TSMC making 90nm eDRAM graphics chips for MSFT’s Xbox

August 15, 2007 – TSMC says it has started making the graphics-memory subsystem for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console, using a 90nm embedded DRAM process with 80mn density design and 500MHz speeds. NEC had been the previous supplier for 90nm-based eDRAM in the Xbox’s graphics subsystem.

The Taiwan foundry says it has been in volume production of the 90nm eDRAM since 1Q06, with sets of memory macro designs being used in more than a dozen 90nm products. The 90nm eDRAM is a CMOS logic process with add-on memory module, less than half the size of an eSRAM macro and consumes less power in both active and standby modes, the foundry claims.

“The TSMC 90nm eDRAM process is exactly what we need to further strengthen our position in console gaming and entertainment,” said Bill Adamec, senior director of semiconductor technology of Microsoft, in a statement.

Microsoft already has been working with the IBM/Chartered/Samsung “Common Platform Alliance” chipmaking partnership to make the CPUs for its Xbox gaming console. Last fall, Walter Lange, newly appointed EVP at Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, explained to WaferNEWS how the Xbox contract exemplified the alliance’s ability to attract big customers, with IBM doing basic design and DFM services for masks to run at any alliance partners’ fabs, while Chartered promised high-volume production availability at market prices.

Earlier this year, TSMC and customer Nvidia said they had produced a functional 65nm embedded DRAM verified “first time right,” built on 10 metal layers using copper low-k interconnect and NiSi transistor interconnects, with nearly 50% smaller cell and macro sizes than previous high-density memory generations, and less than a quarter the cell size of its SRAM counterpart.


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