IBM to Manufacture Via Esther Processor

Via plans to allow IBM Microelectronics to manufacture its next-generation "Esther" processor.

Via Technologies Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to allow IBM Microelectronics Inc. to manufacture its next-generation "Esther" processor.

Vias decision is another feather in the cap of IBM, which will serve as a foundry for chips from Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Nvidia Corp. and other chip vendors. IBM will handle Vias transition to 90nm geometries, and take advantage of IBMs silicon-on-insulator technology.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC) will continue to produce Vias existing processor lines as well as its core logic chipsets and advanced communications, networking and multimedia solutions, the company said.

"We are delighted to be working with IBM, and believe that our combined expertise in processor design and manufacturing will ensure that we continue to produce the worlds smallest and most efficient native x86 processors," said Wenchi Chen, president and chief executive of Via Technologies, in a statement. "Via processors are spurring the development of exciting new devices in areas such as the connected home and mobile entertainment, and we are confident that our new partnership with IBM will lead to unprecedented innovation in future convergence device markets."

The next-generation processors will be manufactured at IBMs state-of-the-art 300mm (12-inch) foundry in East Fishkill, N.Y.

In October, Via disclosed the Esther processor, planned to launch this quarter. The chip, estimated to run about 2.0GHz, will contain a pin that will allow an OEM to switch between a Via bus and Intels native Banias bus, courtesy of Viaslicensing agreement with Intel.