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AMCC fires up PowerPC SoCs

Oct 23, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

PowerPC SoC (system-on-chip) specialist AMCC is sampling a new general-purpose embedded processor featuring dual gigabit Ethernet interfaces. Additionally, the company says it has squeezed 20 percent higher performance from its PCI-Express-enabled storage processor. Based on PowerPC 440 cores, both should support Linux.

440EPx embedded processor

The 440EPx is a low-power SoC targeting “pervasive computing” applications, such as printing systems, industrial control, wireless LAN access points and other general embedded apps. It is also suitable for VPN (virtual private network) gateway devices and secure Internet-based transaction-processing systems requiring throughputs up to 500Mbps, according to AMCC.

The 440EPx is said to dissipate only 5 Watts, typically, at its maximum clock rate of 667MHz. In addition to gigabit Ethernet and USB, the chip integrates a “Turbo Security Engine” said to accelerate processing of standards-based security protocols, such as IPSec and SSL.

AMCC 440EPx function block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Additional 440EPx features include:

  • High-performance double-precision FPU (floating point unit)
  • Dual gigabit Ethernet interfaces
  • High-speed USB 2.0 Host and Device controllers with integrated on-chip PHY
  • 32/64-bit DDR I or DDR II SDRAM controller with optional ECC support
  • 16KB of on chip memory
  • 32-bit PCI interface
  • Extensive complement of general-purpose interfaces

According to AMCC VP of marketing Sam Fuller, “With the 440EPx, AMCC is delivering on its promise to provide customers with compelling performance and integration while maintaining the low price points and low power dissipation that our customers demand.”

440SPe storage processor

AMCC first shipped the 440SPe about two years ago. The chip targets internal and external RAID controllers for SAN (storage-attached networking), NAS (network-attached storage), and DAS (direct-attached storage) systems, as well as iSCSI applications, when combined with AMCC's 440GX front-end for iSCSI applications.

AMCC says a new version of the 440SPe, just released to production, supports clock-rates up to 800MHz, or 1,600 MIPS (million instructions per second) in Dhrystone benchmark testing. The original version topped out at 667MHz.

AMCC 440SPe integrates three independent PCI Express interfaces, as well as PCI-X
(Click to enlarge)

The 440SPe integrates RAID5 and RAID6 acceleration, as well as three PCI Express interfaces. Additional touted features include:

  • Crossbar-based on-chip bus offers 12.8GBps of bandwidth
  • Onboard memory controller supports up to 16GB of DDR800 or DDR2 RAM
  • High-speed DMA transfers to and from memory with sustained bandwidth in excess of 2GB/s
  • Perform sRAID 5 or RAID 6 P&Q parity calculations with minimal CPU overhead
  • Carry out PCI Express to PCI Express bridge functions with minimal CPU overhead
  • 94 percent sustained data transfer efficiency for inbound and outbound transfers

According to Fuller, “The 440SPe specifically addresses storage market requirements such as RAID 5 and RAID 6 support, system redundancy, battery-backed memory support, and support for PCI Express interfaces.”


The 440EPx is currently sampling, with volume production expected in Q4. Packaged in a 35mm Thermally Enhanced EPGA, and available in RoHS-compliant versions, it will have a suggested resale pricing of $33.06 in quantities of 25K.

The 440SPe is currently shipping at volume, in a 27mm-swqure 675-ball FC-PBGA. Pricing starts at $115 in 25K quantities. RoHS-compliant packaging is also available.

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