AUSTIN, Tex.--Motorola Inc. here today introduced its first microprocessor with copper interconnects--the MPC7400 PowerPC--which integrates a 128-bit vector-processing engine on the RISC chip. In development for several years, the new processor series is based on the PowerPC G4 platform and uses a single instruction-multiple data (SIMD) parallel processing architecture.
Along with Motorola's product launch, Apple Computer Corp. today disclosed it would use PowerPC G4 processors in a new Power Macintosh G4 series. Apple described the PowerPC G4 as a "supercomputer on a chip" and said it was "architected by Apple, Motorola and IBM" under the Somerset PowerPC joint venture in Austin--which was discontinued last year.
"The new Power Macintosh G4 with its Pentium-crushing PowerPC G4 chip brings supercomputing performance to personal computing," declared Phil Schiller, vice president of worldwide product marketing.
Only Motorola is producing the G4 processors, said Will Swearingen, director of PowerPC marketing based in Austin. In addition to power desktop computers--like the Macintosh G4 series--the MPC7400 is being aimed at networking, telecommunications, high-end embedded processing systems, and scientific computing.
Motorola said the chip is being fabricated with a new 0.18-micron (0.15-micron L-effective) copper HiPerMOS process. All six levels of metal use copper instead of traditional aluminum interconnects. Earlier, Motorola began using the copper process to make high-speed 8-megabit SRAMs with speeds greater than 333 MHz.
The PowerPC G4 architecture and the AltiVec technology allows the MPC7400 processors to execute 20 operations per clock cycle--a record for the industry, according to Motorola.
Software can be optimized for the MPC7400's 128-bit vector processor to achieve substantial gains in performance, said Motorola. Extensions to the C/C++ programming language are being offered to developers to increase the performance by up to six times that of traditional scalar applications, said Motorola, which first disclosed the AltiVec PowerPC processor development in May last year (see May 7, 1998, story).
The MPC7400 PowerPC microprocessor with AltiVec technology is available in 350-, 400- and 450-MHz versions, priced at $210, $275, $355 and $475 respectively in quantities of 1,000. A 500-MHz version is expected to be available soon, Motorola said.