Skip to Main Content
The IBM POWER4 processor is a 174-million-transistor chip that runs at a clock frequency of greater than 1.3 GHz. It contains two microprocessor cores, high-speed buses, and an on-chip memory subsystem. The complexity and size of POWER4, together with its high operating frequency, presented a number of significant challenges for its multi-site design team. This paper describes the circuit and physical design of POWER4 and gives results that were achieved. Emphasis is placed on aspects of the design methodology, clock distribution, circuits, power, integration, and timing that enabled the design team to meet the project goals and to complete the design on schedule.
Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.