Toshiba claims first chip based on X Architecture

Posted : 11 Jun 2004

After years of promises, the X Initiative consortium announced last June 7, 2004 that the first commercial chip based on the "X Architecture" technology will shortly hit the marketplace.

During the Design Automatic Conference (DAC), Toshiba Corp. launched what the company claims is the industry's first commercial SoC devices built on the X Architecture.

The X Architecture is a new way of orienting a chip's interconnect wires with the pervasive use of diagonal routes, in addition to traditional right-angle "Manhattan" routing. This supposedly results in chip designs with significantly fewer wires and less vias.

The X Initiative, a group of leading chip makers, is chartered with accelerating the availability and fabrication of devices based on the technology.

Toshiba, Infineon and other companies are developing products based on the technology. Last year, Toshiba announced what the company claimed is the world's first functional silicon based on the X Architecture technology.

Earlier this year, Infineon Technologies AG joined the X Initiative. The company has already achieved successful fabrication of a 130nm test chip, the X Initiative said, adding that Infineon plans to validate commercial circuits on the X architecture in 2004.

Toshiba has apparently taken a slight lead in the market. Toshiba's new chip, the TC90400XBG, is a 130nm device for digital media and home entertainment applications. Compared to equivalent Toshiba products with the conventional "Manhattan" design, the new chip implementing the X Architecture is approximately 11 percent faster in speed and 10 percent smaller in random logic area, according to the company.

"By collaborating with Cadence and members of the X Initiative to develop the industry's first X-based SoC, Toshiba is responding to diversifying market demands for performance-enabling, single-chip solutions that can result in faster and smaller chips when compared to conventional design methodologies," said Takashi Yoshimori, technology executive of SoC-Design at Toshiba Semiconductor Co.

Samples of the new chip will be available in November, and volume production is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2005.