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October 18, 1995

POWERPC 604+ SEEMS DELIVER KIND OF 620 PERFORMANCE

By CBR Staff Writer

Adding a bigger cache, cranking up its clock speed and switching to a faster, more compact silicon technology means that a 150MHz PowerPC 604+ can manage SPECint92 225, according to James Thomas, IBM Corp’s director of RISC microprocessor development. That is the same figure as the 130MHz PowerPC 620 was meant to achieve, so the demise of the latter would not be too bad, said our sister publication PowerPC News. It is not too surprising either, given that much of the 620’s increased performance was expected to come from its larger cache anyway. IBM is much more guarded about the SPECfp92 figures that the 604+ will achieve and is not expecting it to deliver the 300 figure that the 64-bit chip was billed to manage. Consequently, the company is looking to the P owerPC 630 (nee Power3) processor for high-end technical and engineering machines, said Randy Groves, vice-president for RS/6000 Systems Development. Details of the 630 remain sparse, all we know is that it is a 64-bit part and has a separate cache chip mounted alongside the processor, rather like Intel Corp’s P6. Development of the PowerPC 630 (a provisional, working name) is being initially driven by IBM in-house, rather than by the joint Somerset lab. There was no word on when it will be available. Of course, the 604 cannot deliver the 620’s 64-bit addressing capability, but no one seems to be very bothered about that at the moment: certainly there is no indication that a 64-bit AIX is beyond the very early design stage.

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