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GameCube FAQ


by the NWR Staff - March 1, 2001, 2:25 am EST




What’s NEC about? What is the company’s History?

Like IBM & Matsushita, NEC is another company with a rich history & diverse product line. The company was founded in Tokyo as Nippon Electric Company, Limited on July 17, 2000. NEC was the very first Japanese joint venture with foreign participation. The original partner was Western Electric Company of Illinois, U.S.A., later Western Electric Company, Incorporated (WE), and presently AT&T Technologies, Inc. Since its foundation, have grown to become one of the leading names in electronics.

NEC entered the field of radio communications in 1924 and included production of electron tubes one year later. In 1936, the Tamagawa Plant was built for the production of radio equipment, electron tubes and carrier transmission equipment.

Over subsequent decades, NEC would continue to increase its production and product line. In 1971, NEC supplied the U.S. market with the world's very first digital microwave radio communication system. Another innovation came from NEC America in 1983, when they made the first plain paper facsimile with laser printing capability. Also in 1983 the company renamed itself to NEC Corporation, or NEC.

In 1953, the company established New Nippon Electric Company, Limited, which is today NEC Home Electronics, Ltd. Originally making radio tubes, the company now manufactures and markets a wide range of consumer electronics products and it is this division of the company most relevant to this FAQ.

In 1996, NEC Electronics established its new headquarters in Santa Clara, CA. The same year, it released a line of 3D graphics accelerators, based on PowerVR™ technology. This technology was later used in the chipset of Sega’s Dreamcast console.

What is NEC’s Involvement with Nintendo and the GameCube?

Nintendo has contracted NEC to handle the manufacturing of the GameCube’s graphics chip (designed by ArtX) and all system memory. This includes the 16 Megs of A-RAM and the 24 Megs of 1T-SRAM. NEC’s agreement with Nintendo is big business! In November 1999, NEC began constructing a new factory spending an estimated 80 billion-yen ($761 million) that will focus on production of GameCube semiconductors. The factory is being put to good use too; Nintendo supposedly ordered over 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) worth of semiconductors already. The first batch of these GameCube semiconductors were said to be ready in August 2000, according to NEC. Considering that the first chips were used in GameCube development kits, there is every indication that this production deadline was met.

What Are the Advantages of Nintendo’s Alliance with NEC?

NEC, recognized as a worldwide leader in high technology, is one of the few companies capable of offering a full spectrum of products and systems in semiconductors, electron devices, communications, computer peripherals, imaging, and computers. In other words, they’re good at what they do, and they’ve been doing it for a long time.

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