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  • Jim
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    Jim
    Posts: 4977 from 2009/1/28
    From: Delaware, USA
    Personally, I can't really hold Freescale's failure to pursue the e700 core against them. It reminds me of Motorola and the 68K. I was really into that family line (and when the 68030 came out I was convinced it was going places). Motorola did forge ahead with the 68060 (an incredible processor) even after losing a huge part of its market.
    If it doesn't sell, you've got to move on. The e600 series did not sell well and like the 68060 that spelled doom for a future successor.
    Freescale's current shift in marketing merely reflects what they think will be profitable.

    When Applied Micro actually lets someone see some of this mythical silicon, then I'll start to place more faith in their press releases.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »28.09.10 - 04:11
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > The e600 series did not sell well and like the 68060 that spelled doom
    > for a future successor.

    The difference is that a 68060 successor was never announced (AFAIK), but the e700 was.
    So far, we've yet to hear Applied Micro's rationale for discontinuing Titan/APM83290 (if they did, that is).

    > When Applied Micro actually lets someone see some of this mythical silicon,
    > then I'll start to place more faith in their press releases.

    Do you think they lied to the analysts when they claimed that Titan silicon is sampling and in the hands of customers?


    Edit:

    Insightful article:

    "After a false start, Applied Micro Circuits Corp., or AppliedMicro, is taking another shot in the multicore processor arena. [...] The company has announced multicore products in the past. But to date, it failed to release them. "The company announced a multicore processor, but never released it as an official product, and used it more as a demonstration platform," according to the company. It hopes to have better luck with PacketPro."
    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4208848/AMCC-takes-another-shot-at-multicore-semiconductor

    And from a comment to this article:

    "AMCC is trying again at multicore. Last year, it rolled out a CMOS-based, 32-bit processor, built around IBM Corp.'s Power Architecture. What's different is that the codenamed Gemini multicore processor from AppliedMicro [...] will be made using a 90-nm, bulk CMOS process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) [...]. Gemini never flew, however. Here's what AMCC said: "So after announcing Gemini at 90nm last year, the company decided to wait until the 40nm in order to provide true differentiation in the market, and that's what you see announced today with PacketPro. The decision was made some time after the Gemini announcement in Sept. 2009. Gemini is a working processor and it was demonstrated at ESC Silicon Valley this year. It's been used mostly as an evaluation platform with customers. The innovative capabilities demonstrated with Gemini at 90nm led directly to strong customer feedback and the development of PacketPro at 40nm, which is being demonstrated today at the Linley Processor Conference in San Jose.""

    My conclusions, considering the statements in that comment:
    1. Titan/APM83290/"Gemini" silicon works and is in the hand of customers.
    2. It won't be pursued any longer. The existing customers will all be switched to PacketPro.
    3. The reason for killing Titan/APM83290 seems to be a mind change to go with 40nm instead of 90nm.

    #3 is puzzling because Applied Micro claimed that the Titan design could easily be migrated to smaller process nodes like 40nm(*). So why was there the need to replace the Titan core by the PPC465 core? And why was the Titan/APM83290 road presented as still being pursued in late July (conference call) and early August (PDF presentation)?
    It still doesn't make sense.

    (*) "The Titan core [...] is designed to be portable to a variety of standard bulk CMOS geometries of 65 and 40nm."
    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/711065/000119312509165561/dex992.htm (transcript of Applied Micro's first quarter 2010 earnings conference call in late July 2009)

    [ Edited by Andreas_Wolf on 2010/9/28 19:35 ]
  • »28.09.10 - 05:13
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    Zylesea
    Posts: 2053 from 2003/6/4
    While Freescale indeed announced the e700 and didn't deliver they may get excused because their main customer for chips incorporating teh e700 core moved on - Apple. But it would have been nice if Freescale had given an official statement hat the e700 got abandoned. Anyway there was (and probably is) a lot of internal movement/restructuration inside Freescale and maybe some department does not know what the other department is doing or who is responsible for tasks of a closed department.
    --
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  • »28.09.10 - 14:03
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > it would have been nice if Freescale had given an official
    > statement hat the e700 got abandoned.

    Indeed.

    > there was (and probably is) a lot of internal movement/restructuration
    > inside Freescale and maybe some department does not know what the
    > other department is doing or who is responsible for tasks of a closed department.

    While that may be true it doesn't speak in favour of the Freescale company as a whole. It's just that I don't find it fair to nag at Applied Micro for similar things that Freescale is excused for (you didn't do that, I know).
  • »28.09.10 - 14:39
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  • Jim
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    Jim
    Posts: 4977 from 2009/1/28
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    Very valid point about the end of the 68K.

    And, yes, they appear to have given some early Titan products to select customers. You and I will never see one.\

    Your last point is the one that baffles me too. Why not migrate Titan to a finer process? Wouldn't that afford the possibility of higher clocking?

    Does the loss of their design partner to Apple mean that some part of the intellectual property behind Titan can no longer be used?

    And I'm further confused by their references to IBM design components.

    Does either Titan or the PPC465 use significant design elements from their older IBM licensed products?

    Edit - I do want to add a final note on both your and Zylesea's distress at Freescale's failure to communicate its intentions.
    They must have lost, fired, or transferred a lot of employees when they shifted focus.
    My contact at the company is no longer working there and even though I've received product samples since Motorola introduced the 6829MMU, no one had been given any of my representatives contact files.
    To summarize, I had to reintroduce myself to a company I'd formed a relationship with in the '80's.
    Frankly, you wonder at times how dis-coordinated Freescale's various endeavors are.

    [ Edited by Jim on 2010/9/28 20:54 ]

    [ Edited by Jim on 2010/9/28 20:57 ]
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »28.09.10 - 19:39
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > yes, they appear to have given some early Titan products to select
    > customers. You and I will never see one.

    Fair enough, but I don't consider me to be any kind of gold standard. It's funny to imagine only the things existing that I've seen with my own eyes ;-)

    > Why not migrate Titan to a finer process? Wouldn't that afford the possibility
    > of higher clocking?

    Yes, that's the rule of thumb. Seems there's more to the story than Applied Micro's telling.

    > Does the loss of their design partner to Apple mean that some part of the
    > intellectual property behind Titan can no longer be used?

    That would certainly be the perfect excuse. But remarkably, they don't use it.

    > I'm further confused by their references to IBM design components. Does either Titan
    > or the PPC465 use significant design elements from their older IBM licensed products?

    I can't say for Titan, but PPC465 is IBM IP the same way the other cores (PPC405, PPC440, PPC464(FP)) used by Applied Micro are. And considering that both PPC464 and PPC465 belong to the same core family (PPC460) I'd think that they share some significant design resemblances.
  • »28.09.10 - 23:45
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  • Jim
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    Jim
    Posts: 4977 from 2009/1/28
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    So you've got a situation where there are some obvious questions left unanswered?

    I'm not worried, If there's anyone here who's more likely to figure this out then you, I haven't met him.

    I look forward to what ever you come up with (unless this remains a mystery and thus totally shatters my sense of the universal scheme of things).

    [ Edited by Jim on 2010/9/29 1:22 ]
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »29.09.10 - 00:22
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > So you've got a situation where there are some obvious questions left unanswered?

    Yes.

    > I look forward to what ever you come up with

    I'll keep you posted.
  • »29.09.10 - 01:00
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
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    Update:

    > I wonder if Freescale will implement AltiVec in QorIQ
    > a) as a sub-unit of e500/e5500 core (like with e600) and thus create new core(s) or
    > b) as a coprocessor unit to e500/e5500 core or
    > c) simply by taking e600 core and continuing its development (i.e. e600 based QorIQ) ;-)

    Freescale decided for option 'a' according to this:

    "According to Freescale, AltiVec requires about as much die area as a data cache. As processors integrate more features, the portion of a die used by the CPUs is diminishing. Thus, the cost of adding AltiVec is fairly minimal, even when multiplied by several CPU cores. Once Freescale implements AltiVec into its CPU cores, we expect the company to offer it in all five tiers of the QorIQ family."
    http://www.linleygroup.com/Newsletters/LinleyWire/wire101001.html#3

    And according to this it seems that it will be members of the recent QorIQ P series that will get AltiVec (not just the future QorIQ T series as I suspected as a possibility at first).
  • »02.10.10 - 13:46
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
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    Addendum:

    > They don't seem to be sure if PacketPro is 1.5 or 2.0 GHz.

    One more (external) source supporting the '1.5 GHz' version:

    "PacketPro [...] will feature one or two PowerPC CPU cores running at up to 1.5GHz."
    http://www.linleygroup.com/Newsletters/LinleyWire/wire101001.html#1

    Some more from that same article:

    "PacketPro is essentially AppliedMicro's Plan B. The company set out to design its own PowerPC-compatible CPU, code-named Titan, but that project ran well behind schedule and was ultimately canceled. From its ashes, and amidst a change in corporate management, the PacketPro product line was born."

    That "amidst a change in corporate management" part is interesting. The Titan core based APM83290/"Gemini" processor was announced in October 2009. Logically, the switch from Titan core based APM83290 to PPC465 core based PacketPro must have happened somewhen after that. Applied Micro's CEO transition was announced in late January 2009 to be completed in early June 2009. In August 2009 the CEO transition was presented (page 3) by the company as being completed. So if I'm not mistaken then there must have been a time period of at least about half a year between the completion of the "change in corporate management" and the birth of PacketPro (and thus the abandonment of Titan). (Not to mention that as recent as July/August 2010 Applied Micro presented Titan as still going well.)
  • »02.10.10 - 14:57
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    Jim
    Posts: 4977 from 2009/1/28
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    From that information, it would appear that Applied Micro hasn't been that honest about its latest products in development.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »02.10.10 - 23:26
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > From that information, it would appear that Applied Micro hasn't been that
    > honest about its latest products in development.

    You refer to PacketPro's clock frequency discrepancy?
  • »03.10.10 - 13:33
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > Freescale's marketing can be confusing

    Absolutely. Look at this:

    "AltiVec SIMD has long been recognized for its performance in the PowerQUICC processor line"
    http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/homepage.jsp?code=QORIQ_HOME

    AltiVec in PowerQUICC? Huh? While it's true that they present QorIQ P1 to P3 as PowerQUICC replacements and QorIQ P4 and P5 as MPC86xx replacements that surely doesn't make MPC86xx a PowerQUICC, does it? Are they now trying to retroactively subsume MPC86xx (or even MPC74xx) as PowerQUICC?
  • »03.10.10 - 15:45
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  • Jim
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    Jim
    Posts: 4977 from 2009/1/28
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    Quote:


    Andreas_Wolf wrote:
    > From that information, it would appear that Applied Micro hasn't been that
    > honest about its latest products in development.

    You refer to PacketPro's clock frequency discrepancy?


    No, although that is confusing. What I meant was that it seems as though Applied Micro came to the decision to change course awhile ago, but until recently has still been touting Titan.

    The more I compare the two companies, the more I lean toward Freescale (and QorIQ).
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »03.10.10 - 18:26
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    >>> From that information, it would appear that Applied Micro hasn't been that
    >>> honest about its latest products in development.

    >> You refer to PacketPro's clock frequency discrepancy?

    > No [...]. What I meant was that it seems as though Applied Micro came to the
    > decision to change course awhile ago, but until recently has still been touting Titan.

    But that's not what you could have extrapolated "from that information" in my posting you replied to, is it? After all, the "amidst a change in corporate management" statement, which made me wonder, stems from the Linley Group, not from Applied Micro. As far as I can see, Applied Micro never claimed that the switch from Titan core based APM83290 to PPC465 core based PacketPro happened or was decided "amidst a change in corporate management". To me it seems that with spreading misinformation like this the Linley Group is contributing to the confusion created by Applied Micro more than it's helping to resolve it, which makes it even harder to tell fact from fiction.
  • »03.10.10 - 23:27
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  • Jim
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    Jim
    Posts: 4977 from 2009/1/28
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    It doesn't help that Applied Micro withholds a great deal of information. In a vacuum information like the stuff you quoted from Linley Group stands unchallenged.
    And Applied Micro is even worse than Freescale at this, but they both often allow their working partners to release information before they do themselves.

    The dates you've mentioned for the likely shift in development are close to when I approached Applied Micro about an NDA. No one I talked to was anything but positive about the Titan core. But at the time, their reason for no giving me an NDA (you don't maintain a website) was pretty lame (considering I wasn't interested in promoting my endeavors on the internet).

    Finally, I still don't understand why Applied Micro is harder to establish a relationship with than IBM (which is in itself pretty close mouthed, but not that bad).
    I don't get my suspicions about Applied Micro's solely from your postings. It's the entire way they've dragged out this situation and the incomplete information a half-truths we've been getting the whole time.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »03.10.10 - 23:54
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > In a vacuum information like the stuff you quoted from
    > Linley Group stands unchallenged.

    It's not quite a vacuum. Some information are fixed, like for instance the fact that Applied Micro publically announced the APM83290 in October 2009. Do you really consider it possible that they had scrapped Titan and the first CPU to be based on it *before* they publically announced that CPU?

    > The dates you've mentioned for the likely shift in development

    What's to be considered likely in this case strongly depends on which source of information is followed, and beyond that at which point in time it is followed, as even one and the same source doesn't shy away from changing the story back and forth as time passes.

    > are close to when I approached Applied Micro about an NDA.
    > No one I talked to was anything but positive about the Titan core.

    When was that exactly?

    > their reason for no giving me an NDA (you don't maintain a website)
    > was pretty lame

    I remember you mentioned that in early July, a mere three days before the Linley Group reported on July 5th that Titan had been killed. Now do you retrospectively suppose that your contacts at Applied Micro only pretended to be positive about Titan, hiding their true feelings and/or knowledge in that matter?

    > I don't get my suspicions about Applied Micro's solely from your postings.

    I very much hope so. After all, you had closer contact to them than me (which isn't that hard considering that I had absolutely no contact with them to date ;-) I merely quote and combine statements I can find on the freely accessible part of the Internet here.

    > the incomplete information a half-truths we've been getting the whole time

    ...not to forget the mutually contradicting information.
  • »04.10.10 - 01:25
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  • Jim
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    Jim
    Posts: 4977 from 2009/1/28
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    You got far closer to the truth at a distance than I did via direct inquiry, Andreas. And, yes, that sounds about the right date. Further, not only did their reps claim that their partners were testing the first Titan based processors. They claimed this was the first of a family of processors. The reasoning (as presented to me) for not accepting my request for an NDA is that they preferred to work (initially) with the small group of qualified partners they were already working with.
    Having just finishing a couple of months of inquiries to IBM, that logic sounded a lot like IBM logic (which made sense considering AMCC's origins).
    Now you tie together all these statements that don't agree with each other. What other conclusion is there other than that Applied Micro concealed that it was not moving forward with the long touted Titan core and was instead moving to a backup plan?
    The problem is I can't think of an alternate reason for these circumstances. I don't lean to paranoid speculation, but I do feel deceived. And I don't really trust the company.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »04.10.10 - 02:12
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > that sounds about the right date.

    You mean that Applied Micro rejected your NDA request just before you told me here on MorphZone, i.e. in late June or very early July?

    > not only did their reps claim that their partners were testing the first
    > Titan based processors.

    Which I believe was the truth, judging from all information we have to date.

    > The reasoning (as presented to me) for not accepting my request for an NDA
    > is that they preferred to work (initially) with the small group of qualified partners
    > they were already working with.

    That sounds somewhat reasonable. But didn't you say before that it was the odd requirement to maintain a website?

    > that logic sounded a lot like IBM logic (which made sense considering AMCC's origins).

    AMCC was founded in 1979. They acquired IBM's PPC4xx processor business (including some 70 engineers, but no management people) only in 2004, which I think is much too little connection between the two companies to draw such a conclusion. So I think this same pattern you experienced is rather coincidence.

    > you tie together all these statements that don't agree with each other.

    I'd rather say I contrast them with each other.

    > What other conclusion is there other than that Applied Micro concealed
    > that it was not moving forward with the long touted Titan core and was
    > instead moving to a backup plan?

    Whatever answer I'd give to this question it wouldn't explain the Linley Group even adding to the confusion by making claims (that Titan and the first CPU to be based on it were scrapped *before* that CPU was publically announced) that contradict both Applied Micro's story as presented to the public and what probably really happened. I don't think that the Linley Group's recent claim, which even challenges an older statement from them (presenting Apple's Intrinsity acquirement in April 2010 as reason), stands unchallenged.

    > I do feel deceived.

    Now imagine how their investors and share holders will feel as soon as they find out (or did they already?) ;-)
  • »04.10.10 - 05:02
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
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    jcmarcos
    Posts: 1178 from 2003/3/13
    From: Pinto, Madrid ...
    Andreas, Jim, could you post some kind of resume, or a status report about this fascinating discussion? It's not easy to follow, but right not, mi conclusion is that freescale is the best (read: less worse) PowerPC chip provider (ugh!)

    Could you add the IBM PowerEN to your discussion? It was announced back on february, and I don't recall seeing it mentioned here:

    Quote:

    Roberto Innocenti wrote on powerdeveloper.org:

    A2 Core, full 64 bit based on Power Architecture? technology and support Power ISA 2.06
    2.3GHz 45nm SOI with 16 cores and 64 Threads
    Low power, highly scalable design - 25-75W chip at full frequency


    Alright, it's a router/server thingie, but very interesting, don't you think?

    [ Edited by jcmarcos on 2010/10/5 17:26 ]
  • »05.10.10 - 07:42
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
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    > Could you add the IBM PowerEN to your discussion?
    > [...] I don't recall seeing it mentioned here

    Huh? Are there several 'jcmarcos' on this forum? ;-) That other 'jcmarcos' even quoted me and my link discussing PowerEN less than 2 months ago:

    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?topic_id=7001&forum=3&post_id=75802#75802

    > It was announced back on february

    Yes, but not yet dubbed "PowerEN" back then:

    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?topic_id=6268&forum=11&post_id=71155#71155

    Btw, I think that Roberto Innocenti posted to the wrong thread because, opposed to what he seems to imply, the PowerEN has nothing to do with his fantasy "cell quad-core processor" for PSP2 which he started the thread about. He should have posted his recent comment there:
    http://www.powerdeveloper.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1847
  • »05.10.10 - 19:50
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
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    jcmarcos
    Posts: 1178 from 2003/3/13
    From: Pinto, Madrid ...
    Quote:

    Andreas_Wolf wrote:
    Quote:

    jcmarcos wrote:
    Could you add the IBM PowerEN to your discussion? I don't recall seeing it mentioned here


    You even quoted me and my link discussing PowerEN less than 2 months ago


    Whoooops! Sorry... That's why I said that I didn't recall. Anyway, what do you think about the PowerEN? Or it's lack of corporate drivel, like the Titan, makes it uninteresting? :-D
  • »06.10.10 - 15:42
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 12074 from 2003/5/22
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    > what do you think about the PowerEN?

    In the context of mobile (read: netbooks/notebooks) or desktop computing I don't find it that much interesting because it seems to lack in on-chip peripheral controllers: there's apparently just (as much as four) 10GbE and only two PCIe (Gen2) lanes, nothing more. See this presentation from August/September:

    http://www.power.org/events/POWERWEBINAR082010/IBM_final_powerorg_2010Aug31_-_Gene.pdf
  • »06.10.10 - 16:28
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
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    jcmarcos
    Posts: 1178 from 2003/3/13
    From: Pinto, Madrid ...
    Quote:

    Andreas_Wolf wrote:

    I don't find it that much interesting because it seems to lack in on-chip peripheral controllers


    Sure. It's no more interesting than any other router processor. Pity. So back to the one-and-only QorIQ speculation, I guess...
  • »07.10.10 - 08:35
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    Andreas_Wolf
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    > back to the one-and-only QorIQ speculation, I guess...

    QorIQ, while definitely being the most interesting one due to the recent AltiVec announcement, is not the only current/future Power Architecture processor that has more than Ethernet and PCIe: PacketPro has USB2/3, SATA and SDHC, and Axxia has USB2 and something denoted "Flash" in the block diagram (which probably means some SD standard).
  • »07.10.10 - 14:22
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