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AMD and UMC strengthen technology ties

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and United Microelectronics (UMC) are to jointly develop and share advanced process control (APC) technology in a move intended to reduce the costs of chip production.

Originally developed by PC microprocessor vendor AMD, the APC system manages the many steps required to manufacture chips. Used to monitor and adjust the complex tools that make chips, APC lowers chip costs by improving the percentage of chips that meet design specifications.

APC is already in use at AMD's 200-millimetre (eight-inch) wafer fabrication facility in Dresden, Germany, where the company produces its Athlon microprocessor. UMC will now use the system to at its 300-millimetre fabrication plant in Tainan, Taiwan. UMC will also use the system at other 300-millimetre fabrication facilities currently under construction.

Looking ahead, AMD and UMC will jointly develop APC for deployment at the 300-millimetre joint venture fabrication plant currently under construction in Singapore. This facility is expected to begin commercial production in 2005.

In addition to the joint venture in Singapore, AMD and UMC are to team up with German chip maker Infineon Technologies to jointly develop 65-nanometre (0.065 micron) and 45-nanometre process technology.

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