OTTAWA -- Semiconductor Insights (SI), a technology and patent analysis firm, said Thursday (January 29, 2004) that a key chip in Sony's PlayStation X games console, the Emotion Engine + Graphics Synthesizer otherwise known as the EE+GS@90nm, is shipping implemented in a 130-nanometer manufacturing process technology. This is despite announced plans to implement the combination chip in a 90-nm manufacturing process and a naming convention that implies the use of a 90-nm process.
"This discovery is contrary to Sony's announcement about this device," said Derek Nuhn, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Semiconductor Insights, in a statement.
In May of 2003 Sony and Sony Computer Entertainment announced they had integrated the Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer into a single chip with 53.5 million transistors built in a 90-nm process. The EE+GS@90nm product, was set to begin volume production at that time (see May 2, 2003, story).
A November 27, 2003 update to the Sony press release for the launch of the PSX DESR-5000 and DESR-7000 models could be read here when this story was first posted. Both models are based on a 90-nm EE+GS as the CPU and graphics processor according to the specification given there.
"Manufacturers, including Sony, are under great market pressure to deliver at 90-nm, but the reality is many are not ready," Nuhn said.
The PSX family is part of a Sony strategy to combine the company's game and electronics technologies, Semiconductor Insights said.
Semiconductor Insights staff removed the EE+GS@90nm chip from a PSX model DESR-5000 and determined it to be implemented using 130-nm process technology with a die size of 90 square millimeters, the company said. This is in contrast to Sony's claims of 90-nm manufacturing technology and an associated die size of 86 square millimeters, the Canadian analyst added.
"We often see discrepancies between announced ship dates and technology nodes, as companies are under increasing pressure to over-hang the market", said Nuhn. "The interesting issue here is how Sony met their announced die size, while implementing the device in the older technology node."