A key chip in Sony's Playstation X game consoles was implemented in a 130-nm manufacturing process even though Sony announced plans to implement the combination chip in a 90-nm process, the technology and patent analysis firm Semiconductor Insights (Ottawa, Canada) reported on Thursday (Jan. 29.)
The analysts also reported that Sony used a naming convention for the Playstation chip " the EmotionEngine + Graphics Synthesizer, also known as the EE+GS@90nm " that indicates the use of a 90-nm manufacturing 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.
Last May, 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 said to be ready for volume production.
According to a November 2003 update from Sony, its PSX DESR-5000 and DESR-7000 models were based on a 90-nm EE+GS as the CPU and graphics processor.
"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 said it removed the EE+GS@90nm chip from a PSX model DESR-5000 and determined it was implemented using 130-nm process technology with a die size of 90 mm2, the company said. That contradicts Sony's claims of using 90-nm manufacturing technology and an associated die size of 86 mm2, the Canadian analyst added.
"We often see discrepancies between announced ship dates and technology nodes, as companies are under increasing pressure to overhang 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."