AMD and Motorola have unveiled a cross licensing pact to accelerate the development of copper-based chip manufacturing.
Motorola has already said its development of copper technology is well advanced, and while AMD has so far been quieter, it did strike a similar deal with wafer fab equipment company Applied Materials last week.
Current generation chips use aluminium interconnects, but copper enables smaller chips to be developed that are faster and generate less heat.
IBM was the first out of the traps with a copper announcement last year, but any lead it has is likely to be narrow as it seems inevitable that the whole industry will stampede towards copper.
Both AMD and Motorola will be using the technology for next generation CPUs - x86 for AMD and PowerPC for Motorola.
Both companies also have strong embedded and communications chip products which could benefit from smaller form factors, lower voltage and greater power.
Motorola has said it is scheduled to go into volume production early next year. The deal with AMD will bring it on to that schedule.
Intel has confirmed it will ship its Xeon processor next year, which the chip manufacturer claims will run at more than 700MHz.
Albert Yu, senior vice president of microprocessor products at Intel, demonstrated a chip running at 700MHz at Cebit this year and said it would be part of the Xeon platform.
The chip giant will manufacture the chips using its up-and-coming 0.18 micron process technology, which will also allow it to increase speeds of Pentium IIs to more than 600MHz, and mobile PIIs to 350MHz.
Subsequent higher clock rates are expected to follow during the rest of the year.
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