Motorola's next generation PowerPC processor, the G4, is on course to go into production by the middle of next year, the company said today.
Speaking at the US Microprocessor Forum, Motorola PowerPC project manager Paul Reed, said the chip will offer between 10 and 15 times the performance of the current PowerPC 750. It will be aimed at the embedded market as well as the PC arena - Apple, at any rate.
The G4 is the first PowerPC to feature Motorola's Altivec vector processing operations - its answer to Katmai. Altivec technology is designed to operate in parallel with the main PowerPC instruction set, and provides a more powerful way of manipulating streams of data of the kind usually tackled by digital signal processors.
The company hopes this will boost the chip's take up in the embedded arena, but it also provides a useful way of bringing much improved graphics and multimedia handling to mainstream applications - the very uses of Intel's Katmai.
The G4 supports between 512Kbytes and 2Mbytes of backside L2 cache, connected via 64bit or 128bit buses. Multiple G4s can access each other's caches, offering much improved multiprocessing performance, said Reed.
Based on 0.2 micron copper interconnect technology, the G4 crams 10.5 million transistors onto a 83mm x 83mm die, and consumes less than 8 watts of power at 400MHz.
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