Buick Regal Boasts Industry's Fastest Processor

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
buick regal boasts industry s fastest processor

A GM press release subtitled Engine Control Module Reliably Performs 125 Million Operations a Second reveals that

A 32-bit embedded processor with three megabytes of integrated flash memory gives the 2011 Buick Regal’s Ecotec 2.0L engine microcontroller the quickest throughput, or processing power, in the automotive industry.

For the Regal driver, this means more precise fuel delivery for the best-possible fuel economy, emissions and performance.

Our question: why can’t this processor work in Chevy’s truck marketing?

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7 of 21 comments
  • Blowfish Blowfish on Nov 12, 2010

    Only helps if it can yield 40 mpg or pump out 400hp, other than that even if it can sample the sensors 1 millionths times per sec is not going to change 1 iota. Mind as well change the cpu for u every 6 mths like Intel,Celeron does so your car can run smoother.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Nov 13, 2010

    What else can Buick brag about, having been upstaged by Hyundai in the turbo-four sedan arena? That thing got an Intel?

    • Dastanley Dastanley on Nov 13, 2010

      Not to mention that GM may have unwittingly started a "computer war" with Hyundai, or some other that could easily beat them in that arena if they wanted to. GM: "We get our fastest processors from the cheapest supplier. Hope we don't need to recall them in 4 years."

  • AaronH AaronH on Nov 13, 2010

    But the big question is - can it get more than 30 FPS in Crysis? It is probably cheaper to use the new processor since the 16-bit CPUs are WAYYYY obsolete...Like it is cheaper to buy a 3.5" floppy drive than a lower-capacity 5.25" drive.

    • Peter Aiello Peter Aiello on Nov 14, 2010

      AaronH: Your dating yourself. Floppy Drives? lol. I haven't used a floppy drive since 2000 at the latest!

  • Lexingtonian Lexingtonian on Nov 14, 2010

    Marketing this is stupid on many levels. First, 125 million operations per second is, in the realm of processors in general, slug-like. While there are specific engineering concerns for the microcontroller on an ECU (e.g., heat dissipation) that largely invalidate the comparison, it invites the comparison to desktop processors which handle literally billions of operations per second. Second, as a stat, it's fairly useless and trivial to game. They advertise this, the next car from any manufacturer suddenly comes out with a faster processor that shows up in their advertising, since none of the car manufacturers are actually designing or fabricating their chips, to make GM look like idiots all they have to do is tell their supplier to give them the next chip up. And I could get in to the fact that they're emitting a press release about technology that they don't have anything to do with the development. And that the technology isn't driven by the auto industry anyway. And that even still it's largely a side effect of other processor development anyway. So it amounts to GM saying "We paid a couple dollars more for a better piece of silicon. Buy our cars!".

    • Bonneville2000 (of GM) Bonneville2000 (of GM) on Nov 15, 2010

      Lexingtonian, I also initially thought it unbelieveably slow (128 MHz and 3MB, c'mon) and not worthy of a release (not marketing or advertising)but then I started looking into it and thought it very interesting, maybe I'm wrong and maybe it could have been written better or from another angle. Consider....we know processors make a lot of heat. They are usually well ventilated and have fan cooling and live live in nice, perfect summer-like weather. Now think about your engine controller (the release and information only applies to engine controllers vs. the many other controllers on a modern car) and what it has to live in. Remember, the unit is sealed. Think if you sealed up your CPU. How long it would live? Then think about putting your laptop in your freezer at twice the depth of temp and pressing the start button. Considering this I thought it amazing what this processor did and lives through and in the meantime found out it is state-of-the art in the auto industry therefore thought it worthy of a little more attention. Just something think about. fyi - check out this short video on the topic if you have the chance (go to lower right of page) http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news/news_detail.brand_buick.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2010/Nov/1109_buick Also, as far as GM having nothing to do with controller development - while suppliers are important a little known fact is that GM still has hundreds of people involved directly in controller development. This in-house expertise helps speed development and execution. Thanks Tom R., GM