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New PowerPC 440 SoC targets networking, storage

Mar 16, 2005 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

AMCC (Applied Micro Circuits Corp.) will sample in Q2, 2005, a new low-power PowerPC SoC (system-on-chip) targeting networking and storage control plane applications. The 440GR offers faster performance and lower power use than earlier 440-series chips, and is suitable for line cards, multi-radio devices, and control systems, AMCC says.

AMCC acquired the 400 series embedded PowerPC processor family from IBM in April, 2004, for $227 million. The deal also included access to IBM's SoC design methodology and advanced CMOS process technology. Shortly afterward, AMCC produced an SAN/RAID SoC based on the PowerPC 440 core, the 440SPe.

The 440GR is based on a PowerPC 440 superscalar core, clocked at up to 667MHz. According to AMCC, it uses a third less power than any other PowerPC 440 chip, while yielding a 65 percent performance increase over AMCC's 405GPr. The new 440GR also adds support for DDR266 memory, with a claimed peak bandwidth of 1.1 Gbps, and optional ECC support.

AMCC PowerPC 440GR function diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The AMCC includes dual 10/100 Ethernet controllers that support full and half-duplex operation. They are configurable as one MII, two RMII, or two SMII ports with a packet reject interface, AMCC says.

The 440GR also supports a 32-bit PCI revision 2.2 compliant interface with multiple read pre-fetch and write post buffers, and the ability to boot the processor from PCI bus memory, according to AMCC. The 440GR's external bus controller provides support for up to six ROM, EPROM, SRAM, Flash, or slave peripheral I/O devices. The 440GR also incorporates a DMA controller with four independent channels supporting memory-to-memory, peripheral-to-memory, and memory-to-peripheral block transfers, according to AMCC.

Other on-chip peripherals include two IIC controllers, one bootstrap controller (BSC), one SPI Serial Communications Port (SCP), up to 10 external interrupts, general purpose timers, 53 GPIO pins, and four UARTs.

AMCC's VP of marketing, Sam Fuller, said, “The AMCC 440GR is a great choice for new storage and networking applications, as well as an excellent growth path for existing 405xx users.”


AMCC expects to have 440GR evaluation kits available before Q3, 2005. The company says its 440GP, 440GX, and 440EP chips are currently supported by Linux suppliers that include Denx, MontaVista, LynuxWorks, Sysgo, and TimeSys, and that it will work with Linux partners to enable them to provide support for the 440GR once evaluation boards are available.

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