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IBM goes 65nm for Cell processors

Posted: 19 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IBM? Sony? Toshiba? Cell processor? 65nm process?

IBM Corp. has started making its Cell processor on a 65nm silicon-on-insulator process at its East Fishkill, New York plant, moving from a 90nm process to achieve higher speeds and lower power. Initially, the devices in the 65nm process are targeted at blade servers rather than Sony Corp.'s PS3 game consoles, and are being made in relatively small volumes.

The Cell Broadband Engine was originally developed in conjunction with Sony and Toshiba Corp., and is a variant of PowerPC architecture. IBM, together with some partners, is looking to make denser blade servers based on the Cell chip for doing real-time, high-resolution rendering for medical and military applications. Toshiba has said it will eventually use Cell chips in an array of electronics.

The new version being made at IBM, which will run at up to 6GHz with a 1.3V supply voltage, features a number of performance-enhancing and power-saving features, including an SRAM array with dual power supplies. By applying different voltages to the core and SRAM used in L1 and L2 caches, rather than the same voltage for both, IBM has managed to increases the stability of the SRAM while also allowing for power consumption for the Cell chip to be reduced.

IBM did not say when the new chip would be put into production by Sony or when it would be available in its own blade servers.

-John Walko
EE Times Europe

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