IBM has unveiled a new line of PowerPC microprocessors and system-on-a-chip devices designed for a wide range of high-speed Internet communications applications.
Offered as either discrete processors or embedded cores that combine a number of system functions on chip, IBM said the continually evolving PowerPC architecture has been redirected to drive information appliances, networking products for monitoring and directing Internet traffic, and other Internet-access devices.
For applications requiring standalone chips, the company unveiled the PowerPC 750CX and 750CXe processors. Ranging in speeds from 350 to 700 MHz, the chips were built on IBM's advanced 0.18-micron copper wiring technology and include 256 Kbits of high-speed on-chip level-2 cache memory, which is designed to enhance performance and reduce system costs, the company said.
For networking products demanding a higher level of integration, IBM rolled out its "superstructure p roducts" line, which combines a PowerPC processor, the company's CoreConnect on-chip bus architecture, and additional functions on a single piece of silicon.
"While some companies are taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the diverse needs of the network, the flexibility of the PowerPC architecture allows us to give the customer what they need, while still maintaining a common platform," said Chris King, vice president of network technology for IBM's Microelectronics, Fishkill, N.Y. "This can be a major advantage in simplifying software development and reducing time-to-market."
The "superstructure products" family is offered in several flavors: a higher-speed 266-MHz version of the PowerPC 405GP, which includes new packaging options for small form-factor designs; and a scaled-down version of the 405 chip, known as the 405CR, an "entry-point" processor running at 200 to 266 MHz with up to 375 mips performance. The PowerPC 405 is also available as a core in custom ASICs using IBM's advanced copper tec hnology.
Other members of the new family include the PowerPC 440GP. Running at 400 to 500 MHz with up to 900 mips performance, the 440GP integrates the PCI-X bridge, double-data-rate SDRAM controller, 128-bit on-chip CoreConnect bus, on-chip SRAM, superscalar 440 core, and two Ethernet ports.
In quantities of 10,000, the PowerPC 750CX is sampling for $77 at 400 MHz, while the 405GP running at 200-MHz is $29.50, and the 405CR at the same frequency is $23.50. Pricing for the PowerPC 750CXe and the 440GP was not disclosed, although IBM said it will discuss the chips further at next week's Embedded Processor Forum in San Jose.