips and, for example, to make NAND-type flash memory, the type used in memory cards.

During 2001 and 2002, when people bought fewer electronics products, the chip industry, and Toshiba's capital expenditure, crashed. In 2001, Toshiba spent YEN 50 billion, Muromachi said.

But the gloom is gone, and Toshiba will continue to plow money into the future, he said.

Echoing recent comments made by Sony president Kunitake Ando, and a speech yesterday by Rick Tsai, president and CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world's largest supplier of made-to-order chips, Muromachi said the semiconductor and electronics industries are going to do well for at least the next three to four years.

Toshiba is considering a significant increase in its investment above the YEN 154 billion it has already said it will spend this year to make sure it has the facilities to make the new products. "We believe we can make an announcement about that soon," he said.

The additional money is to invest enough to make sure the company can make more NAND flash memory chips, and, in the longer term, processor chips on 45 nanometer technology after 2006, and 32 nanometer technology a few years after that, he said.

Beyond 2005, Toshiba will keep its capital expenditure at about YEN 140 billion to ÂYEN 150 billion each year for the next 5 years, he said.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Kallender

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?