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April 29, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

The latest Microprocessor Report notes that the advantage of bipolar logic processes – as embodied in BiCMOS fab techniques used by the likes of Intel Corp (Pentium) and Texas Instruments Inc (SuperSparc) – may not last to future process generations. While bipolar transistors increase the speed of certain types of circuits, they also add extra steps and therefore extra cost. Bearing in mind that processes are shrinking all the time, and most stand at around 0.6 micron or below, at 0.35 micron – the level at which the 200MHz R4400 MIPS Technologies Inc design will have reached in the third quarter, with the T5 following the report says, bipolar has little performance advantage over CMOS and may not justify the cost of the extra bipolar steps. Most vendors are said to be looking at pure CMOS at this level and beyond.

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