IBM is to use its most advanced manufacturing processes to make 'hybrid' microprocessor/FPGA chips for Xilinx as part of Big Blue's bid for a larger share of the foundry market.
The deal covers Xilinx's Virtex-II FPGAs with embedded IBM PowerPC microprocessors. The chips will initially be made at IBM's 200mm fab in Burlington, Vermont fab, and, from 2003, will be one of the first products through the line at IBM's 300mm line in East Fishkill, New York.
This is the first time IBM has applied its latest 0.13 and 0.10µm copper-based processes to high-volume production for a foundry customer. Normally these technologies are reserved for high-end microprocessors, custom chips and memory products.
The Virtex-II hybrid is aimed at comms, storage and consumer applications. It has been developed so that so users can easily migrate from FPGAs to IBM PowerPC ASICs and other standard products (see separate story).
Michael Mayer, general manager at IBM Microelectronics, said: "We're expanding our work with customers like Xilinx, who recognise that leading-edge technology, and the design expertise to exploit it, are critical to building today's semiconductor products.
"By fully integrating our PowerPC with Xilinx's FPGA chips, we've come up with a new design and development model. By optimising those designs with our advanced manufacturing processes, we've developed a new performance and supply model."