IBM Power CPU Inventor Frank Soltis Talks Next-Gen Chip
January 30, 2006 1:26 AM
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Frank Soltis - Courtesy IBM
IBM chief scientist Frank Soltis says the next generation Power chip might have more in common with Cell than anything else
Techworld has an
excellent in-depth interview
with the original designer of the Power CPU, Frank Soltis. Soltis details the origin of Power and where it thrived even though competitive architectures such as Alpha completely failed. The rest of the interview mostly discusses the original plans of Power, and how the Power architecture not only thrived for the last 15 years, but also became the architecture of choice for desktop PCs, high density clusters and servers.
Power's development over the last couple years has been largely overshadowed by Cell, but Soltis slips a little bit about the next generation Power chip:
Q: IBM is involved with Sony and Toshiba in the Cell processor. To what extent is the design of that chip a harbinger of future chips -- if at all?
A: Cell is an awesome chip. Its performance is most impressive. The design uses a single main processor and eight co-processors on a single chip. Although we will not see the current Cell chips used in our commercial servers, the design approach used in for Cell chip will play a big part in our future Power processor designs. Stay tuned.
Soltis stressed backwards compatibility during the interview. The allusion to Cell playing a large part in future Power designs and servers almost screams to say that the next generation Power chip will likely have Cell components, such as SPE or its equivalent, but remain compatible with the Power architecture. Stay tuned we will.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
1/30/2006 2:15:38 AM
Sounds to me like he means that the "future Power processor designs" will have a single (or a small amount) big general-purpose core and multiple more specialized cores. Both Intel and AMD have also talked about having specialized cores and it sounds like it'd be easier and cheaper to just add specialized silicon than to keep making the insanely complex general-purpose cores even bigger, especially if they make a half-decent crossbar that allows them to just drop in cores without much effort.
2/1/2006 3:17:03 PM
yeah...drop in a few dedicated FP cores and some SIMD cores..and it would be a real screamer
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