Taiwan's Via Technologies has selected IBM Microelectronics to manufacture its next processor, another step in Big Blue's plan to become the helping hand to chipmakers in need.

IBM will manufacture the "Esther" microprocessor for Via. The chip is due to be released in the second half of the year. The chip will be made with the 90-nanometer manufacturing process. Via also said it is looking at silicon on insulator, a design promoted by IBM that cuts power consumption and increases performance.

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