TSMC to manufacture X360 GPU

As Xenos hits 500MHz.

The ATI-designed graphics part for the Xbox 360 will be built by Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), with the firm set to use its cutting edge 90 nanometre process to deliver millions of the chips by the end of the year.

TSMC had already announced that it is working with Microsoft on the Xbox 360, but confirmation that it will be making the GPUs - codenamed Xenos - only emerged late this week, after some reports mistakenly said that IBM would be building the parts at its Fishkill plant in New York State.

That plant will be providing the PowerPC processors that the Xbox 360 uses, but Microsoft has turned to TSMC - which is already a key manufacturing partner for ATI and NVIDIA - for the graphics part.

In a related story, UK website The Inquirer has reported that ATI has succeeded in delivering Xenos chips running at the full 500MHz speed, with some key developers already working with full-speed GPUs in their development kits.

However, development sources have indicated to us that even the most advanced development kits currently being shipped don't have the full CPU power that will be present in the final Xbox 360, although that may be built into new kits within a matter of weeks.

According to The Inquirer, the Xenos part could theoretically run at speeds higher than 500MHz - but Microsoft appears to have pegged the speed of the part at that level in order to ensure that it gets a large enough numbers of chips to supply demand at launch later this year.

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