Feeds

IBM may sell Nintendo's PowerPC chip to others

First ones all going into GameCubes though

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

IBM is considering shipping the PowerPC-based processor it designed for Nintendo's upcoming GameCube console as a standalone product.

Discussing the chip's internals at processor professionals' conference Hit Chips, held each year at Stanford University, California, IBM staffer Peter Sandon said Big Blue has the right to sell the chip, codenamed Gecko, even though all initial units will be going straight to Nintendo's assembly plants.

Gecko is based on IBM's PowerPC 440, but features more powerful floating point maths units and speedier data throughput. The chip clocks at 485MHz, and contains 256KB of on-die L2 cache. Power consumption is 4.9W.

Sandon's comments suggest Gecko isn't as tightly connected to other GameCube components - principaly the graphics processor designed by ArtX, now part of ATI - as you might expect. At under 500MHz, it's hard to see the processor being favoured by desktop PC makers - well, Apple and Amiga, at any rate - but process advances such as silicon-on-insulator and 0.13 micron fabrication could help boost the speed further.

It's certainly curious that IBM should now talk about offering Gecko beyond the GameCube for which it was specifically designed. has it indeed lined up other partners? Or has it been approached by a third-party interested in using the chip? Certainly in previous discussions about Gecko, IBM has never (to our knowledge) hinted that the part was destined for anyone other than Nintendo.

IBM sources who can shed more light on this are invited to spill the beans. ®

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.