IBM Announces New SoC Products, Claims Performance Breakthrough

IBM announced its new 476FP system-on-chip (SoC) processor today, and claims the new design will offer more than twice the processing power of its predecessor (in theory). The company is presumably referring to the PPC 464FP-HP90; the 476FP improves on the older design in several notable ways. According to IBM, the 476FP will be capable of clockspeeds "in excess of 1.6GHz", and draw just 1.6W when configured in that mode.

IBM hasn't released the full details of the new core's architecture, but additional key features of the design include support for an L2 cache designed by LSI, (256K/512K/1MB), an AltiVec SIMD unit, and SMP (symmetric multi-processing) support. "We are pleased to announce this new embedded PowerPC processor," said Richard Busch, IBM director of ASIC products. "This high-performance, power efficient, compact processor core allows customers to meet the needs of today's applications, while preserving legacy code. Our collaboration with LSI brings together IBM's expertise in processor development with LSI's experience in networking and storage architectures, optimizing this core to address today's high-speed embedded requirements."

If IBM's performance claims are accurate and the chip performs well, it could herald the beginning of a new battle between Big Blue and Intel. Intel is already touting Atom as an embedded option, and the upcoming launch of Atom SoC's could set the stage for a head-to-head conflict. Popcorn, anyone?

Tags:  IBM, PowerPC, Power4, 460, 474, LSI