IBM Reaches Milestone in Shipment of One Millionth Copper Chip

Copper, PowerPC Technologies to Boost Performance of Communications Equipment

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Fishkill, N.Y - 23 Sep 1999: ... IBM today announced it had reached a major milestone in the shipment of its one-millionth copper PowerPC chip, just one year after shipping the first copper chip.

IBM's copper PowerPC processors are helping to fuel the company's growth as a major OEM supplier to makers of networking gear. The company also announced the industry's highest performance embedded processor to date, the copper-based PowerPC 440, which can be used to boost the flow of traffic in the routers, hubs and switches that power networks like the Internet.

"We're bringing our best technologies to bear in chips for networking," said Chris King, vice president of wired communications for IBM Microelectronics. "Many companies that make networking equipment depend on custom chips to differentiate their products. With today's announcement, we can help them maintain their competitive edge."

The PowerPC 440 is the newest addition to IBM's rapidly growing Blue Logic library of chip "cores" -- pieces of chip design that can be combined quickly to create new chips for a wide range of markets including communications, servers, storage systems, and pervasive computing devices. The new core, based on IBM's leadership copper technology, provides about three times the performance of the PowerPC 405 core introduced by the company just last year. It is well suited for a variety of applications -- including printers, RAID controllers, cellular base stations and set top boxes, among others.

The tiny, four-square-millimeter PowerPC 440 operates at speeds of 550MHz and at typical performance levels of up to 1000 MIPS (millions of instructions per second), thanks in part to IBM's advanced 0.18-micron copper technology. The PowerPC 440 processor provides an easy upgrade to chip designs based on IBM's existing PowerPC 401and 405 processors. The new core is the first to be compliant with the new "Book E" enhancements to the PowerPC architecture, co-defined by IBM. Beyond its use in custom designs, IBM expects to develop a variety of standard chips based on the PowerPC 440.

To support the performance of the PowerPC 440, IBM also introduced a 128 bit CoreConnect bus, upgrading the 64 bit, no cost on-chip bus architecture the company introduced earlier this year. Designed as a high-speed pipeline for passing information to the processor, CoreConnect also provides a standard method for quickly connecting pieces of chip designs from various suppliers. This serves as an open, 'system-on-a-chip' design process that encourages the development of reusable intellectual property and faster, easier development of new custom chip designs.

Six new companies have licensed the CoreConnect Bus. These licensees are leading IP and service providers. The list of licensees now includes: Analog Devices, Inc.; Cadence Design Systems, Inc.; CAE Plus, Inc.; Carnegie Mellon University; Enabling Technologies; Innovative Semiconductors, Inc.; Intrinsix Corporation; Kyushu University; Lexra, Inc.; Mentor Graphics Corporation; Prophet Systems; Stellar Semiconductor Inc.; Summit Design, Inc.; and Technical Data Freeway, Inc.

While the PowerPC architecture may be best-known for chips for Apple Computer systems, what may not be as well known is that the PowerPC has found broader penetration in a variety of applications in speeds ranging from 300 to 500 MHz. IBM customers have integrated the PowerPC in printer controllers, storage devices, communications devices, and other applications beyond traditional computing systems. Similarly, IBM was the first to introduce copper technology into volume production and has since incorporated copper into standalone PowerPC processors for Apple, as well as its own RS/6000 servers. Copper technology is also integral to IBM's S/390 G6 server, as well as a host of custom ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) and standalone embedded processor designs.

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Additional technical details on the PowerPC 440 will be disclosed in a presentation at Microprocessor Forum on October 6th.