The X Initiative, a semiconductor supply-chain consortium, has hailed Toshiba as the producer of the industry's first functional silicon for the X Architecture.
The X Architecture represents a redesigned way of orienting a chip's microscopic interconnecting wires using diagonal pathways, as well as the traditional right-angle, or 'Manhattan', configuration.
By enabling designs with significantly less wire and fewer vias (the connectors between wiring layers), it is hoped that the X Architecture can provide significant, simultaneous improvement in chip performance, power consumption and cost.
The fabricated 90-nanometer (nm) functional test chip confirms the wire-length and via reduction benefits of the X Architecture, and completes the X Initiative's road map for preparing the semiconductor design chain for production of X Architecture chips.
The five-metal-layer test chip was fabricated in Toshiba's 90-nm semiconductor process, using its standard process, equipment and materials for this node.
Compared to a Manhattan version of the same design, the X Architecture implementation required 14 per cent less total wire length and 27 per cent fewer vias. The test chip is fully functional at its specified operating frequency.
Takashi Yoshimori, technology executive at Toshiba, said: "We have been convinced of the potential benefits of the X Architecture since we first became involved in its development more than four years ago.
"We are very gratified to see our investment in this new chip architecture rewarded with the positive results from our milestone functional test chip. We are satisfied that we are ready to go to volume production with the X Architecture in 2004."
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