New company to use Power for low-power chips

New company to use Power for low-power chips

P.A. Semi is coming out of stealth mode with a new low-power chip for embedded devices.

A group of chip industry veterans is expected to introduce their new company, P.A. Semi, at In-Stat/MDR's Fall Processor Forum, along with a new low-power chip based on IBM's Power architecture.

The PWRficient family of processors are the first products announced by P.A. Semi, which was founded two years ago by chip designers such as Dan Dobberpuhl, a lead architect of the Alpha and StrongARM processors. Dobberpuhl is the company's president and chief executive officer.

The first chip in the family, the PA6T-1682M, is a dual-core Power-architecture processor that will dissipate between five and 13 watts of power in typical usage while running at 2GHz. The chip is a study in integration, with two cores, two double data rate 2 (DDR2) memory controllers, 2MB of Level 2 cache, and support for several different I/O standards all included on the chip. The I/O subsystem has eight PCI Express controllers, two 10G-bit Ethernet controllers and four Gigabit Ethernet controllers.

PWRficient chips are best suited for embedded networking and telecommunications devices, high-performance computing and consumer electronics devices, according to the company. P.A. Semi did not announce any customers for the processor. It believes it can take the PWRficient design to 2.5GHz and up to eight cores. The dual-core PA6T-1682M is expected to become available in sample quantities in the third quarter of next year. A quad-core PWRficient processor is scheduled for late 2007 and an eight-core chip is being worked on for 2008. The company has 150 employees, including Jim Keller, a co-designer of Advanced Micro Devices's Opteron chip, and Pete Bannon, who worked on Intel's forthcoming Tukwila Itanium 2 processor. Bessemer Venture Partners and Venrock Associates are the two leading venture capital firms behind the company.

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