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First in a New Family
The PowerPC 970 is the first in a new family of high-performance 64-bit PowerPC microprocessors from IBM. Earlier this year, at the Microprocessor Forum, IBM showcased the first details of the PowerPC™ 970, the first in a series of 64-bit processors built for performance and bandwidth-intensive applications.
The fastest PowerPC yet introduced, the 970 takes performance to new heights, employing much more than frequency to answer the demands of computing customers: Its multiple execution units, including an AltiVec compatible vector processor, are fed by a 900-MHz processor interface bus which can deliver data at a rate of up to 6.4 GBps.
The PowerPC 970 design starts by remapping one of the POWER4 processor cores to 0.13-micron technology and increasing its frequency. POWER4 features are complemented with a vector-processing engine and a redesigned bus interface to keep the 970 fed with data. The result is a higher-performance single-core POWER4 derivative that includes enhanced multimedia processing on a smaller, lower-power die.
By implementing a proven 64-bit server architecture, this new family of processors will enable new classes of 64-bit solutions. Some of these solutions will take advantage of the greater than 4-GB physical memory space, while others will employ the wider data paths for uses such as performance improvements on multiprecision calculations.
Full Native 32-bit Support
In addition to its support of new 64-bit solutions, the 970 retains full native support for 32-bit applications. This not only protects 32-bit software investments, but provides these 32-bit applications with the same high-performance levels that it extends to 64-bit uses. This native, nonemulated, 32-bit support is not limited to application code, which runs unmodified. 32-bit operating systems with minor updates can also take advantage of the PowerPC 970's outstanding performance.
In addition to high performance general -purpose processing, application-specific acceleration (such as multimedia) can be achieved through the AltiVec vector engine. Codeveloped by IBM, this engine extends the PowerPC instruction set with 162 Single-Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions.
The 970 is designed in IBM 0.13-micron CMOS silicon on insulator (SOI) technology and will be manufactured in IBM's new state of the art 300-mm facility in East Fishkill, NY. Sampling is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2003 with production expected in the second half of 2003.