Cell processor to get a smaller process

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ars technica reports that IBM has made an announcement about its Cell/B.E. chip this week at ISSCC revealing plans to move the chip from its 60 nm SOI process to the 45 nm high-k process.

The 45nm Cell will use about 40 percent less power than its 65nm predecessor, and its die area will be reduced by 34 percent. The greatly reduced power budget will cut down on the amount of active cooling required by the console, which in turn will make it cheaper to produce and more reliable (this means fewer warrantied returns).

The move is reported to be undertaken solely to help Sony cut costs in its PlayStation 3 console.

In other words, IBM’s Cell shrink was made with Sony in mind; the chipmaker didn’t take advantage of the shrink to make any performance-enhancing tweaks…