Ceatec: Cell chip is key to Toshiba plans

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Ceatec: Cell chip is key to Toshiba plans

Toshiba's forthcoming Cell processor will lead to a world of new Cell products, Masashi Muromachi, chief executive officer of Toshiba's semiconductor company, told delegates at Ceatec Japan last week.

The Cell chip will power Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 3 game console, among other products.

Toshiba will boost its capital spending so it can produce the most advanced chips to help make superior networked digital consumer products through the end of the decade, Muromachi said.

The Cell processor appears at the top right of Toshiba's roadmaps for next-generation chips, showing how much faster or more capable it will be than anything the company can currently offer.

However, details of megabits per second, gigahertz, voltages and other measurements that indicate chips' horsepower were not available.

The chip is expected to provide high-speed graphics processing for the PlayStation 3. Toshiba also plans to build next-generation TVs, DVD players and portable electronics products using the processor.

Cell is to be produced on 65 nanometer technology, which is one generation ahead of the most advanced chips made today by Toshiba, Intel and others.

The figure is a measure of the size of the smallest element on a chip: the smaller the circuits and transistors become, the greater the computing power that can be built on the chip.

In 2003, Toshiba nearly tripled its capital expenditure to ¥168bn (£830m) from the previous year to build advanced production lines for chips and, for example, to make NAND-type flash memory, the type used in memory cards.

Paul Kallender writes for IDG News Service


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