Sony today announced they will invest about $1.13 billion in their own 65nm fab, a joint operation with Toshiba, and in a line at IBM's East Fishkill fab, New York. Sony is aiming to establish mass production of 65nm chips on 300mm diameter wafers by collaborating with Toshiba for embedded DRAM technology, and with IBM for SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology.
Sony claims to be using a 90-nm manufacturing process for its EE+GS processor for the PlayStation X. Doubt was cast on that claim last week by Canadian analysts who alleged the process is a 130-nm process. Sony denied the claim.
Last April Sony announced a plan to spend a total of ¥200 billion (about $1.1 billion) on 65-nm process lines. So far it has spent ¥73 billion (about $690 million) in the current fiscal year ending in March 2004. The ¥120 billion investment represents the second phase.
A portion of the investment, ¥53 billion (about $500 million) will go to the 300-mm wafer line at Sony Entertainment's Nagasaki Fab2. Sony has already spent ¥62 billion (about $585 million) this fiscal year to build a clean room there and to install equipment.
About ¥36 billion (approximately $341 million) will be invested a 300-mm SOI line at IBM's East Fishkill fab. Sony will get a portion of the output from the U.S. fab, though the exact volume was not disclosed. Both the IBM and Nagasaki Fab2 300-mm production lines will make 65-nm generation chips such as the "Cell" processor based on SOI process technology.
The Cell processor is being jointly developed by IBM, Sony group and Toshiba.
The remaining funds will be spent on Toshiba's 300-mm fab now under construction, Sony said. Sony has already spent ¥11 billion (about $104 million) on the fab in the current fiscal year. Sony and Toshiba are set to establish a virtual joint venture fab within Toshiba's 300-mm wafer fab next to its Oita 200-mm wafer fabs.
Toshiba also announced a ¥42 billion (about $396 million) investment in its joint operation with Sony at Toshiba's Oita 300-mm fab. The fab is expected to receive a total investment of about ¥200 billion (about $1.9 billion). The fab is scheduled to begin operation this fall with a capacity of 12,500 wafers a month.
Pilot production at Sony's manufacturing lines is scheduled to start in the first half of its fiscal 2005. Planned production capacity will be 15,000 wafers a month.