Title: The Exponential x704: A 533MHz BiCMOS PowerPC for the Desktop
Speaker: Jay Pattin, Exponential
What is it?
Clock speed, die size, and power consumption have a tremendous influence on microprocessor design. High clock speed implies a simple microarchitecture but leaves room for a certain amount of interesting features that add performance without impacting die size or cycle time. In contrast to most other fast processors, the x704 has a short (5-6 stage) pipeline. The short pipeline is made possible through the use of bipolar logic and cache RAMs with sub-nanosecond access times. Microarchitectural innovations include a sliding ALU execution stage and a tightly coupled two-level on-chip cache hierarchy.
How did we do it?
To be able to design a microprocessor in an unusual technology with a small design team, Exponential had to develop an extensive CAD tool set. Of particular interest are our "on-the-fly" generation of custom cells and a timing process that balances cycle time and power consumption. The ability to do 100 cycles/second of full-chip gate-level simulation on off-the-shelf PCs allows high confidence in design correctness on the low budget of a startup.
EXPONENTIAL TECHNOLOGY - CORPORATE INFORMATION
Mission: Leading the personal computer industry to new performance levels with advanced microprocessor technology and products.
Exponential was founded in June, 1993 by George Taylor and Jim Blomgren.
Exponential is committed to delivering high performance microprocessors using innovative design techniques and process technologies. The company's high-speed, bipolar logic, BiCMOS microprocessor devices are specifically designed for compute-intensive applications. Exponential intends to deliver breakthrough computing power that is also cost-effective and maintains compatibility with previous-generation technology.
Jay Pattin is a Member of the Technical Staff at Exponential Technology and has worked on architecture and microarchitecture, simulation technology, design verification, logic design, and hardware bringup.
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