"IBM, based in Armonk, New York, said that it was using the method, which combines three existing technologies used in chip manufacturing, to build its PowerPC 970FX microprocessor in its new East Fishkill, New York plant.
After a slow start, IBM has been ramping up production at the chip plant. The current version of the PowerPC 970FX chip, the 970, is used by IBM in some of its computers as well as Apple Computer Inc. in its Xserve G5 computer server.
With the new manufacturing process, the 64-bit 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, said Richard Doherty, research director at Envisioneering.
Given the chip's reduced need for power, which means longer battery life, Apple may consider it for use in a notebook computer for gaming enthusiasts, Doherty said.
"It's logical that Apple would select the flexibility of this chip for a next-generation notebook computer," Doherty said.
The manufacturing process uses high-performance chip-making technologies including silicon-on-insulator, strained silicon and copper wiring and is based on a 90-nanometer chip making process. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.
That technology that shrinks the circuitry of the chip to make the 970FX, making it easier to put more transistors on a chip and increasing performance."
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