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Big Blue to update non-POWER PowerPC line

Summertime launches for 700MHz G3, upgraded system-on-a-chip PPC 705

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IBM is set this summer to revitalise the side of its PowerPC CPU line that's not geared towards the company's traditional server and high-end workstation markets.

Leading the rejig, according to sources cited by ZDNet US, are new versions of the PowerPC 750 - aka the G3 - specifically, the 750CX and 750CXe, running between 350MHz and 500MHz, and 500MHz and 700MHz, respectively. Both will contain 256KB of on-die L2 cache, and the power consumption rating is pegged at 4W at 400MHz.

Fabbed at 0.18 micron with copper interconnects, the chips are sampling now, will be announced officially in the summer, and ship in volume in the August/September timeframe.

According to sources, IBM will also begin a major campaign to pushing the PowerPC 405 into the embedded space as an SoC product using an updated versions of the core, the PowerPC 405CR and 405GP, both scheduled to ship in Q3.

The 405CR, which is aimed at the emerging (ish) Internet Appliance market will operate at 200MHz and 266MHz. The 405CP is pretty much the same chip, but aimed at more traditional embedded markets.

Later in the year, following the 405 upgrades, the PowerPC 440GP will extend the 405's clock speed range to the 400-500MHz band and sport on-die DDR SDRAM and PCI-X controllers.

Interestingly, the 405 forms the basis for Gecko, the CPU IBM is developing for Nintendo's next-generation games console, Dolphin. Given the timeframe for the release of both Dolphin and the 440GP, it's not hard to predict that the Nintendo chip will run within that 400-500MHz range, and the 440's support for high-speed DDR RAM is likely to appeal to the console vendor as an alternative to the fast but expensive Rambus Direct DRAM, as used in Sony's PlayStation 2. ®

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