By Andy Santoni
Posted at 5:02 PM PT, Nov 11, 1997
While Intel will tout a 450-MHz version of the Pentium II, IBM will
describe a 1-GHz PowerPC processor at the International Solid State
Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco Feb. 5 through 7.
Engineers from Intel's Hillsboro, Ore., facility will describe a
"third-implementation P6 microprocessor [that] has 7.5 million
transistors in a 131 square millimeter die in a 0.25-micrometer
[micron] process, and achieves 450 MHz."
The P6 generation includes the Pentium Pro processor and the Pentium
II, both built with 0.35-micron technology. The next iteration of the
architecture, the 0.25-micron Pentium II, code-named Deschutes, is
expected in March or April of next year.
"Circuits operate between 1.4 V and 2.2 V to provide enhanced support
for both mobile and servers," according to the ISSCC Advance Program.
"A 3.6 GBps back-side bus supports two L2 [Level 2] cache types, with
up to 2 MB on separate cache chips."
Committing to a paper at ISSCC is no guarantee Intel will not disclose
even higher performance than it promises in this paper's title. Before
the 1997 ISSCC, Intel planned to present a paper on a "300-MHz CMOS
Microprocessor with Multi-Media Technology." By the time the paper was
presented, Intel had chips running at more than 450 MHz.
At the 1998 session, Advanced Micro Devices will describe a
0.25-micron version of its K6 processor that promises "performance
increases up to 10 percent due to micro-architectural improvements."
"Floating-point instructions enhance graphics performance," according
to the conference preview.
The processor runs from a 100-MHz version of the Socket 7 bus, the
On the PowerPC side, IBM Austin Research Laboratory will describe a
single-issue PowerPC processor that runs as fast as 1.1 GHz at 25
degrees Celsius. The simple-integer processor implements a subset of
the PowerPC instruction set.
IBM's Burlington, Vt., laboratory will describe a full-feature PowerPC
chip that uses the company's copper interconnect technology and
0.2-micron production process to achieve 480 MHz at 85 C and more than
500 MHz at room temperature. The dual-issue PowerPC 750 processor uses
copper for six layers of interconnect wiring.
An IBM laboratory in Rochester, Minn., will provide a paper on a
commercial multithreaded version of the PowerPC chip.
"Instruction stream multi-threading improves execution time by helping
hide the latency of memory accesses," according to the paper's
Digital Semiconductor will describe a 600-MHz Alpha processor and a
200-MHz StrongARM processor, each implemented with 0.35-micron