IBM, Siemens Claim First Prototype of 64-Megabit Chip
BERLIN (AP) _ Computer giants IBM of the United States and Siemens AG of Germany announced Wednesday they have built the first prototype of a 64-megabit chip they are developing together.
Siemens spokesman Klaus H. Knapp said the two companies are the first to claim this step in the development of the advanced memory chips, a matter of fierce competition for billions of dollars of sales in the computer world.
″I believe we are ahead, according to the state of developments that have been announced,″ Knapp said in a telephone interview from Siemens in Munich.
″The IBM and Siemens development is already in the status of a production working design, not a laboratory curiosity,″ Knapp said.
In February, four Japanese companies - Fujitsu Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Toshiba Corp. - said they had started to make experimental versions of a 64-megabit chip.
In October, Samsung Electronics Co. of Korea said it had developed a key technology to make the chips and that it planned to manufacture a pilot version in the first half of next year.
Knapp said the Japanese manufacturer Hitachi also had shown an early step in 64-megabit chip technology over a year ago, but it was ″far from what can be produced.″
The IBM-Siemens announcement contained no timetable for production of the chip, capable of storing 3,000 pages of text, but said production could be expected in the mid-1990s.
″This new chip generation will decide the competitiveness of semiconductor makers from the middle of the ’90s,″ it said, and claimed the two companies are in the ″technological top position.″
The chip is a 64-megabit DRAM chip, which stands for dynamic random access memory. It can store 64 million bits of information, or megabits. A bit is the smallest unit of information used by a computer.
The chip is being developed at International Business Machines Corp. facilities in East Fishkill, New York, and Essex Junction, Vermont, with Siemens supplying half the research team and budget, according to an agreement the two companies announced in January 1990.
Production of the chips will require immense investment. IBM and Siemens have announced no plans to undertake joint production, as they have with the previous generation of DRAM chips, 16-megabit.
The 16-megabit chips have yet to go into production. The generation on the market today holds 4 megabits of information.