PowerPC

PowerPC

Overview
PowerPC is a RISC architecture created by the 1991 Apple–IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

Motorola
Motorola
Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

 alliance, known as AIM
AIM alliance
The AIM alliance was an alliance formed on October 2, 1991, between Apple Inc. , IBM, and Motorola to create a new computing standard based on the PowerPC architecture. The stated goal of the alliance was to challenge the dominant Wintel computing platform with a new computer design and a...

. PowerPC, as an evolving instruction set, has since 2006 been renamed Power ISA but lives on as a legacy trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 for some implementations of Power Architecture
Power Architecture
Power Architecture is a broad term to describe similar RISC instruction sets for microprocessors developed and manufactured by such companies as IBM, Freescale, AMCC, Tundra and P.A. Semi...

 based processors.

Originally intended for personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

s, PowerPC CPUs have since become popular as embedded
Embedded system
An embedded system is a computer system designed for specific control functions within a larger system. often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts. By contrast, a general-purpose computer, such as a personal...

 and high-performance processors. PowerPC was the cornerstone of AIM's PReP
Prep
Prep may refer to:* A nickname for anything associated with a University-preparatory school, such as:** A member of the Preppy social group, stemming from the word "preparatory"** Another name for someone who attends a preparatory school in the US...

 and Common Hardware Reference Platform
Common Hardware Reference Platform
Common Hardware Reference Platform was a standard system architecture for PowerPC based computer systems published jointly by IBM and Apple in 1995. Like its predecessor PReP, it was conceptualized as a design to allow various operating systems to run on an industry standard hardware platform,...

 initiatives in the 1990s and while the architecture is well known for being used by Apple's Macintosh
Macintosh
The Macintosh , or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced by Apple's then-chairman Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a...

 lines from 1994 to 2006 (before Apple's transition to Intel), its use in video game consoles and embedded applications far exceeded Apple's use.

PowerPC is largely based on IBM's earlier POWER
IBM POWER
POWER is a reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by IBM. The name is an acronym for Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC....

 architecture, and retains a high level of compatibility with it; the architectures have remained close enough that the same programs and operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

s will run on both if some care is taken in preparation; newer chips in the POWER series implement the full PowerPC instruction set.

The history of RISC began with IBM's 801
IBM 801
The 801 was an experimental minicomputer designed by IBM. The resulting architecture was used in various roles in IBM until the 1980s. The 801 was started as a pure research project led by John Cocke in October 1975 at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. The name 801 comes from the building the...

 research project, on which John Cocke
John Cocke
John Cocke was an American computer scientist recognized for his large contribution to computer architecture and optimizing compiler design. He is considered by many to be "the father of RISC architecture."...

 was the lead developer.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
PowerPC is a RISC architecture created by the 1991 Apple–IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

Motorola
Motorola
Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

 alliance, known as AIM
AIM alliance
The AIM alliance was an alliance formed on October 2, 1991, between Apple Inc. , IBM, and Motorola to create a new computing standard based on the PowerPC architecture. The stated goal of the alliance was to challenge the dominant Wintel computing platform with a new computer design and a...

. PowerPC, as an evolving instruction set, has since 2006 been renamed Power ISA but lives on as a legacy trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 for some implementations of Power Architecture
Power Architecture
Power Architecture is a broad term to describe similar RISC instruction sets for microprocessors developed and manufactured by such companies as IBM, Freescale, AMCC, Tundra and P.A. Semi...

 based processors.

Originally intended for personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

s, PowerPC CPUs have since become popular as embedded
Embedded system
An embedded system is a computer system designed for specific control functions within a larger system. often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts. By contrast, a general-purpose computer, such as a personal...

 and high-performance processors. PowerPC was the cornerstone of AIM's PReP
Prep
Prep may refer to:* A nickname for anything associated with a University-preparatory school, such as:** A member of the Preppy social group, stemming from the word "preparatory"** Another name for someone who attends a preparatory school in the US...

 and Common Hardware Reference Platform
Common Hardware Reference Platform
Common Hardware Reference Platform was a standard system architecture for PowerPC based computer systems published jointly by IBM and Apple in 1995. Like its predecessor PReP, it was conceptualized as a design to allow various operating systems to run on an industry standard hardware platform,...

 initiatives in the 1990s and while the architecture is well known for being used by Apple's Macintosh
Macintosh
The Macintosh , or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced by Apple's then-chairman Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a...

 lines from 1994 to 2006 (before Apple's transition to Intel), its use in video game consoles and embedded applications far exceeded Apple's use.

PowerPC is largely based on IBM's earlier POWER
IBM POWER
POWER is a reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by IBM. The name is an acronym for Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC....

 architecture, and retains a high level of compatibility with it; the architectures have remained close enough that the same programs and operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

s will run on both if some care is taken in preparation; newer chips in the POWER series implement the full PowerPC instruction set.

History


The history of RISC began with IBM's 801
IBM 801
The 801 was an experimental minicomputer designed by IBM. The resulting architecture was used in various roles in IBM until the 1980s. The 801 was started as a pure research project led by John Cocke in October 1975 at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. The name 801 comes from the building the...

 research project, on which John Cocke
John Cocke
John Cocke was an American computer scientist recognized for his large contribution to computer architecture and optimizing compiler design. He is considered by many to be "the father of RISC architecture."...

 was the lead developer. Here he developed the concepts of RISC in 1975-78. 801-based microprocessors were used in a number of IBM embedded products, eventually becoming the 16-register ROMP
ROMP
The ROMP or Research Micro Processor was a 10 MHz RISC microprocessor designed by IBM in the early 1980s manufactured on a 2 µm process with 45,000 transistors....

 processor used in the IBM RT
IBM RT
The IBM RT was a computer workstation sold by IBM and based around IBM's ROMP processor, a spin-off of the IBM 801 pioneered at IBM Research. The system was introduced in 1986 as the RT PC and ran AIX 1.x and 2.x, the Academic Operating System , or the Pick operating system...

. The RT was a rapid design implementing the RISC principles, and the performance was disappointing in comparison to the high performance 68000 microprocessor from Motorola. Between the years of 1982-1984 IBM started a project to build the fastest microprocessor on the market; this new 64-bit
64-bit
64-bit is a word size that defines certain classes of computer architecture, buses, memory and CPUs, and by extension the software that runs on them. 64-bit CPUs have existed in supercomputers since the 1970s and in RISC-based workstations and servers since the early 1990s...

 architecture became referred to as the "America Project" throughout its development cycle which lasted for approximately 5-6 years. The result was the POWER
IBM POWER
POWER is a reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by IBM. The name is an acronym for Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC....

 architecture, introduced with the RISC System/6000
RS/6000
RISC System/6000, or RS/6000 for short, is a family of RISC and UNIX based servers, workstations and supercomputers made by IBM in the 1990s. The RS/6000 family replaced the IBM RT computer platform in February 1990 and was the first computer line to see the use of IBM's POWER and PowerPC based...

 in early 1990.

The original POWER microprocessor
Microprocessor
A microprocessor incorporates the functions of a computer's central processing unit on a single integrated circuit, or at most a few integrated circuits. It is a multipurpose, programmable device that accepts digital data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory, and...

, one of the first superscalar
Superscalar
A superscalar CPU architecture implements a form of parallelism called instruction level parallelism within a single processor. It therefore allows faster CPU throughput than would otherwise be possible at a given clock rate...

 RISC implementations, was a high performance, multi-chip design. IBM soon realized that they would need a one-chip microprocessor to scale their RS/6000 line from lower-end to high-end machines. Work on a one-chip POWER microprocessor, called the RSC (RISC Single Chip
RISC Single Chip
The RISC Single Chip, or RSC, is a single-chip microprocessor developed and fabricated by International Business Machines . The RSC was a feature-reduced single-chip implementation of the POWER1, a multi-chip central processing unit which implemented the POWER instruction set architecture...

) began. In early 1991, IBM realized that their design could potentially become a high-volume microprocessor used across the industry.

IBM approached Apple with the goal of collaborating on the development of a family of single-chip microprocessors based on the POWER architecture. Soon after, Apple, as one of Motorola's largest customers of desktop-class microprocessors, asked Motorola to join the discussions because of their long relationship, their more extensive experience with manufacturing high-volume microprocessors than IBM and to serve as a second source for the microprocessors. This three-way collaboration became known as AIM alliance
AIM alliance
The AIM alliance was an alliance formed on October 2, 1991, between Apple Inc. , IBM, and Motorola to create a new computing standard based on the PowerPC architecture. The stated goal of the alliance was to challenge the dominant Wintel computing platform with a new computer design and a...

, for Apple, IBM, Motorola.

In 1991, the PowerPC was just one facet of a larger alliance among these three companies. At the time, most of the personal computer industry was shipping systems based on the Intel 80386 and 80486 chips, which had a CISC
Complex instruction set computer
A complex instruction set computer , is a computer where single instructions can execute several low-level operations and/or are capable of multi-step operations or addressing modes within single instructions...

 architecture, and development of the Pentium processor was well underway. The PowerPC chip was one of several joint ventures involving the three, in their efforts to counter the growing Microsoft-Intel dominance of personal computing.

To Motorola, POWER looked like an unbelievable deal. It allowed them to sell a widely tested and powerful RISC CPU for little design cash on their own part. It also maintained ties with an important customer, Apple, and seemed to offer the possibility of adding another in IBM who might buy smaller versions from them instead of making their own.

At this point Motorola already had its own RISC design in the form of the 88000
Motorola 88000
The 88000 is a RISC instruction set architecture developed by Motorola. The 88000 was Motorola's attempt at a home-grown RISC architecture, started in the 1980s. The 88000 arrived on the market some two years after the competing SPARC and MIPS...

 which was doing poorly in the market. Motorola was doing well with their 68000
Motorola 68000
The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor...

 family and the majority of the funding was focused on this. The 88000 effort was somewhat starved for resources.

However, the 88000 was already in production; Data General
Data General
Data General was one of the first minicomputer firms from the late 1960s. Three of the four founders were former employees of Digital Equipment Corporation. Their first product, the Data General Nova, was a 16-bit minicomputer...

 was shipping 88k machines and Apple already had 88k prototype machines running. The 88000 had also achieved a number of embedded design wins in telecom applications. If the new POWER one-chip version could be made bus-compatible at a hardware level with the 88000, that would allow both Apple and Motorola to bring machines to market far faster since they would not have to redesign their board architecture.

The result of these various requirements was the PowerPC (Performance Computing) specification.

When the first PowerPC products reached the market, they were met with enthusiasm. In addition to Apple, both IBM and the Motorola Computer Group offered systems built around the processors. Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 released Windows NT 3.51
Windows NT 3.51
Windows NT 3.51 is the third release of Microsoft's Windows NT line of operating systems. It was released on 30 May 1995, nine months after Windows NT 3.5. The release provided two notable feature improvements; firstly NT 3.51 was the first of a short-lived outing of Microsoft Windows on the...

 for the architecture, which was used in Motorola's PowerPC servers, and Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems, Inc. was a company that sold :computers, computer components, :computer software, and :information technology services. Sun was founded on February 24, 1982...

 offered a version of its Solaris OS. IBM ported its AIX
AIX operating system
AIX AIX AIX (Advanced Interactive eXecutive, pronounced "a i ex" is a series of proprietary Unix operating systems developed and sold by IBM for several of its computer platforms...

 Unix
Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 and planned a release of OS/2
OS/2
OS/2 is a computer operating system, initially created by Microsoft and IBM, then later developed by IBM exclusively. The name stands for "Operating System/2," because it was introduced as part of the same generation change release as IBM's "Personal System/2 " line of second-generation personal...

. Throughout the mid-1990s, PowerPC processors achieved benchmark
Benchmark (computing)
In computing, a benchmark is the act of running a computer program, a set of programs, or other operations, in order to assess the relative performance of an object, normally by running a number of standard tests and trials against it...

 test scores that matched or exceeded those of the fastest x86 CPUs.

Ultimately, demand for the new architecture on the desktop never truly materialized. Windows, OS/2 and Sun customers, faced with the lack of application software for the PowerPC, almost universally ignored the chip. The PowerPC versions of Solaris, OS/2, and Windows were discontinued after only a brief period on the market. Only on the Macintosh, due to Apple's persistence, did the PowerPC gain traction. To Apple, the performance of the PowerPC was a bright spot in the face of increased competition from Windows 95 and Windows NT-based PCs.

In parallel with the alliance between IBM and Motorola, both companies had development efforts underway internally. The PowerQUICC line was the result of this work inside Motorola. The 4xx series of embedded processors was underway inside IBM. The IBM embedded processor business grew to nearly 100 million in revenue and attracted hundreds of customers.

However, toward the close of the decade, the same manufacturing issues began plaguing the AIM alliance in much the same way it did Motorola, which consistently pushed back deployments of new processors for Apple and other vendors: first from Motorola in the 1990s with the G3 and G4 processors, and IBM with the 64-bit G5 processor in 2003. In 2004, Motorola exited the chip manufacturing business by spinning off its semiconductor business as an independent company called Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. is a producer and designer of embedded hardware, with 17 billion semiconductor chips in use around the world. The company focuses on the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets with its product portfolio including microprocessors, microcontrollers,...

. Around the same time, IBM exited the 32-bit embedded processor market by selling its line of PowerPC products to Applied Micro Circuits Corporation
Applied Micro Circuits Corporation
Applied Micro Circuits Corporation is a fabless semiconductor company designing network and embedded Power Architecture , and server processor ARM , optical transport and storage solutions...

 (AMCC) and focused on 64-bit chip designs, while maintaining its commitment of PowerPC CPUs toward game machine makers such as Nintendo
Nintendo
is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....

's GameCube and Wii
Wii
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

, Sony
Sony Computer Entertainment
Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. is a major video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony...

's PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 and Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

's Xbox 360
Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 both use 64-bit processors. In 2005 Apple announced they would no longer use PowerPC processors in their Apple Macintosh computers, favoring Intel produced processors instead, citing the performance limitations of the chip for future personal computer hardware specifically related to heat generation and energy usage, as well as the inability of IBM to move the 970 (PowerPC G5) processor to the 3 GHz range. The IBM-Freescale alliance was replaced by an open standards body called Power.org. Power.org operates under the governance of the IEEE with IBM continuing to use and evolve the PowerPC processor on game consoles and Freescale Semiconductor focusing solely on embedded devices.
IBM continues to develop PowerPC microprocessor cores for use in their ASIC offerings. Many high volume applications embed PowerPC cores.

As of July 2010, the POWER architecture IBM developed is still very much alive on their server offerings for large businesses and continues to evolve (and current POWER processors implement the full PowerPC instruction set architecture). For example, IBM's servers based on POWER have the highest revenue marketshare (53.9%) among UNIX
Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 servers.

The PowerPC specification is now handled by Power.org where IBM, Freescale, and AMCC are members. PowerPC, Cell and POWER processors are now jointly marketed as the Power Architecture
Power Architecture
Power Architecture is a broad term to describe similar RISC instruction sets for microprocessors developed and manufactured by such companies as IBM, Freescale, AMCC, Tundra and P.A. Semi...

. Power.org released a unified ISA, combining POWER and PowerPC ISAs into the new Power ISA v.2.03 specification and a new reference platform for servers called PAPR (Power Architecture Platform Reference).

Design features


The PowerPC is designed along RISC principles, and allows for a superscalar
Superscalar
A superscalar CPU architecture implements a form of parallelism called instruction level parallelism within a single processor. It therefore allows faster CPU throughput than would otherwise be possible at a given clock rate...

 implementation. Versions of the design exist in both 32-bit and 64-bit implementations. Starting with the basic POWER specification, the PowerPC added:
  • Support for operation in both big-endian
    Endianness
    In computing, the term endian or endianness refers to the ordering of individually addressable sub-components within the representation of a larger data item as stored in external memory . Each sub-component in the representation has a unique degree of significance, like the place value of digits...

     and little-endian modes; the PowerPC can switch from one mode to the other at run-time (see below). This feature is not supported in the PowerPC 970
    PowerPC 970
    The PowerPC 970, PowerPC 970FX, PowerPC 970GX, and PowerPC 970MP, are 64-bit Power Architecture processors from IBM introduced in 2002. When used in Apple Inc. machines, they were dubbed the PowerPC G5....

    . This was the reason Virtual PC
    Microsoft Virtual PC
    Windows Virtual PC is a virtualization program for Microsoft Windows. In July 2006 Microsoft released the Windows-hosted version as a free product...

     took so long to be made functional on 970-based Macintosh computers.
  • Single-precision forms of some floating point
    Floating point
    In computing, floating point describes a method of representing real numbers in a way that can support a wide range of values. Numbers are, in general, represented approximately to a fixed number of significant digits and scaled using an exponent. The base for the scaling is normally 2, 10 or 16...

     instructions, in addition to double-precision forms
  • Additional floating point instructions at the behest of Apple
  • A complete 64-bit specification that is backward compatible with the 32-bit mode
  • A fused multiply–add
  • A paged memory management architecture which is used extensively in server and PC systems.
  • Addition of a new memory management architecture called Book-E, replacing the conventional paged memory management architecture for embedded applications. Book-E is application software compatible with existing PowerPC implementations, but needs minor changes to the operating system.


Some instructions present in the POWER instruction set were deemed too complex and were removed in the PowerPC architecture. Some of the removed instructions could be emulated by the operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

 if necessary. The removed instructions are:
  • Conditional moves
  • Load and store instructions for the quad-precision floating-point data type
  • String instructions.

Endian modes


Most PowerPC chips switch endianness via a bit in the MSR (Machine State Register), with a second bit provided to allow the OS to run with a different endianness. Accesses to the "inverted page table" (a hash table that functions as a TLB
Translation Lookaside Buffer
A translation lookaside buffer is a CPU cache that memory management hardware uses to improve virtual address translation speed. All current desktop and server processors use a TLB to map virtual and physical address spaces, and it is ubiquitous in any hardware which utilizes virtual memory.The...

 with off-chip storage) are always done in big-endian mode. The processor starts in big-endian mode.

In little-endian mode, the three lowest-order bits of the effective address are exclusive-ORed
Exclusive disjunction
The logical operation exclusive disjunction, also called exclusive or , is a type of logical disjunction on two operands that results in a value of true if exactly one of the operands has a value of true...

 with a three bit value selected by the length of the operand. This is enough to appear fully little-endian to normal software. An operating system will see a warped view of the world when it accesses external chips such as video and network hardware. Fixing this warped view requires that the motherboard perform an unconditional 64-bit byte swap on all data entering or leaving the processor. Endianness thus becomes a property of the motherboard. An OS that operates in little-endian mode on a big-endian motherboard must both swap bytes and undo the exclusive-OR when accessing little-endian chips.

AltiVec
AltiVec
AltiVec is a floating point and integer SIMD instruction set designed and owned by Apple, IBM and Freescale Semiconductor, formerly the Semiconductor Products Sector of Motorola, , and implemented on versions of the PowerPC including Motorola's G4, IBM's G5 and POWER6 processors, and P.A. Semi's...

 operations, despite being 128-bit, are treated as if they were 64-bit. This allows for compatibility with little-endian motherboards that were designed prior to AltiVec.

An interesting side effect of this implementation is that a program can store a 64-bit value (the longest operand format) to memory while in one endian mode, switch modes, and read back the same 64-bit value without seeing a change of byte order. This will not be the case if the motherboard is switched at the same time.

Mercury Computer Systems
Mercury Computer Systems
Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. provides high-performance embedded, real-time digital signal and image processing solutions.Mercury designs and builds embedded multicomputers, which may be considered to be either loosely coupled NUMA computers or tightly coupled clusters. Despite being marketed as...

 and Matrox
Matrox
Matrox is a producer of video card components and equipment for personal computers. Based in Dorval, Quebec, Canada it was founded by Lorne Trottier and Branko Matić....

 ran the PowerPC in little-endian mode. This was done so that PowerPC devices serving as co-processors on PCI boards could share data structures with host computers based on x86. Both PCI and x86 are little-endian. Solaris and Windows NT for PowerPC also ran the processor in little-endian mode.

Some of IBM's embedded PowerPC chips use a per-page endianness
Endianness
In computing, the term endian or endianness refers to the ordering of individually addressable sub-components within the representation of a larger data item as stored in external memory . Each sub-component in the representation has a unique degree of significance, like the place value of digits...

 bit. None of the previous applies to them.

Implementations




The first implementation of the architecture was the PowerPC 601, released in 1992, based on the RSC, implementing a hybrid of the POWER1
POWER1
The POWER1 is a multi-chip CPU developed and fabricated by IBM that implemented the POWER instruction set architecture . It was originally known as the “RISC System/6000 CPU” or when an abbreviated form, the “RS/6000 CPU” before introduction of successors required the original name to be replaced...

 and PowerPC instructions. This allowed the chip to be used by IBM in their existing POWER1-based platforms, although it also meant some slight pain when switching to the 2nd generation "pure" PowerPC designs. Apple continued work on a new line of Macintosh computers based on the chip, and eventually released them as the 601-based Power Macintosh on March 14, 1994.

IBM also had a full line of PowerPC based desktops built and ready to ship; unfortunately, the operating system which IBM had intended to run on these desktops—Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 Windows NT
Windows NT
Windows NT is a family of operating systems produced by Microsoft, the first version of which was released in July 1993. It was a powerful high-level-language-based, processor-independent, multiprocessing, multiuser operating system with features comparable to Unix. It was intended to complement...

—was not complete by early 1993, when the machines were ready for marketing. Accordingly, and further because IBM had developed animosity toward Microsoft, IBM decided to rewrite OS/2
OS/2
OS/2 is a computer operating system, initially created by Microsoft and IBM, then later developed by IBM exclusively. The name stands for "Operating System/2," because it was introduced as part of the same generation change release as IBM's "Personal System/2 " line of second-generation personal...

 for the PowerPC. It took IBM two years to rewrite
Rewrite (programming)
A rewrite in computer programming is the act or result of re-implementing a large portion of existing functionality without re-use of its source code. When the rewrite is not using existing code at all, it is common to speak of a rewrite from scratch...

 OS/2 for PowerPC, and by the time the operating system was ready, the market for OS/2 on PowerPC had evaporated. For this reason, the IBM PowerPC desktops did not ship, although the reference design (codenamed Sandalbow) based on the PowerPC 601 CPU was released as an RS/6000 model (Byte magazine′s April 1994 issue included an extensive article about the Apple and IBM PowerPC desktops).

Apple, which also lacked a PowerPC based OS, took a different route. They rewrote the essential pieces of their Mac OS
Mac OS
Mac OS is a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Inc. for their Macintosh line of computer systems. The Macintosh user experience is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface...

 operating system for the PowerPC architecture, and further wrote a 680x0 emulator
Mac 68K emulator
The Mac 68K emulator was a software emulator built into all versions of the Mac OS for PowerPC. This emulator permitted the running of applications and system code that were originally written for the 680x0 based Macintosh models. The emulator was completely seamless for users, and reasonably...

 that could run 68K
68k
The Motorola 680x0/m68000/68000 is a family of 32-bit CISC microprocessors. During the 1980s and early 1990s, they were popular in personal computers and workstations and were the primary competitors of Intel's x86 microprocessors...

 based applications and the parts of the OS that had not been rewritten.

The second generation was "pure" and included the "low end" PowerPC 603 and "high end" PowerPC 604. The 603 is notable due to its very low cost and power consumption. This was a deliberate design goal on Motorola's part, who used the 603 project to build the basic core for all future generations of PPC chips. Apple tried to use the 603 in a new laptop design but was unable to due to the small 8 KiB level 1 cache. The 68000 emulator in the Mac OS could not fit in 8 KiB and thus slowed the computer drastically. The 603e solved this problem by having a 16 KiB L1 cache
CPU cache
A CPU cache is a cache used by the central processing unit of a computer to reduce the average time to access memory. The cache is a smaller, faster memory which stores copies of the data from the most frequently used main memory locations...

 which allowed the emulator to run efficiently.

In 1993, developers at IBM's Essex Junction, Burlington, Vermont
Essex Junction, Vermont
Essex Junction is a village in the town of Essex in Chittenden County, Vermont, United States. The population was 8,591 at the 2000 census. It was incorporated on November 15, 1892....

 facility started to work on a version of the PowerPC that would support the Intel x86 instruction set directly on the CPU. While this was just one of several concurrent power architecture project that IBM was working on, this chip began to be known inside IBM and by the media as the PowerPC 615. However, profitability concerns and rumors of performance issues in the switching between the x86 and native PowerPC instruction sets resulted in the project being canceled in 1995 after only a limited number of chips were produced for in-house testing. Despite the rumors, the switching process took only 5 cycles, or the amount of time needed for the processor to empty its instruction pipeline. Microsoft also aided the processor's demise by refusing to support the PowerPC mode.

The first 64-bit implementation was the PowerPC 620, but it appears to have seen little use because Apple didn't want to buy it and because, with its large die area, it was too costly for the embedded market. It was later and slower than promised, and IBM used their own POWER3
POWER3
The POWER3 is a microprocessor, designed and exclusively manufactured by IBM, that implemented the 64-bit version of the PowerPC instruction set architecture , including all of the optional instructions of the ISA such as the POWER2. It was introduced on 5 October 1998, debuting in the RS/6000 43P...

 design instead, offering no 64-bit "small" version until the late-2002 introduction of the PowerPC 970
PowerPC 970
The PowerPC 970, PowerPC 970FX, PowerPC 970GX, and PowerPC 970MP, are 64-bit Power Architecture processors from IBM introduced in 2002. When used in Apple Inc. machines, they were dubbed the PowerPC G5....

. The 970 is a 64-bit processor derived from the POWER4
POWER4
The POWER4 is a microprocessor developed by International Business Machines that implemented the 64-bit PowerPC and PowerPC AS instruction set architectures. Released in 2001, the POWER4 succeeded the POWER3 and RS64 microprocessors, and was used in RS/6000 and AS/400 computers, ending a separate...

 server processor. To create it, the POWER4 core was modified to be backward-compatible with 32-bit PowerPC processors, and a vector unit (similar to the AltiVec
AltiVec
AltiVec is a floating point and integer SIMD instruction set designed and owned by Apple, IBM and Freescale Semiconductor, formerly the Semiconductor Products Sector of Motorola, , and implemented on versions of the PowerPC including Motorola's G4, IBM's G5 and POWER6 processors, and P.A. Semi's...

 extensions in Motorola's 74xx series) was added.

IBM's RS64 processors are a family of chips implementing the "Amazon" variant of the PowerPC architecture. These processors are used in the RS/6000
RS/6000
RISC System/6000, or RS/6000 for short, is a family of RISC and UNIX based servers, workstations and supercomputers made by IBM in the 1990s. The RS/6000 family replaced the IBM RT computer platform in February 1990 and was the first computer line to see the use of IBM's POWER and PowerPC based...

 and AS/400
IBM System i
The IBM System i is IBM's previous generation of midrange computer systems for IBM i users, and was subsequently replaced by the IBM Power Systems in April 2008....

 computer families; the Amazon architecture includes proprietary extensions used by AS/400. The POWER4 and later POWER processors implement the Amazon architecture and replaced the RS64 chips in the RS/6000 and AS/400 families.

IBM developed a separate product line called the "4xx" line focused on the embedded market. These designs included the 401, 403, 405, 440, and 460. In 2004, IBM sold their 4xx product line to Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (AMCC). AMCC continues to develop new high performance products, partly based on IBM's technology, along with technology that was developed within AMCC. These products focus on a variety of applications including networking, wireless, storage, printing/imaging and industrial automation.

Numerically, the PowerPC is mostly found in controllers in cars. For the automotive market, Freescale Semiconductor initially offered a large number of variations called the MPC5xx
MPC5xx
The MPC5xx family of processors such as the MPC555 and MPC565 are 32-bit PowerPC embedded microprocessors that operate between 40 and 66 MHz and are frequently used in automotive applications including engine and transmission controllers...

 family such as the MPC555, built on a variation of the 601 core called the 8xx and designed in Israel by MSIL (Motorola Silicon Israel Limited). The 601 core is single issue, meaning it can only issue one instruction in a clock cycle. To this they add various bits of custom hardware, to allow for I/O on the one chip. In 2004, the next-generation four-digit 55xx devices were launched for the automotive market. These use the newer e200
PowerPC e200
The PowerPC e200 is a family of 32-bit Power Architecture microprocessor cores developed by Freescale for primary use in automotive and industrial control systems...

 series of PowerPC cores.

Networking is another area where embedded PowerPC processors are found in large numbers. MSIL took the QUICC
QUICC
QUICC is the abbreviation of QUad Integrated Communications Controller. The original QUICC was the 68k-based Motorola 68360. It was followed by the PowerPC-based PowerQUICC, PowerQUICC II, PowerQUICC II+ and PowerQUICC III. Early chips used a separate RISC engine to control the serial interfaces....

 engine from the MC68302 and made the PowerQUICC
PowerQUICC
PowerQUICC is the name for several Power Architecture based microcontrollers from Freescale Semiconductor. They are built around one or more PowerPC cores and the QUICC Engine which is a separate RISC core specialized in such tasks such as I/O, communications, ATM, security acceleration, networking...

 MPC860. This was a very famous processor used in many Cisco
Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational corporation headquartered in San Jose, California, United States, that designs and sells consumer electronics, networking, voice, and communications technology and services. Cisco has more than 70,000 employees and annual revenue of US$...

 edge routers in the late 1990s. Variants of the PowerQUICC include the MPC850, and the MPC823/MPC823e. All variants include a separate RISC microengine called the CPM that offloads communications processing tasks from the central processor and has functions for DMA
Direct memory access
Direct memory access is a feature of modern computers that allows certain hardware subsystems within the computer to access system memory independently of the central processing unit ....

. The follow-on chip from this family, the MPC8260, has a 603e-based core and a different CPM.

Honda also uses PowerPC processors for ASIMO
ASIMO
is a humanoid robot created by Honda. Introduced in 2000, ASIMO, which is an acronym for "Advanced Step in Innovative MObility", was created to be a helper to people. With aspirations of helping people who lack full mobility, ASIMO is used to encourage young people to study science and mathematics...

.

In 2003, BAE SYSTEMS Platform Solutions
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

 delivered the Vehicle-Management Computer for the F-35
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

 fighter jet. This platform consists of dual PowerPCs made by Freescale in a triple redundant setup.

Operating systems


Operating systems that work on the PowerPC architecture are generally divided into those which are oriented toward the general-purpose PowerPC systems, and those oriented toward the embedded
Embedded system
An embedded system is a computer system designed for specific control functions within a larger system. often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts. By contrast, a general-purpose computer, such as a personal...

 PowerPC systems.

Operating systems with native support

  • AmigaOS 4
    AmigaOS 4
    AmigaOS 4, , is a line of Amiga operating systems which runs on PowerPC microprocessors. It is mainly based on AmigaOS 3.1 source code, and partially on version 3.9 developed by Haage & Partner...

  • Apple Macintosh System 7
    System 7
    System 7 is the name of a Macintosh operating system introduced in 1991.System 7 may also refer to:* System 7 , a British dance/ambient band* System 7 , 1991 album* IBM System/7, a 1970s computer system...

    .1.2 through Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8
  • BeOS
    BeOS
    BeOS is an operating system for personal computers which began development by Be Inc. in 1991. It was first written to run on BeBox hardware. BeOS was optimized for digital media work and was written to take advantage of modern hardware facilities such as symmetric multiprocessing by utilizing...

     R5 Pro (BeBox, Macintosh and clones)
    • Haiku
      Haiku (operating system)
      Haiku is a free and open source operating system compatible with BeOS. Its development began in 2001, and the operating system became self-hosting in 2008, with the first alpha release in September 2009, the second in May 2010 and the third in June 2011....

      , experimental
  • IBM i; formerly named i5/OS, originally OS/400
  • MorphOS
    MorphOS
    MorphOS is an Amiga-compatible computer operating system. It is a mixed proprietary and open source OS produced for the Pegasos PowerPC processor based computer, PowerUP accelerator equipped Amiga computers, and a series of Freescale development boards that use the Genesi firmware, including the...

  • Plan 9
    Plan 9 from Bell Labs
    Plan 9 from Bell Labs is a distributed operating system. It was developed primarily for research purposes as the successor to Unix by the Computing Sciences Research Center at Bell Labs between the mid-1980s and 2002...

  • POSIX
    POSIX
    POSIX , an acronym for "Portable Operating System Interface", is a family of standards specified by the IEEE for maintaining compatibility between operating systems...

    : Unix
    Unix
    Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

    , Unix-like
    Unix-like
    A Unix-like operating system is one that behaves in a manner similar to a Unix system, while not necessarily conforming to or being certified to any version of the Single UNIX Specification....

    • Apple Macintosh Mac OS X
      Mac OS X
      Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

    • AIX
    • Berkeley Software Distribution
      Berkeley Software Distribution
      Berkeley Software Distribution is a Unix operating system derivative developed and distributed by the Computer Systems Research Group of the University of California, Berkeley, from 1977 to 1995...

       (BSD)
      • FreeBSD
        FreeBSD
        FreeBSD is a free Unix-like operating system descended from AT&T UNIX via BSD UNIX. Although for legal reasons FreeBSD cannot be called “UNIX”, as the direct descendant of BSD UNIX , FreeBSD’s internals and system APIs are UNIX-compliant...

        , 32-bit and 64-bit ports
      • NetBSD
        NetBSD
        NetBSD is a freely available open source version of the Berkeley Software Distribution Unix operating system. It was the second open source BSD descendant to be formally released, after 386BSD, and continues to be actively developed. The NetBSD project is primarily focused on high quality design,...

        , port designations for PowerPC systems
        • ofppc released
        • macppc released
        • evbppc released
        • pmppc released
        • mvmeppc released
        • bebox experimental
        • amigappc very experimental
      • OpenBSD
        OpenBSD
        OpenBSD is a Unix-like computer operating system descended from Berkeley Software Distribution , a Unix derivative developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It was forked from NetBSD by project leader Theo de Raadt in late 1995...

        , 32-bit macppc released port
    • Linux
      Linux
      Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

      • ArchLinuxPPC, with 32-bit releases, optionally with a 64-bit kernel
      • CRUX PPC, with 32/64-bit releases
      • Debian
        Debian
        Debian is a computer operating system composed of software packages released as free and open source software primarily under the GNU General Public License along with other free software licenses. Debian GNU/Linux, which includes the GNU OS tools and Linux kernel, is a popular and influential...

        , with 32-bit powerpc a released port, and ppc64
        Ppc64
        ppc64 is an identifier commonly used within the Linux and GCC open source software communities to refer to the target architecture for applications optimized for 64-bit PowerPC- and Power Architecture processors, frequently used when compiling source code....

        in development. Due to the considerations above, the developers recommend using the 32-bit "powerpc" port on 64-bit systems with a suitable 64-bit kernel
      • Fedora
        Fedora (operating system)
        Fedora is a RPM-based, general purpose collection of software, including an operating system based on the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat...

         with 32/64-bit ppc releases up to version 12.
      • Gentoo Linux
        Gentoo Linux
        Gentoo Linux is a computer operating system built on top of the Linux kernel and based on the Portage package management system. It is distributed as free and open source software. Unlike a conventional software distribution, the user compiles the source code locally according to their chosen...

        , with 32-bit ppc releases and 64-bit ppc64
        Ppc64
        ppc64 is an identifier commonly used within the Linux and GCC open source software communities to refer to the target architecture for applications optimized for 64-bit PowerPC- and Power Architecture processors, frequently used when compiling source code....

        releases. Due to the considerations above, the developers recommend using the 32-bit "ppc" release on 64-bit systems with an suitable 64-bit kernel
      • MintPPC
        MintPPC
        Linux MintPPC, also known as MintPPC, is a free and open source operating system for the PowerPC architecture. MintPPC was first released in May 2010. The most recent version, MintPPC 11, was released on November 14, 2011...

        , support for Old World and New World 32/64-bit Macs based on Linux Mint LXDE and Debian
      • MkLinux
        MkLinux
        MkLinux is an open source computer operating system started by the OSF Research Institute and Apple Computer in February 1996 to port Linux to the PowerPC platform, and Macintosh computers...

        , Mach-kernel based distribution for older Macs
      • OpenSUSE
        OpenSUSE
        openSUSE is a general purpose operating system built on top of the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported openSUSE Project and sponsored by SUSE...

        , !OUTDATED! full support for Old World and New World PowerMacs (32/64-bit), PS3 Cell, IBM POWER systems | Dropped support for PowerPC after 11.1 release.
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
        Red Hat Enterprise Linux
        Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a Linux-based operating system developed by Red Hat and targeted toward the commercial market. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is released in server versions for x86, x86-64, Itanium, PowerPC and IBM System z, and desktop versions for x86 and x86-64...

      • Slackintosh
        Slackintosh
        Slackintosh is a port of Slackware to the "New World" Macintosh's PowerPC architecture. Slackintosh's current release is one behind that of the current Slackware release - External links :*...

      • T2 SDE, full support for 32/64-bit, Apple and IBM PowerPC systems, PS3 Cell
      • Ubuntu
        Ubuntu (operating system)
        Ubuntu is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution and distributed as free and open source software. It is named after the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu...

        , community supported for versions released after 6.10
      • Yellow Dog Linux
        Yellow Dog Linux
        Yellow Dog Linux, also known as YDL, is a free and open source operating system for high performance computing on multicore architectures. It focuses on GPU systems and computers using the Power Architecture . YDL is currently developed by Fixstars...

        , full support for 32/64-bit; PS3
    • Solaris 2.5.1 PowerPC edition on the PReP platform
      • OpenSolaris
        OpenSolaris
        OpenSolaris was an open source computer operating system based on Solaris created by Sun Microsystems. It was also the name of the project initiated by Sun to build a developer and user community around the software...

        , experimental
  • Windows NT
    Windows NT
    Windows NT is a family of operating systems produced by Microsoft, the first version of which was released in July 1993. It was a powerful high-level-language-based, processor-independent, multiprocessing, multiuser operating system with features comparable to Unix. It was intended to complement...

     3.51 and 4.0
    • ReactOS
      ReactOS
      ReactOS is an open source computer operating system intended to be binary compatible with application software and device drivers made for Microsoft Windows NT versions 5.x and up...

       is also being ported to the Power ISA
  • XrossMediaBar
    XrossMediaBar
    The XrossMediaBar is a graphical user interface developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. The interface features icons that are spread horizontally across the screen. Navigation moves the icons, instead of a cursor. These icons are used as categories to organize the options available to the user...

     for PlayStation 3
    PlayStation 3
    The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...


Embedded

  • VxWorks
    VxWorks
    VxWorks is a real-time operating system developed as proprietary software by Wind River Systems of Alameda, California, USA. First released in 1987, VxWorks is designed for use in embedded systems.- History :...

  • Nucleus RTOS
    Nucleus RTOS
    Nucleus OS is a real-time operating system and toolset created by the Embedded Systems Division of Mentor Graphics for various central processing unit platforms. Nucleus OS is an embedded software solution and is in an estimated 2.11 billion devices worldwide.Development is typically done on a...

  • LiveDevices RTA-OSEKLive
  • Microware OS-9
    OS-9
    OS-9 is a family of real-time, process-based, multitasking, multi-user, Unix-like operating systems, developed in the 1980s, originally by Microware Systems Corporation for the Motorola 6809 microprocessor. It is currently owned by RadiSys Corporation....

  • MontaVista Linux
  • QNX
    QNX
    QNX is a commercial Unix-like real-time operating system, aimed primarily at the embedded systems market. The product was originally developed by Canadian company, QNX Software Systems, which was later acquired by Canadian BlackBerry-producer Research In Motion.-Description:As a microkernel-based...

  • Cisco IOS
    Cisco IOS
    Cisco IOS is the software used on the vast majority of Cisco Systems routers and current Cisco network switches...

  • LynxOS
    LynxOS
    The LynxOS RTOS is a Unix-like real-time operating system from LynuxWorks . Sometimes known as the Lynx Operating System, LynxOS features full POSIX conformance and, more recently, Linux compatibility...

  • PikeOS
    PikeOS
    PikeOS is a microkernel-based real-time operating system made by SYSGO AG. It is targeted at safety and security critical embedded systems. It provides a partitioned environment for multiple operating systems with different design goals, safety requirements, or security requirements to coexist in a...

     RTOS and virtualization platform from SYSGO
    SYSGO
    SYSGO AG is a German company oriented in embedded software since its founding in 1991. The company is focused on the basic software building blocks for embedded systems used in critical environments such as airplanes, medical instruments or industrial automation...

  • ELinOS
    ELinOS
    ELinOS is a commercial development environment for embedded Linux. It consists of a Linux distribution for the target embedded system and development tools for a development host computer. The development host computer usually is a standard desktop computer running Linux or Windows...

     embedded Linux
  • eCos
    ECos
    eCos is an open source, royalty-free, real-time operating system intended for embedded systems and applications which need only one process with multiple threads. It is designed to be customizable to precise application requirements of run-time performance and hardware needs...

  • RTEMS
    RTEMS
    RTEMS is a free open source real-time operating system designed for embedded systems....

  • BlueCat embedded Linux
    Linux
    Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

     from LynuxWorks
    LynuxWorks
    LynuxWorks, Inc. is a San Jose, California software company founded in 1988. LynuxWorks produces embedded operating systems and tools for using full virtualization and paravirtualization in embedded systems...

  • Operating System Embedded
    Operating System Embedded
    The Operating System Embedded is a real-time embedded operating system created by the Swedish information technology company ENEA AB. Bengt Eliasson, who at the time was a consultant from ENEA with an assignment at Ericsson, wrote the basic parts of the kernel...

     (OSE) from ENEA AB
    ENEA AB
    ENEA is global information technology company with its headquarters in Kista, Sweden that provides real-time operating systems and consulting services...

  • Integrity
    Integrity (operating system)
    INTEGRITY is a real-time operating system produced and marketed by Green Hills Software. It is royalty-free, POSIX-certified, and intended for use in embedded systems needing reliability, availability, and fault tolerance. It is built atop the velOSity microkernel and is intended mainly for modern...

  • Juniper Networks
    Juniper Networks
    Juniper Networks is an information technology and computer networking products multinational company, founded in 1996. It is head quartered in Sunnyvale, California, USA. The company designs and sells high-performance Internet Protocol network products and services...

    , JUNOS routers and switches OS

32-bit PowerPC

  • Altera
    Altera
    Altera Corporation is a Silicon Valley manufacturer of PLDs . The company offered its first programmable logic device in 1984. PLDs can be reprogrammed during the design cycle as well as in the field to perform multiple functions, and they support a fairly fast design process...

    , field-programmable gate array
    Field-programmable gate array
    A field-programmable gate array is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by the customer or designer after manufacturing—hence "field-programmable"...

     (FPGA) manufacturer
  • Apple ('A' in original AIM alliance
    AIM alliance
    The AIM alliance was an alliance formed on October 2, 1991, between Apple Inc. , IBM, and Motorola to create a new computing standard based on the PowerPC architecture. The stated goal of the alliance was to challenge the dominant Wintel computing platform with a new computer design and a...

    ), switched to Intel starting early 2006
  • Applied Micro Circuits Corporation
    Applied Micro Circuits Corporation
    Applied Micro Circuits Corporation is a fabless semiconductor company designing network and embedded Power Architecture , and server processor ARM , optical transport and storage solutions...

     (AMCC)
  • Avago Technologies
    Avago Technologies
    Avago Technologies is an American company which was earlier the semiconductor products division of HP and later Agilent Technologies, before being spun off into a distinct legal entity. It holds more than 5,000 patents.- Products:...

  • BAE Systems
    BAE Systems
    BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

     for RAD750
    RAD750
    The RAD750 is a radiation-hardened single board computer, based on IBM's PowerPC 750. The successor of the RAD6000, the RAD750 is manufactured by BAE Systems Electronic Solutions. It is intended for use in high radiation environments such as experienced on board satellites and spacecraft...

     processor, used in spacecraft and planetary landers
  • Cisco Systems
    Cisco Systems
    Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational corporation headquartered in San Jose, California, United States, that designs and sells consumer electronics, networking, voice, and communications technology and services. Cisco has more than 70,000 employees and annual revenue of US$...

     for routers
  • Culturecom for V-Dragon CPU
  • Exponential Technology
    Exponential Technology
    Exponential Technology was a vendor of PowerPC microprocessors. The company was founded by George Taylor and Jim Blomgren in 1993. The company's plan was to use BiCMOS technology to produce very fast processors for the Apple Computer market. Logic used 3-level ECL circuits while RAM structures...

  • Kumyoung used in karaoke
    Karaoke
    is a form of interactive entertainment or video game in which amateur singers sing along with recorded music using a microphone and public address system. The music is typically a well-known pop song minus the lead vocal. Lyrics are usually displayed on a video screen, along with a moving symbol,...

     player CPU (Muzen and Vivaus series)
  • LSI Logic
  • Motorola
    Motorola
    Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

     (now Freescale Semiconductor
    Freescale Semiconductor
    Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. is a producer and designer of embedded hardware, with 17 billion semiconductor chips in use around the world. The company focuses on the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets with its product portfolio including microprocessors, microcontrollers,...

    ), as part of the original AIM alliance
  • Rapport for Kilocore
    Kilocore
    Kilocore, from Rapport Inc. and IBM, is a high-performance, low-power multi-core microprocessor that has 1,025 cores. It contains a single PowerPC processing core, and 1,024 eight-bit Processing Elements running at 125 MHz each, which can be dynamically reconfigured, connected by a shared...

     1025 core CPU
  • Samsung
    Samsung
    The Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea...

  • STMicroelectronics
    STMicroelectronics
    STMicroelectronics is an Italian-French electronics and semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.While STMicroelectronics corporate headquarters and the headquarters for EMEA region are based in Geneva, the holding company, STMicroelectronics N.V. is registered in Amsterdam,...

     for the MPC55xx series
  • Xilinx
    Xilinx
    Xilinx, Inc. is a supplier of programmable logic devices. It is known for inventing the field programmable gate array and as the first semiconductor company with a fabless manufacturing model....

    , FPGA maker, embedded PowerPC in the Virtex-II Pro, Virtex-4, and Virtex-5 FPGAs

64-bit PowerPC

  • P.A. Semi
    P.A. Semi
    P. A. Semi was a fabless semiconductor company founded in Santa Clara, California in 2003 by Daniel W. Dobberpuhl who was the lead designer for the DEC Alpha 21064 and StrongARM processors...

  • Microsoft
    Microsoft
    Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

  • Hindustan Computers Ltd.
  • Sony
    Sony
    , commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

  • Freescale Semiconductor
    Freescale Semiconductor
    Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. is a producer and designer of embedded hardware, with 17 billion semiconductor chips in use around the world. The company focuses on the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets with its product portfolio including microprocessors, microcontrollers,...

  • Toshiba
    Toshiba
    is a multinational electronics and electrical equipment corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of electrical products, spanning information & communications equipment and systems, Internet-based solutions and services, electronic components and...


Gaming consoles


The architecture has recently dominated the Video game console
Video game console
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device to display a video game...

 market
  • Bandai
    Bandai
    is a Japanese toy making and video game company, as well as the producer of a large number of plastic model kits. It is the world's third-largest producer of toys . Some ex-Bandai group companies produce anime and tokusatsu programs...

     for its Bandai Pippin, designed by Apple Computer
    Apple Computer
    Apple Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad...

     (1995)
  • Microsoft
    Microsoft
    Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

    , for the Xbox 360
    Xbox 360
    The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

     processor, Xenon
    Xenon (processor)
    Xenon is a CPU that is used in the Xbox 360 game console. The processor, internally codenamed "Waternoose", which was named after Henry J. Waternoose III in Monsters Inc. by IBM and XCPU by Microsoft, is based on IBM's PowerPC instruction set architecture, consisting of three independent processor...

  • Nintendo
    Nintendo
    is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....

     for the GameCube, Wii
    Wii
    The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

     and Wii U processors
  • Sony
    Sony
    , commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

     and Toshiba
    Toshiba
    is a multinational electronics and electrical equipment corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of electrical products, spanning information & communications equipment and systems, Internet-based solutions and services, electronic components and...

    , for the Cell
    Cell microprocessor
    Cell is a microprocessor architecture jointly developed by Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment, Toshiba, and IBM, an alliance known as "STI". The architectural design and first implementation were carried out at the STI Design Center in Austin, Texas over a four-year period beginning March 2001 on a...

     processor (inside the PlayStation 3
    PlayStation 3
    The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

     and other devices)

See also

  • Common Hardware Reference Platform
    Common Hardware Reference Platform
    Common Hardware Reference Platform was a standard system architecture for PowerPC based computer systems published jointly by IBM and Apple in 1995. Like its predecessor PReP, it was conceptualized as a design to allow various operating systems to run on an industry standard hardware platform,...

     (CHRP)
  • List of PowerPC processors
  • Power Architecture
    Power Architecture
    Power Architecture is a broad term to describe similar RISC instruction sets for microprocessors developed and manufactured by such companies as IBM, Freescale, AMCC, Tundra and P.A. Semi...

  • Power Architecture Platform Reference
    Power Architecture Platform Reference
    Power Architecture Platform Reference is an initiative from Power.org to make a new open computing platform based on Power Architecture technology. It follows two previous attempts made in the 1990s, PReP and CHRP....

     (PAPR)
  • PowerOpen Environment
    PowerOpen Environment
    The PowerOpen Environment , created in 1991, is an open standard for running a Unix-based operating system on the PowerPC computer architecture.The POE contains API and ABI specifications...

  • PowerPC Reference Platform
    PowerPC Reference Platform
    PowerPC Reference Platform was a standard system architecture for PowerPC based computer systems developed at the same time as the PowerPC processor architecture...

     (PReP)
  • RTEMS
    RTEMS
    RTEMS is a free open source real-time operating system designed for embedded systems....

     real-time operating system
  • Vasm
    Vasm
    vasm is a free assembler supporting various CPUs and many different output formats.CPUs officially supported by vasm include M680x0 family, ColdFire family, 80x86 family, PowerPC, ARM family, Z80 family, C16x/ST10, 6502 etc. Vasm supports Standard MIT , Motorola/Freescale 68k and Old 8-bit style...

    , a free assembler

External links


  • PPC Overview - an overview of PowerPC processors
  • IBM, Apple, RISC, and the roots of the Power Mac
  • OS/2 Warp, PowerPC Edition review by Michal Necasek 2005
  • A developer's guide to the PowerPC architecture - From IBM Developerworks.
  • A history of chipmaking at IBM - From IBM Developerworks.
  • PowerPC images and descriptions at cpu-collection.de
  • Freescale - the creator of PowerPC CPUs PowerPC division.
  • PowerPC FAQ
  • PowerPC Architecture History Diagram
  • ACube Systems - The creator of Samantha
    Sam440
    Sam440, also known by Sam or its codename Samantha, is a line of modular motherboards produced by the Italian company ACube Systems Srl. The Sam440ep version is a Power Architecture motherboard based on the PowerPC 440EP system-on-a-chip processor which includes a double-precision FPU. It is made...

    , a PowerPC motherboard based on AMCC 440EP System-on-chip (SOC).
  • Genesi - The creator of EFIKA
    EFIKA
    Efika are a line of mobile computing Power Architecture and ARM architecture based computers manufactured by Genesi.In Esperanto efika means "efficacious, effective, or efficient".-Efika 5200B:...

    , Open Desktop Workstation
    Open Desktop Workstation
    The Open Desktop Workstation, also referred to as ODW is a PowerPC based computer, by San Antonio-based Genesi. The ODW has an interchangeable CPU card allowing for a wide range of Power Architecture based microprocessors from IBM and Freescale Semiconductor.It is a standardized version of the...

     (ODW), Open Server Workstation (OSW), and High Density Blade Server.
  • Virginia Tech - Supercomputers based on Apple PowerMac and Xserve.
  • XenPPC Xen Virtual Machine
    Virtual machine
    A virtual machine is a "completely isolated guest operating system installation within a normal host operating system". Modern virtual machines are implemented with either software emulation or hardware virtualization or both together.-VM Definitions:A virtual machine is a software...

    For PowerPC 970
  • MPC BDM at hardware-hacking.com - page about BDM (background debug mode) interface for PowerPC single-chip microcontrollers
  • Yellow Dog Linux - a PPC-only Linux distro