Microsoft’s custom PowerPC chip by IBM is based on SOI
Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which is expected to fly out of the stores this holiday season, has some very impressive figures to cite. The three-core PowerPC-based CPU, custom-made for Microsoft by IBM, boasts one teraflop of floating-point performance.
The chip is the fruition of a semiconductor technology agreement between Microsoft and IBM Corp. Under the agreement, Microsoft has licensed leading-edge semiconductor processor technology from IBM for use in Xbox products and services. According to Bernie Meyerson, IBM Fellow and chief technologist for IBM’s Technology Group, the new Xbox technologies are based on the latest in IBM’s family of state-of-the-art processors. That means 90nm SOI, copper, strained silicon and low-k.
With such a cornerstone, new horizons are opened. “Xbox 360 will transform the way people play games and have fun,” says Robbie Bach, Senior Vice President and Chief Xbox Officer, Home and Entertainment Division, Microsoft Corporation.
• Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU
• 90nm SOI • Three 3.2 GHz symmetrical cores
• Two hardware threads per core; six hardware threads total
• VMX-128 vector unit per core; three total
• 1 MB L2 cache