Freescale's 8-core P4080 Sampling

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Aug 262009

When Freescale announced the P4080 processor last June, they said it would being sampling in “mid 2009”. It’s now Aug 2009, and they appear to have met that target. The P4080 contains eight e500mc cores, ten ethernet controllers, and, as you may have guessed, is targeted at communications and networking applications. To ease multicore software development, Freescale has emphasized simulation, and added debugging and partitioning features to the processor.

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POWER7 Will Be Fast

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Aug 242009

The Hot Chips conference is this week, and while various semiconductor companies will unveil new processors, IBM’s POWER7 is expected to be the fastest. It will be 45nm, lots of cache, 4 threads per core, and up to 8 cores on a die. Memory bandwidth will exceed POWER6’s 300GB/s. This is expected to be faster than AMD’s, Sun’s, and Intel’s contemporary offerings.

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New PlayStation 3 Drops Linux Support

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Aug 232009

The new PlayStation 3 (“Slim”) has dropped support for Linux as a second OS. In an interview, a Sony executive claimed they simply wanted to “standardize our OS.” That may have been the last mass-market Linux-capable PowerPC system available.

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Mentor Graphics Acquires Embedded Alley

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Aug 202009

OK, it’s old news by this point, but still interesting. Embedded Alley, responsible for the MIPS port of Android, has been acquired by Mentor Graphics, a company whose main business is Electronic Design Automation (EDA). A little unusual, but the interesting part for us is that at the same time, Mentor announced they will do an Android port for multiple Freescale PowerPC processors.

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P4080 Systems Announced

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Jul 212009

Extreme Engineering has announced systems built around Freescale’s 8-core QorIQ P4080, in six different form factors, such as cPCI, VPX, etc. The first will be available in December, with the rest coming in 2010. In addition to eight 1.5GHz cores, the P4080 SoC also contains 8 gigabit ethernet ports, hardware virtualization support, PCI Express ports, and more.

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CRUX 2.5 Released

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Jul 212009

Last month, CRUX 2.5 was released with expanded hardware support. In addition to ordinary systems like G5s, it now supports the Genesi platforms, Sam440ep, and others.

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Fixstars Video Encoding on PlayStation 3

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Jul 212009

Fixstars (formerly Terra Soft Solutions) announced an interesting application: a “near real-time” H.264 HD video encoder. What’s most interesting about it is that it runs on a dedicated PlayStation 3, attached to a workstation via gigabit ethernet.

In other Fixstars news, they still have some discounted quad-core 970MP PowerStations for sale.

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Top 500 Supercomputer List Still Features PowerPC

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Jun 262009

The most recent Top 500 supercomputer list still features 2 or 3 PowerPC systems in the top 5, though the number Intel-based systems continue to grow. The #1 system, Road Runner, actually raises an interesting question about how to count “processor architecture,” since it uses both AMD Opteron and IBM Cell processors. The other two PowerPC systems in the top 5 are both BlueGene installations, which use large numbers of embedded processors built around IBM’s PowerPC 440 and 450 cores.

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CherryPal Folds

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Jun 262009

Genesi has posted an update and a warning about Cherrypal, a rebranded Limepc, which uses Freescale’s 5121e PowerPC processor. Due to the PowerPC connection, a few people got excited and were taken in by an apparently shady company, which has now folded. (Thanks to a reader for pointing out this story.)

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Fedora Demoting PowerPC

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May 072009

The linked blog post says it all. Nothing is final yet, but pretty soon PowerPC will probably become a “secondary architecture” in Fedora. Nobody’s quite sure what that means, because there aren’t any other secondary architectures. At the very least, some general Fedora people who currently (grudgingly) provide a little Fedora PPC quality assurance will stop doing so. For anybody currently using Fedora, this would be a good opportunity to get involved with Rawhide. Either that or start learning dpkg and apt-* commands.

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