The new processes, developed by AMD and IBM, will be aimed at improving microprocessor performance and reducing power consumption, and will be based on advanced structures and materials such as high-speed silicon-on-insulator (SOI) transistors, copper interconnects and improved “low-k dielectric” insulation.Jointly developing new process technologies could help both AMD and IBM compete with Intel's chip manufacturing prowess over the next few years.
The agreement includes collaboration on 65 and 45nm (nanometer; a billionth of a meter) technologies to be implemented on 300mm (millimeter) silicon wafers.
It's interesting to note that AMD and IBM will both be pushing 64-bit desktop processors up against Intel's Pentium 4 next year, and though the Athlon 64 and PowerPC 970 represent very different 64-bit architectures, I wouldn't rule out collaboration between the two companies on more than just process technology. There's already been talk of Hammer processors with multiple CPU cores on the same die, something that IBM's had its fingers in for a while.
Thus far, AMD and IBM have been incapable of toppling Intel on their own, but they should have a far better chance working together.