IBM has begun shipping the CPU for Nintendo’s Wii as the companies ready for the impending Q4 console launch.
"The first chips are in our possession," said Genyo Takeda, senior managing director/general manager, Integrated R&D Division at Nintendo. "Today’s milestone marks the final stage of our drive to reach both core and nontraditional gamers with an inviting, inclusive and remarkable gaming experience."
The fabrication of the chips is part of a multi-year microchip production agreement between Nintendo and IBM.
At its 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y., IBM will produce "millions" of the chips, code-named "Broadway," for Nintendo. The Power Architecture-based chips will utilize 90nm Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology, and will deliver a 20 percent decrease in energy consumption compared to IBM’s previous Gekko CPU used in the GameCube.
The Xbox 360’s CPU was designed by IBM, and also utilizes 90nm technology, although that is expected to change to 65nm technology in the coming months, slightly improving CPU efficiency while also reducing manufacturing costs.
IBM also helped design the PlayStation 3’s Cell processor, along with Sony and Toshiba. That chip will also employ a 90nm process at its introduction.
The Wii’s launch date and price point have yet to be announced, although many expect Nintendo to reveal these details next week during scheduled press events.