From: Kurt Garloff <K Garloff ping de>
To: AXP List <axp-list redhat com>
Subject: [OFFTOPIC] 21264 and future of RISCs
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 10:08:39 +0200

Hi, this is offtopic, but I thought it might interest a lot of people, so
I send a few lines.

In the recent issue of the german computer mag, c't, is an article about the
21264. There's a detailed technical description of the architecture and and
explanation why it's powerful.
According to the article, EV67-800 (4Q/98, 0.28\mu) will have about 50/75
SPECint95/fp95 resp.
However, when intel will release it's IA64 (Merced) in mid-2000
(optimistically), their CPU is likely to score 40-50/75 (0.18\mu).
Alpha by this time will have EV7-1200 (0.18\mu) with 90/135 which is almost
the double.

According to the article, other RISCs will disappear.
SGI (Rx0000) switches to IA64, Sun (SPARC) switches to IA64, HP of course
(they are part of the IA64 project).
Only IBM wants to make Power3, which will be some sort of unification
between PowerPC and the Power processors for AS/400,RS/6000. This one is to
be released by the end of the year (SPECs:>30/>70).

So, if I don't miss anything, there will be just three major RISC
It's a little bit strange to see, that Digital are 2 years, IBM 1.5 years
ahead of intel (HP, SGI and Sun also were ahead), but everybody switches to
IA64. (There will be a couple of Unices for IA64, at least Sun's Solaris, and
HP-UX. SGI seems to go NT.)
It seems that it's getting harder and harder to make money with CPUs.
(Think of Cray.)

I hope, that at least Digital and IBM will survive the intel attack and that
Linux will support all of these three platforms. I don't know, if IBM is
cooperative, but at least, we know, Digital used to support Linux. I hope
this won't change with Compaq.

Have a nice day ...
--
Kurt Garloff, Dortmund
<K.Garloff@ping.de>
PGP key on http://student.physik.uni-dortmund.de/homepages/garloff


From: "Jon 'maddog' Hall, USG Senior Leader" <hall zk3 dec com>
To: axp-list redhat com
Cc: hall zk3 dec com
Subject: Re: [OFFTOPIC] 21264 and future of RISCs
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 98 10:39:40 -0400

K.Garloff@ping.de said:
> So, if I don't miss anything, there will be just three major RISC
> architectures left. Think about it.... It's a little bit strange to
> see, that Digital are 2 years, IBM 1.5 years ahead of intel (HP, SGI
> and Sun also were ahead), but everybody switches to IA64. (There will
> be a couple of Unices for IA64, at least Sun's Solaris, and HP-UX.
> SGI seems to go NT.)

First of all, I am not completely disagreeing with you, but
like a lot of things, CPU markets are not simple.

While the Alpha platform has been in the spotlight for Digital for the past
nine years (yes, it has been nine years inside Digital), we still make VAXes
for those who need them.  There are companies that are still making PDP-11
out of production (there were a couple of companies making one-chip PDP-8
emulators).

Remember Zilog?  Of Z80 fame?  The chip that was in the Osborne and a lot of
other CP/M systems?  Still alive and well.  See

http://www.zilog.com/frames/fz80_180micro.html

I can not speak for Sun, but I strongly doubt that they will drop the SPARC
as soon as Merced hits the streets.

I think that people missed the fact that SGI will still use MIPS chips in their
high-end servers, and that MIPS was going to generate lots of chips for
lower-end and embedded systems.

>It seems that it's getting harder and harder to make money with CPUs. (Think
>of Cray.)

I will not disagree that it is getting harder and harder to make money with
CPUs.  FAB plants have gone from the expensive to the ridiculous....but
so is the market for CPUs growing at a rate that is more than remarkable.
Companies have switched strategies and taken on strange bedfellows.

Cray had a completely different market, and was undercut by the drop in
the supercomputer market.

> I hope, that at least Digital and IBM will survive the intel attack
> and that Linux will support all of these three platforms. I don't
> know, if IBM is cooperative, but at least, we know, Digital used to
> support Linux. I hope this won't change with Compaq.

Ahem, Digital STILL supports Linux, even though we have changed our name to
Compaq.  Keep the faith.

Warmest regards,

md
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