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(processor, standard)
(PPC) A RISC microprocessor designed to meet a standard which was jointly designed by Motorola, IBM, and Apple Computer (the PowerPC Alliance). The PowerPC standard specifies a common instruction set architecture (ISA), allowing anyone to design and fabricate PowerPC processors, which will run the same code. The PowerPC architecture is based on the IBM POWER architecture, used in IBM's RS/6000 workstations. Currently IBM and Motorola are working on PowerPC chips.

The PowerPC standard specifies both 32-bit and 64-bit data paths. Early implementations were 32-bit (e.g. PowerPC 601); later higher-performance implementations were 64-bit (e.g. PowerPC 620). A PowerPC has 32 integer registers (32- or 64 bit) and 32 floating-point (IEEE standard 64 bit) floating-point registers.

The POWER CPU chip and PowerPC have a (large) common core, but both have instructions that the other doesn't. The PowerPC offers the following features that POWER does not:

Support for running in little-endian mode.

Addition of single precision floating-point operations.

Control of branch prediction direction.

A hardware coherency model (not in Book I).

Some other floating-point instructions (some optional).

The real time clock (upper and lower) was replaced with the time base registers (upper and lower), which don't count in sec/ns (the decrementer also changed).

64-bit instruction operands, registers, etc. (in 64 bit processors).

See also PowerOpen, PowerPC Platform (PReP).

IBM PPC info.

gopher://info.hed.apple.com/, "Apple Corporate News/" (press releases), "Apple Technologies/" and "Product Information/". gopher://ike.engr.washington.edu/, "IBM General News/", "IBM Product Announcements/", "IBM Detailed Product Announcements/", "IBM Hardware Catalog/".

Usenet newsgroups: news:comp.sys.powerpc, news:comp.sys.mac.hardware.

["Microprocessor Report", 16 October 1991].


A family of RISC-based CPU chips developed by IBM, Apple and Motorola. PowerPC chips have been used in a wide range of applications from embedded systems to supercomputers. They were used in Apple's Power Macs up to the G5, before Apple switched to Intel processors. Various models of IBM's System i and System p computers used PowerPC chips, and Freescale Semiconductor (formerly the Motorola chip division) features the Power Architecture for embedded systems in a variety of industries.

Although mostly compatible before, starting in 2006 with Power ISA 2.03, PowerPC chips were united in a common instruction set architecture (ISA) with IBM's POWER chips. For more information, visit www.power.org. See Power Mac, G5, POWER CPU, Power Systems, Apple-IBM Alliance and CHRP.
               WordPowerPC        Size  Tran-Model   Year  (bits) sistors  Notes

 series  2008     64           Comms

 eSeries 2006  32-64           Automotive

 970     2003     64    52M    Mac G5

 7400    1999     32  10.5M    Mac G4

 750     1997     32   6.4M    Mac G3
 740     1997     32   6.4M    Mac G3

 604e    1996     32   5.1M
 603e**  1996     32   2.6M

 603     1995     32   1.6M
 604     1995     32   3.6M
 602**   1995     32     1M

 601     1993     32   2.8M

  ** low power for laptops
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