Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector has announced the availability of its PowerPC 750 microprocessor running at 300MHz and also said that its silicon wafers using copper technology have completed tests and are on target for production toward the end of this year.
Copper wiring is the newest darling of microprocessor manufacturers, because it conducts electricity better than aluminum, which has predominated up to now. Copper is also easier to cool and is reliable at a greater range of temperatures
Garth Nash, a Motorola spokesman, said that the company has "not nailed down" the speed at which its copper chips will run, but Apple Computer Inc.'s interim CEO Steve Jobs is expected to demonstrate a prototype of the chip running at 400MHz at the Seybold Seminar in New York today.
According to Nash, Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector will manufacture copper chips at one of its fabs in Austin, Texas, but the company's volume business will be derived from aluminum chips for many years to come. Aluminum chips will continue to be appropriate in many instances, and Motorola's investment in copper will simply let it be at the forefront of ongoing changes in chip technology, according to Nash.
"It's time now ... to make the transition from aluminum on over to copper not so much just to hit [a certain speed] but in order to move on up the speed curve," Nash said.
Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.mot.com/.