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Texas Instruments offers larger wafers for Sun UltraSparc processors

Texas Instruments has begun using an advanced manufacturing process for larger wafers that will soon be used to make Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc processors. The process is expected to increase the power of chips made while simultaneously driving down the cost of production.

The Dallas company has begun manufacturing 300mm silicon wafers, the sheets of silicon from which computer chips are cut, a move up from its 200mm wafers.

The 300mm wafer can produce 2.4 times as many processors as a 200mm wafer, Texas Instruments claimed. As a result, the company added, the production cost per chip falls by 30%.

The processors can also be used to build smaller products with a higher performance rate that use less power.

Sun, which sells 900MHz UltraSPARC IIIs across much of its server line, announced in June that it was to begin phasing in its next-generation UltraSPARC IV processors.

According to Sun's roadmap, the UltraSPARC IV will be built with the copper interconnect technology and a 0.13-micron manufacturing process used by TI.

The UltraSPARC IV chips will hit the market in the first part of 2003 with speeds of 1.2GHz, increasing to 2GHz in late 2004, Sun said.

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