IBM Corp has launched the PowerPC 440, its highest performance embedded processor to date, and part of its family of Blue Logic chip cores. It offers around three times the performance of last year’s PowerPC 405 core, and is expected to be used in printers, RAID controllers, cellular base stations and set top boxes. The […]
IBM Corp has launched the PowerPC 440, its highest performance embedded processor to date, and part of its family of Blue Logic chip cores. It offers around three times the performance of last year’s PowerPC 405 core, and is expected to be used in printers, RAID controllers, cellular base stations and set top boxes. The 440 uses IBM’s .18 micron copper technology and runs at a clock speed of 550MHz, for typical performance levels of up to 1000 MIPS. IBM claims upgrades from the 401 and 405 will be easy.
The new core, four-square millimeters in size, is the first to be compliant with the new Book E enhancements co-defined between IBM and Motorola Inc – although Motorola told Computerwire earlier this week that it wouldn’t be ready with Book E until its G5 generation of PowerPCs, the follow-on to its just-introduced G4s. IBM says it expects to develop a number of standard chips around the 440 core.
To support the higher performance, IBM has introduced a 128-bit CoreConnect bus, upgrading the 64-bit bus introduced earlier this year. CoreConnect acts both as a high-speed pipeline for passing information to the processor, and as a standard method for connecting up piece of chip designs from various suppliers – moving towards system-on-a-chip implementations.
Six new companies have licensed the core. The full set now includes Analog Devices Inc, Cadence Design Systems Inc, CAE Plus Inc, Carnegie Mellon University, Enabling Technologies Inc, Innovative Semiconductors Inc, Intrinsix Corp, Kyushu University, Lexra Inc, Mentor Graphics Corp, Prophet Systems Inc, Stellar Semiconductor Inc, Summit Design Inc and Technical Data Freeway Inc.
IBM says it has now shipped its one millionth copper PowerPC chip, a year on from its initial launch. It says the chips have been used for printer controllers, storage and communications devices, as well G3 copper chips for Apple Computer Inc and for its own RS/6000 servers. Copper technology is also used in IBM’s S/390 G6 mainframes and various custom ASIC and standalone embedded processor designs. Apple has opted to support Motorola’s AltiVec vector technology introduced with the G4, so won’t be able to go to IBM as a supplier for its newer generation of products.