Taiwan Semi Makes Chip Samples for Transmeta

HONG KONG (05/16/2000) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has completed pilot production of a 0.15 micron processor for Transmeta Corp., the microprocessor start-up that plans to create power-saving chips for portable devices.

The company could begin producing the processor in volume almost immediately if Transmeta orders them, according to TSMC spokesman J.H. Tzeng.

Transmeta in January unveiled a series of simplified processors, called Crusoe, that can perform many functions in software rather than hardware. [See "UPDATE2: Transmeta Unveils Crusoe Chip," Jan. 19.] At that time, the company said it planned to ship commercial products to manufacturers in mid-year for integration in notebook PCs, Linux-based Web pads, and Internet appliances.

Volume production of the chip would use TSMC's recently-built 0.15-micron technology foundry facilities. This technology, which TSMC began using in volume production in January, allows processors to achieve higher speed in a smaller space, for a lower cost, Tzang said.

"We are trying to use the most advanced 0.15-micron technology, so if Transmeta asks us to do a certain amount of volume production, I think we can probably help them in the very short term. This is all new capacity for us," Tzang said.

TSMC is in Hsinchu, Taiwan, at +886-3-567-5020 or online at http://www.tsmc.com.tw. Transmeta is in Santa Clara, California, at +1-408-919-3000 or online at http://www.transmeta.com.

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