PowerPC News From ISSCC

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Feb 172010

Last week at ISSCC there were a couple of PowerPC-related announcements: first, IBM announced a “wire-speed” network processor, built around 16 4-thread 64-bit embedded PowerPC cores. The processor is supposed to be a “middle ground” between server and network processors, and contains on-chip accelerators for cryptography, XML, and regular expressions.

Second, IBM’s POWER7 was also announced. It uses 8 4-thread cores, and lots of large caches.

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CRUX PPC 2.6 released

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Jan 222010

A new version of CRUX PPC, a port of the CRUX Linux distribution, has been released. CRUX PPC supports most recent PowerPC hardware platforms, including both 32- and 64-bit systems. See the release notes for more information.

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End of Life for PowerPC OpenSUSE

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Nov 252009

OpenSUSE 11.2 for PowerPC has gone missing, and the OpenSUSE team has now acknowledged that they will not produce future versions either. They offer to support anybody who would like to volunteer for the task. One must also wonder what the implications are for PowerPC in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server…

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End of Life for Cell Processor

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Nov 252009

There’s no question that the Cell processor was successfully deployed in the PlayStation 3 and the Roadrunner supercomputer. Beyond that, its success has been debatable, and IBM has now announced that there will be no further versions of Cell processors released.

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Xilinx Switches to ARM

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Oct 212009

Xilinx, a programmable logic vendor who has traditionally paired their FPGAs with PowerPC hard cores, has announced that they will be switching to ARM cores (and ARM’s AMBA bus) for future products. Xilinx has provided a FAQ (PDF) on the subject.

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Android Demo on PowerPC

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Oct 202009

On the same day Mentor Graphics acquired Embedded Alley, they announced they would be porting Android to PowerPC. Last week that work was demonstrated, on a Freescale MPC8536E reference board, at CELF’s Embedded Linux Conference in France. Two relevent presentations are available: “Porting Android to Power Architecture” and “Mythbusters: Android.”

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AMCC Titan-based Processors Now Sampling

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Oct 152009

Two and a half years after the Titan core was “debuted“, AppliedMicro (nee AMCC) has just announced the APM 83290, built around two Titan cores, is sampling now. In addition to the cores, AMCC seems to have put a lot of effort into the on-chip accelerators, which are “designed to offload entire protocol level tasks,” and are “fully software programmable.”

One more major feature is the process technology: 83290 is available in 90nm bulk CMOS, which is supposed to make it less expensive than equivalent-speed competitors (i.e. Freescale). Perhaps not coincidenally, AppliedMicro recently announced a collaboration with TSMC…

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Freescale Announces More QorIQ

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Sep 282009

Freescale has announced two more QorIQ (“core IQ”) processors: the P4040 and P0122. Based on the e500mc core, the P4040 is the quad-core version of the eight-core P4080, and at 15W it apparently consumes about half the power. P4040 is supposed to begin sampling this year, with the P1022 sampling in early 2010.

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Tentative Market Research for Another PowerPC Motherboard

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Sep 282009

Konstantinos Margaritis, a longtime PowerPC software developer, has posted to just about every mailing list and web forum somehow connected to open source on PowerPC, asking for feedback about designing a new PowerPC motherboard. He lists three Freescale options for the processor, and asks for email from all interested parties. He’s posted the current results to a web page.

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IBM Announces PowerPC 476FP Processor

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Sep 142009

IBM has announced the 476FP core as “industry’s highest performance, highest throughput” system-on-chip processor. The press release still quotes Dhrystone numbers, despite the well-understood problems with that benchmark. 476FP is a collaboration with LSI, who designed the L2 cache, dissipates 1.6W at 1.5GHz, and will be built with 45nm SOI technology. Hard core production, and a synthesizable version, will be available in 4Q 2010.

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