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This week in chips

Chip industry is seeing big changes, though not all of them bode well for the sector.

The chip industry is seeing big changes, though not all of them bode well for the sector.

Intel's "Yonah," a notebook chip due in the first part of next year, is going to be quite different from its predecessors. The chip, which will be made on the 65-nanometer process, will come with a number of enhancements over the current Pentium M line of notebook chips, according to Mooly Eden, vice president of the mobility group.

The chip it will contain two cores, instead of the single core on current notebook chips. The two separate cores will also share a 2MB cache. Current dual-core desktop chips from Advanced Micro Devices and Intel come with similar sized caches, but each core accesses only 1MB of cache memory dedicated to it. Sharing the cache will significantly boost performance.

Meanwhile, struggling chip designer Transmeta has found a buyer for its microprocessor business. Technology, a subsidiary of Culturecom Holdings of Hong Kong, will purchase the rights to the Crusoe microprocessor, the first chip produced by Transmeta, and acquire a license to produce its successor, the Efficeon chip, via a 130-nanometer manufacturing process.

Transmeta will continue to produce 90-nanometer Efficeon chips for a few select customers, but will discontinue producing the 130-nanometer versions by the end of the year and leave those chips to will try to sell Crusoe and Efficeon processors to electronics manufacturers serving the Chinese market.

Overall, a drop in memory prices and lower demand from cell phone makers pushed global chip sales down in April, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported. Sales for the month fell to $18.2 billion, a drop of 1.2 percent from March, the industry group said. Though April is traditionally considered a strong month for semiconductor sales, the SIA said it doesn't think the dip will affect total performance for 2005.