SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- In an apparent switch in strategy, Transmeta Inc. has selected Japan's Fujitsu Ltd. as the first foundry for a 90-nm version of its next-generation processor line, dubbed Efficeon.
Previously, Transmeta had its processors exclusively made on a foundry basis by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC). "We are expanding our foundries," according to a spokesman for Transmeta, a Santa Clara-based supplier of microprocessors for embedded and computer applications.
The Transmeta spokesman said TSMC will continue to make the company's existing Crusoe line of processors, based on 0.13-micron process technology. TSMC will also build a 0.13-micron version of Transmeta's next-generation Efficeon processor, which will be rolled out at next week's Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, according to the spokesman.
"TSMC is still our foundry for 0.13-micron processors," the spokesman said. Transmeta has not announced whether or not TSMC will make the company's processors, based on 90-nm technology, the spokesman said.
But in what appears to be a switch in strategy, Transmeta tapped Fujitsu as its initial foundry for 90-nm process technology. The spokesman for the U.S. chip maker said Transmeta evaluated several foundries for the 90-nm technology. "We felt Fujitsu had the best performing 90-nm processors," the spokesman said.
Engineering teams from Transmeta and Fujitsu have been working closely together to port Transmeta's new Efficeon processor design to Fujitsu's CS100 90-nm CMOS process.
The Efficeon processor family is geared for high-performance and mainstream notebooks, tablet PCs, ultra-personal computers, silent desktops, blade servers and embedded systems. Volume production for the 90-nm version of Efficeon is slated for the second-half of 2004.
Fujitsu's CS100 process features a 240-nm metal pitch and a 40-nm transistor gate length. With up to 11 layers of metal interconnect, the process is suited for high density CPU devices. Fujitsu will build the 90-nm generation of the Efficeon processor family at the Akiruno Technology Center near Tokyo. Fujitsu began building CPUs based on the technology for its internal server groups earlier this year.
"Earlier this year we conducted a worldwide investigation and found that Fujitsu's 90-nm process delivered the best performance of any technology we evaluated," says Matthew Perry, president and CEO of Transmeta, in a statement. "The combination of high performance transistors, long history in building advanced CPU chips, strong manufacturing prowess, and time to market were some of our key deciding factors in selecting Fujitsu."