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Freescale to detail dual-core PowerPC G4

October unveiling alongside AMD dualie Athlon 64 FX

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Freescale - Motorola's soon-to-be-spun-off chip division - and AMD are set to detail their respective dual-core processor designs this autumn.

Both companies will use Microprocessor Forum (MPF), to be held in San Jose this October, to launch their chips.

AMD's dual-core strategy is well known, but while multi-core support has long been a part of the AMD64 architecture, the company's move in that direction was first made public at September 2003's Athlon 64 launch. Freescale's dual-core chip was first discussed in June 2003.

Like AMD64 CPUs, Freescale's dual-core PowerPC is expected to sport an on-board memory controller, this one capable of supporting DDR 2 SDRAM, along with a Gigabit Ethernet controller. It is also expected to use the Rapid IO bus, according to past Motorola pronouncements, though MPX bus support is also anticipated to maintain backward compatibility.

The dual-core PowerPC may also mark the next major leap in Mac notebook G4 processors before Apple gets G5 chips from IBM that are capable of integration into a top-spec portable computer.

According to the MPF schedule, Freescale's dual-core chip will scale beyond 2GHz. The chipmaker's roadmap indicates that the part will be a member of the e600 series. It is also working on a G5-style e700 processor that combines 32-bit and 64-bit operation.

Freescale also has a faster successor to its top-end G4, the MPC 7447A - used in Apple's PowerBook G4 notebooks - in the works.

AMD, meanwhile, will discuss Toledo, its dual-core Athlon 64 FX, which is scheduled to ship in H2 2005. IBM's dual-core 'Antares' CPU, possibly set to ship as the PowerPC 970MP, will be available around the same time, as will Intel's Smithfield dual-core Pentium 4, it is believed. Neither IBM nor Intel are set to discuss their dual-core plans at MPF, but Intel is likely to reveal more at Intel Developer Forum in early September. ®

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