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October 18, 1995

THE NEW VERSION OF THE 603 IS ON TRACK

By CBR Staff Writer

Despite the PowerPC 620’s undoubted problems and the PowerPC 604’s multiprocessing glitches, James Thomas, IBM Corp’s director of RISC microprocessor development, said the rest of the product line is on track to achieve the goals that were outlined in February. Thomas said that the new 603 should be sampling by the end of the year and that it is already rolling off the production lines, running at an average clock rate of 166MHz, although gusting up to 170MHz or 180MHz. The chip uses, for the first time, the same, more compact, transistor geometry first introduced with the 100MHz 601+. The use of this finer fabrication technology means that the processor (presumably to be called something like the 603e+) still manages to keep its power consumption down around the 3W mark. Meanwhile, similar progress is being made on the 604, which is also being shrunk using the new technology silicon. The next generation 604 will have 32Kb of instruction cache and 32Kb data cache (twice the size of today’s) and is being given a makeover that involves tightening up a few areas of the processor design. The result should be a leaner, fitter 604 – the 604+ – running at 150MHz or faster. The hope is that this chip will be able to fill in for the 620 until it, or a successor, arrives.

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