IBM Unveils New 64-bit PowerPC Microprocessor

10/15/2002 - IBM announced a newly-developed, high-performance PowerPC microprocessor for use in a variety of applications, including desktops, workstations, servers and communications products.

The new chip, called the IBM PowerPC 970, is derived from IBMís award-winning POWER4 server processor to provide high performance and additional function for users. As the first in a new family of high-end PowerPC processors, the chip is designed for initial speeds of up to 1.8 gigahertz, manipulating data in larger, 64-bit chunks and accelerating compute-intensive workloads like multimedia and graphics through specialized circuitry known as a single instruction multiple data (SIMD) unit.

IBM plans to build the chip in its new state-of-the-art 300mm manufacturing facility here using leading-edge manufacturing technologies. IBM plans to pack performance and new features into the chip using ultra-thin 0.13-micron circuitry (nearly 800 times thinner than a human hair), constructed of copper wiring and about 52 million transistors based on IBMís efficient silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology. Additional details on the PowerPC 970 are to be disclosed by IBM this week in a paper presented at Microprocessor Forum, a chip design conference organized by industry analyst firm In-Stat/MDR.

"IBM's new PowerPC 970 64-bit chip is all about bringing high-end server processing power to the desktop, low-end server and pervasive space," said Michel Mayer, general manager, IBM Microelectronics Division. "IBM is committed to helping more customers put our expertise in advanced chip design and manufacturing technology to work for them."

The chip incorporates an innovative communications link, or "bus," specially developed to speed information between the processor and memory. Running at a speed of up to 900 megahertz, the bus can deliver information to the processor at up to 6.4 gigabytes per second, to help ensure that the high-performance processor is fed data at sufficient speeds.

While supporting 64-bit computing for emerging applications, the PowerPC 970 also provides native support for traditional 32-bit applications, which can help preserve usersí and developersí software investments. The design also supports symmetric multi-processing (SMP), allowing systems to be created that link multiple processors to work in tandem for additional processing power.

IBM plans to make the PowerPC 970 chip available next year.

About IBM Microelectronics
IBM Microelectronics is a key contributor to IBM's role as the world's premier information technology supplier. IBM Microelectronics develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, products and services. Its superior integrated solutions can be found in many of the world's best-known electronic brands.

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