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World’s smallest PowerPC SoC runs on less than one Watt

May 10, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

[Updated: 12:15PM] — AppliedMicro announced a system-on-chip (SoC) said to offer the industry's smallest form factor for a Power Architecture-based product. The APM801xx costs only $10 in volume, uses a PowerPC core clocked at 400MHz, 600MHz, or 800MHz, ships with a Linux eval kit, and enables networked embedded consumer devices that run on less than a single Watt, claims the company.

Available in both 10x10mm BGA and 14x14mm BGA packages, the APM801xx is designed for compact, low-energy consumer devices that require minimal bill-of-material costs, says AppliedMicro (formerly AMCC). Targeted devices are said to include gateways, consumer WiFi access points, residential gateways, and control panels and energy meters for network-attached storage (NAS) systems.

The processor also can be used in "connected display" devices, such as IP-ready digital HDTVs and displays. In these cases it would typically be deployed as a network co-processor integrated with a separate video processing subsystem, says the company.

The 800Mhz version of the APM801xx (pictured) offers estimated performance of 1,216 Dhrystone MIPS, claims the company. Typical power consumption, meanwhile, is claimed to be about one Watt in active mode and 0.3 Watts in standby.

The PowerPC-based CPU links up with peripherals via "high-speed interchip and networking connectivity," says AppliedMicro. High-speed interfaces are said to include PCI-Express, SATA, gigabit Ethernet, SDIO, TDM, and USB 2.0. Crypto acceleration is also said to be provided.


The APM801xx is available with a Linux software development kit (SDK), as well as an evaluation board that incorporates the 600MHz version of the SoC, called the APM80180-600. The EV-APM80180-KIT-01 "Klondike" eval kit uses a Micro-ATX form-factor, provides an integrated LCD display, and supplies 1GB DDR2-667 SDRAM, 4MB NOR flash, and 2GB NAND flash, says AppliedMicro.

The board is said to offer a gigabit Ethernet port, two serial ports, and a USB OTG port. Storage and expansion are supported via a SATA port and a PCI-Express (PCIe) connector, which is said to be configurable as second SATA port. JTAG and trace connectors are also supplied, along with all necessary cables, says the company.

EV-APM80180-KIT-01 "Klondike" eval kit

The Linux SDK includes a resource CD with benchmarks, utilities, sample applications, and documentation, says AppliedMicro. Linux and U-Boot firmware can be downloaded from the company APM website, which presumably will launch in June with the first processors. The kit includes software tools CDs from industry-standard suppliers, as well as schematics, layout, and a step-by-step "Getting Started" guide for setup and configuration, says the company.

Stated Martin Manniche, Chairman and CTO GreenWave Reality, "AppliedMicro's proven PowerPC Architecture brings us a rapid development environment, vibrant open source community support, as well as the power required to deliver our innovative and secure energy management platform."

Stated Christos Georgopoulos, CEO of home gateway provider InAccess Networks, "The APM801xx family exceeds target market feature needs at the right BOM to provide a nice balance to our design goals as we look to build systems that don't require heat sinks, cooling fans or extra system costs and allows us to meet 1W system consortium standards."


The AppliedMicro APM801xx family of SoCs is expected to sample in June, with full production quantities scheduled for the third quarter. Pricing is said to be under $10 for 10,000-unit quantities. The SoC is being offered in three variants, named by clock rate: 801xx-400, the 801xx-600, and the 800MHz 801xx-800, says AppliedMicro.

More information may eventually appear at AppliedMicro's site, here.

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