Author Topic: PowerPC processor FAQ  (Read 3305 times)


  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member

  • Offline
  • *****
  • 299
    • View Profile
    • Higher Intellect
PowerPC processor FAQ
« on: December 09, 2012, 12:49:57 am »
[2-1] What is a PowerPC?

A PowerPC is a microprocessor designed to meet a standard which was
jointly designed by Motorola, IBM, and Apple. The PowerPC standard
specifies a common instruction set architecture (ISA), allowing anyone
to design and fabricate PowerPC processors, which will run the same
code. The PowerPC architecture is based on the IBM POWER architecture,
used in IBM's RS/6000 workstations. Currently IBM and Motorola are
working on PowerPC chips.

The PowerPC architecture specifies both 32-bit and 64-bit data paths.
Early implementations will be 32-bit; future higher-performance
implementations will be 64-bit. A PowerPC has 32 general purpose
(integer) registers (32- or 64-bit) and 32 floating point (IEEE standard
64-bit) registers.

NB: A PowerPC is *not* a computer, any more than an 80486 is a computer.

[2-2] How does PowerPC relate to POWER and POWER2?

As mentioned above, PowerPC is a direct descendant of POWER. POWER2 is
also a descendant of POWER, developed by IBM for use in their
workstations and other systems. POWER2 is an eight-chip multi-chip
module, and was released at approximately the same time as the first
PowerPC chip. While it is faster than the early PowerPC processors, it
is not as fast as the 620 is projected to be. It is likely that IBM will
combine the POWER family into the PowerPC family.

[2-3] What processors have been announced? What are their specs? When
will they be available?

PowerPC 601

    The very first PowerPC. It was designed as a bridge between the
    POWER architecture and the PowerPC architecture. For this reason, it
    incorporates the user-level POWER instructions which were eliminated
    from the PowerPC specification.

PowerPC 601v

    This is a 601, implemented in a 0.5u CMOS 2.5V process. This
    effectively means that it runs faster and draws less power.
    (Originally called the "601+".)

PowerPC 602

    A processor aimed at consumer electronics (set-top boxes, game
    consoles, etc.), PDAs, and embedded controller applications.

PowerPC 603

    A low-power processor, intended for portable applications, e.g.,
    notebook computers. Performance is roughly comparable to the 601
    (see below for benchmarks).

PowerPC 603e

    A higher-performance 603 with a faster clock and bigger caches.
    (Originally called the "603+".)

PowerPC 603ev

    A lower-voltage, faster-clock version of the 603e.

PowerPC 604

    A higher-performance processor, intended for high-end desktop

PowerPC 604e

    A 604 with larger caches.

PowerPC 620

    An even higher-performance processor, aimed at high-end systems and
    multiprocessors. The 620 is the first 64-bit PowerPC implementation.

G3 Series

    The "next generation" of PowerPC processors, expected to ship in

G4 Series

    Expected in 1999.

The 601 is manufactured by IBM and sold by both IBM and Motorola. The
603 and 603e are manufactured by both IBM and Motorola.

Full text: