ISSCC 2008 Cell Processor Update

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CELL Processor: Three Years, Three Process Generations

IBM presented the first CELL processor, fabricated on 90 nm SOI process, at ISSCC 2005. At ISSCC 2007, IBM presented the same design fabricated on 65 nm SOI process. Then, in February 2008, IBM returned yet again to ISSCC to present the CELL processor fabricated on its 45 nm SOI process.

Highlights of the 45 nm CELL processor presentation are as follows:
  • No architectural or micro-architectural changes- same basic floorplan is retained from the 90 nm and 65 nm floorplans.
  • Quick shrink – choosing between smaller, faster or lower power – IBM opted for lower power.
  • The 45 nm CELL processor is designed to hit same frequency (3.2 GHz) as previous generations of CELL processors, but at much lower power levels.
  • Power consumption of the 45 nm CELL processor is less than forty-percent that of the 90 nm CELL processor – now less than 20 watts.
  • Process Scaling Much Less than Linear. The 45-nm-CELL processor has a die size of 115 mm2 on the 45 nm process.
  • No High-K gate-oxide or Metal-Gate electrode in the 45 nm SOI process used by the 45 nm CELL processor.

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