IBM Announces 3-D Chip Stacking

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Includes: AMD, IBM, INTC, SNE
by: Steven Towns

IBM says after more than a decade of research, it's ready to take 3-D chips from the 'lab to the fab', extending Moore's Law to new limits: dramatically reducing chip size while boosting speed. Using 3-D chip stacking technology called "through-silicon vias," IBM says it's able to reduce the distance information travels on a chip by 1,000 times. Sample chips will be available from the second-half of this year, with production beginning in '08.IBM-chart-04-11-0 The director of research at WeSRCH.com called IBM's announcement "historic" and noted Intel, AMD and Sony are believed to be working on similar technology. AP meanwhile, quoted an Intel technology management director, who said the 3-D approach is "much more aggressive and risky" for wide scale production, adding that while Intel views 3-D stacking as very elegant, "it's not for the faint of heart." IBM says it's applying the technology to chips in wireless comm., Power processors, Blue Gene supercomputer, and in high-bandwidth memory applications. IBM lost 1.35% to $95.16 in normal trading yesterday.

Sources: Press release, Associated Press, Bloomberg, The Street.com, The Wall Street Journal
Commentary: IBM Develops Chip to Break Through Bandwidth BottleneckIntel, IBM Take Moore's Law to the Next LevelIBM To Announce Major Challenge To Intel-Dominant DRAM Technology
Stocks/ETFs to watch: International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM). Competitors: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), Sony (NYSE:SNE). ETFs: HOLDRS Semiconductors (NYSEARCA:SMH), iShares Goldman Sachs Semiconductor Index Fund (IGW), PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductor (NYSEARCA:PSI), Internet Architecture HOLDRs (NYSE:IAH)
Conference call transcripts: IBM Q4'06

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