Texas Instruments Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. announced Monday that qualification tests on the first copper-interconnect versions of the UltraSparc III microprocessor have been completed and production quantities with 900-MHz clock rates are expected to begin shipping within three months.
The devices are the first copper-interconnect devices manufactured by TI, which is expected to incorporate the copper process in its DSP offerings within the next six months, said Julie England vice president of TI's Sun Business Unit.
"By combining copper, low-K dielectric and 100 nanometer transistors on TI's 0.15 micron process we have boosted performance over competing devices," England said in a statement. "TI looks forward to working with Sun to enable the UltraSparc processor roadmap well into the gigahertz era."
TI began working with Sun on the manufacturing of Sparc-based processor in 1988, and in September of last year introduced the first UltraSparc III device with a clock rate of 750-MHz.
The Sparc processors are designed by Sun and manufactured by TI. The newest devices are expected to be used in Sun's Blade 1000 workstations.
"Implementing copper, low-K dielectric and a new transistor deliver a triple play in giving us enhanced flexibility to field new variations of the UltraSparc III chip that offer high clock speeds, lower power consumption, greater reliability, lower memory latency, and other features essential for workstation and server computing," said David Yen, vice president and general manager of Sun's Processor Products Group.
Previous generations of the Sparc processor have utilized aluminum interconnect technology. By using copper, the processor is able to increase performance speed to 900-MHz while maintaining the same power dissipation as the 750-MHz version, Yen said.