A popular networking processor has been boosted to 1GHz performance, and Motorola Inc. believes it has the technology roadmap in place to double that.
Shipments of PowerPC processors into the communications market last year were in the tens of millions, according to Will Swearingen, marketing director at the Networking & Computing Systems Group of Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector in Austin, Texas. "Our new 1GHz device will be used to meet the performance and power requirements of networking infrastructure applications, as well as some of the more demanding 2.5G baseband applications," he said.
About 75% of all PowerPCs that SPS ships are currently used in networking applications and 25% in PCs, Swearingen said.
The 1GHz MPC7455 PowerPC is manufactured using a silicon-on-insulator technology on a 0.18-micron process. Although SPS has not announced a specific timetable, it does plan to migrate to a 0.13-micron process, which could allow the company to push performance of the PowerPC to about 2GHz, he said.
Announced customers for the MPC7455 are Ericsson L.M., which will use the processor in its GPRS cellular backbone system, and Pirus Networks, which plans to incorporate the PowerPC in its storage networking platform.
"Motorola [with its new processor] has achieved two milestones," said Tony Massimini, an analyst at Semico Research Corp., Phoenix. "[The device] is the most powerful PowerPC architecture on the market ... and the most powerful SOI-fabricated processor at 1GHz, demonstrating mastery of needs in the high-performance computing, portable, and wireless arenas."
The MPC7455 is pin-compatible with Motorola's MPC7451 and MPC7450. It is priced at $295 in 10,000s.