When Sun switches to 45-nanometer chips, it will use Taiwan
Semiconductor to produce this next generation of UltraSPARC processors.
Sun Microsystems is turning to a new partner to help build
its next generation of UltraSPARC microprocessors.
The Santa Clara, Calif.,
company announced Feb. 19 that it has inked an agreement with Taiwan
Semiconductor Manufacturing and will use its foundry to manufacture Sun's next-generation,
45-nanometer UltraSPARC processors.
"One of the reasons why we chose TSMC is that when we looked
at our road map, we saw the processor nodes changing from 45 nanometers and then
to 32 nanometers, and we were looking to increase the performance and the
timing [of brining the UltraSPARC processors to market]," said Fadi Azhari, director
of marketing for SPARC CMT (chip
multithreading technology) for Sun.
"What TSMC offered really fit in what we wanted to do," said
Azhari. "The second reason is that TSMC has a high-volume foundry business and
we benefit from economies of scale."
For years, Sun relied on Texas Instruments and that
company's fabs to produce its microprocessors. Azhari said TI will continue to
assist Sun in the development, testing and packaging of its chips, but the bulk
of the production for 45-nanometer will now switch to TSMC. TI will continue to
produce Sun's line of 65-nanometer processors, including the UltraSPARC T2, or Niagara
2, chip that came to market in August.