IBM bolsters efficiency of PowerPC

IBM bolsters efficiency of PowerPC

BOSTON: IBM has improved the power efficiency of two models of PowerPC processors, making an effort to strengthen its position in markets from cars and printers to networking and communications equipment.

The PowerPC 750CL and PowerPC 970GX are single-core chips built with a 90-nanometer process. Both reduced DC electricity leakage with thicker gate oxides and reduce AC switching power with higher thresholds, the company said.

IBM made the change to reach a wider range of enterprise and consumer applications, director of power architecture solutions, Ron Martino, said.

The company already makes the processors for all three of the top gaming consoles: Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 3, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii.

The trend of power-efficient chips has already changed the notebook, desktop and server markets. AMD has cited power efficiency for the reason that its Opteron server processors have outsold chips from Intel in recent months, and Intel claims its new Core 2 Duo chips will also use power efficiency to win back that market share.

"IBM's new devices are certainly nice but not game-changing," principal analyst with Silicon Insider, Jim Turley, said. "Power conservation is 'the new black' so it's no surprise that IBM has tuned its chips for efficiency.

AMD did the same a few years back and it worked spectacularly well." IBM's 750 CL is a 32-bit chip running at 400MHz - 1GHz intended for highperformance embedded applications, including consumer electronics, storage and imaging. The 970GX supports both 32-bit and 64-bit applications running from 1.2GHz - 2.5GHz.

IBM also announced future products to improve power draw. Its CPC965 will act as a companion chip to the PowerPC 970 series, providing more efficient I/O connectivity. Its 460S is a 32-bit, synthesizable core with variable cache sizes, and its 464FP H90 and 464H90 are application specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

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