Freescale Discloses Dual-Core PowerPC’s Details

Freescale Readies 90nm SOI Dual-Core Chips

by Anton Shilov
09/28/2004 | 05:50 PM

Freescale Semiconductor has unveiled some architectural details of its most powerful processor to date: the MPC8641D chip with two processing engine. The novelty is based on the e600 PowerPC system-on-chip (SoC) platform and is aimed at networking, telecom, military, storage and pervasive computing applications.


First Dual-Core Chip for Embedded Apps

Freescale’s high-performance MPC8641D device integrates two e600 cores and high-speed interfaces to achieve significant performance gains and system-level cost savings. Each e600 PowerPC core is designed to deliver greater than 1.50GHz performance, doubling instruction throughput when combined. Two 1MB L2 caches (four times more L2 cache than available from the current generation of single-core MPC74xx PowerPC processors) and dual AltiVec vector processing engines provide additional performance acceleration. The MPC8641D device is designed to offer all this performance within a power range that is expected to be 15-25 Watts (typical), according to the company’s estimations.

“Freescale’s dual core processor design is a smart, elegant solution for high-performance embedded processing,” said David Perkins, senior vice president of Freescale and general manager of Freescale’s Networking and Computing Systems Group.

Freescale Bids on Bandwidth

To minimize chip-level bottlenecks, the MPC8641D processor offers low-latency access to its dual e600 cores through a high-bandwidth integrated MPX bus that is designed to scale to 667MHz. In addition, the MPC8641D features an integrated dual memory controller that enables low-latency, high-bandwidth access to DDR and DDR2 memories.

The MPC8641D processor design provides high-speed interfaces that address the bandwidth-intensive requirements of next-generation wireless infrastructure, access/aggregation, enterprise routing and pervasive computing applications. Overall system latency remains low because no system controller or bridge is required to access the native interconnects.

The MPC8641D processor embeds four Ethernet media access controllers (MACs) that support 10/100Mbps and 1Gbps Ethernet, accelerating the identification and retrieval of protocols carried over Ethernet, including IPv4, IPv6, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN). The MPC8641D also enables local legacy peripheral-to-host connectivity with support for PCI Express interfaces.

The dual core processor includes a RapidIO serial fabric interface for system connectivity.

More Chips to Follow

“Our customers want higher performance, without the power associated with higher frequencies. We listened to their needs and responded with an innovative system-on-chip platform that not only combines two e600 processor cores but also integrates the right mix of high-speed interfaces, memory controllers and buses for next-generation embedded designs,” Mr. Perkins added.

In addition to unveiling the MPC8641D processor, Freescale is disclosing development of two additional processors based on the e600 PowerPC core: the highly integrated MPC8641 processor, a pin-for-pin compatible single core implementation of the dual core device; and the MPC7448 discrete processor, a higher-performance, lower-power successor to the popular MPC7447A PowerPC device, announced in February 2004. Pin-for-pin compatible with the MPC7447A, the MPC7448 processor offers 1MB of L2 cache and is expected to exceed 1.50GHz.

Each of these PowerPC products is designed to be manufactured on Freescale’s advanced 90nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) copper interconnect technology.