Freescale announces dual-core PowerPC chip

Much has been made of efforts by AMD and Intel to bring dual-core processors to PCs and servers, and now Freescale Semiconductor...

Much has been made of efforts by AMD and Intel to bring dual-core processors to PCs and servers, and now Freescale Semiconductor has announced details of a dual-core PowerPC processor for embedded applications, such as networking and storage.

Built using a 90-nanometer process, Freescale's MPC8641D chip has two PowerPC e600 processor cores designed to run at clock speeds above 1.5GHz and connected by a high-speed interface. Freescale said each core had 1Mbyte of L2 cache and that the chip would consume up to 25 watts of power under typical operating conditions.

The MPC8641D includes four Ethernet controllers that support Gigabit Ethernet connections and has an integrated memory controller that supports double data rate DRAM and DDR2 RAM.

Freescale sees four big advantages in using dual-core processors in embedded applications: dual-core chips take up less space and consume less power than two separate processors; data can be exchanged more quickly between the processor cores using an internal bus compared with a PCI bus connecting two separate chips; more bandwidth is available to memory and latency is reduced; and cores can share data stored in their respective L2 caches without accessing main memory.

More details of the MPC8641D will be announced next month.

Freescale has also announced two more chips based on the PowerPC e600 core. The MPC8641 is a single-core version of the MPC8641D and pin-compatible with the dual-core chip. The other chip is the MPC7448, a lower-power successor to Freescale's MPC7447A.

Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service



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