Date: Sun Feb 13 05:59:40 1983
Subject: NS16032 best micro for UNIX?
Posted: Sat Feb 12 11:46:49 1983
Received: Sun Feb 13 05:59:40 1983
This is copied from Electronic Engineering Times Monday,
Jan. 31, 1983. Written by R. Colin Johnson
Expert Says NS16000 Is Best Unix micro-P
SAN DIEGO - A Unix consulting firm has hailed National
Semiconductor's 16000 family of 16/32-bit microprocessors as
having the best chip-level architecture for the support of
the Unix operating system.
Yates Ventures, a Unix consulting research group from
Los Altos, Ca., is currently readying a report that endorses
the 16000 for Unix.
Jean Yates, president of Yates Ventures, said: "The
16032 is the best microprocessor available today to support
a Unix product." Her opinion will be quantified in the
upcoming report, which compares the 16032 with its competi-
tors: Intel's 8086, Motorola's 68000 and Zilog's Z8000.
Last week at the Unicom show here, National demon-
strated an implementation of Unix on the 16000. The imple-
mentation was carried out by Human Computing Resources Corp.
National is now accepting volume orders for its 16032
microprocessor, widely acclaimed by computer scientists as
having an excellent architecture for high-level languages,
but thought by some marketing people as being too late to
capture a significant market share.
Yates said it is not too late. "There are two markets
for these microprocessors: the low-end single-user worksta-
tion market, and the high-end multi-user minicomputer-
In the Unix context, there are a plethora of machines
appearing using the 68000. Yates contended, however, that
machines for "high-end aplications are treading water with
the 68000, and are really waiting for a high-end machine
like the 16032."
Mesa On the Way
Users will get a chance to test Yates' contentions next
quarter when National introduces its first system-level Unix
box, code-named Mesa, employing the 16032 along with the
16082 memory management unit. Mesa will support a full 32-
bit virtual-memory space, with the MMU swapping information
to and from real memory in a manner transparent to the pro-
grammer. Mesa will be an eight-user timesharing system and
will hold a socket for National's upcoming 16081 floating-
point processor to be sampled next month.
Though National hasn't won any design contracts with
large accounts, a spokesman said, "We are getting close and
will have at least one major account signed very soon."
Yates said, "There is currently an open window for
16032 designs, especially since Intel has lost Bob Beck of
the 286 team," referring to the mass defection from Intel's
Portland operation, which included Beck, to form a Unix sys-
tems house using Intel's parts.
"Motorola," Yates claimed, "has not made the proper
moves toward software support," and cited what she called
its unresponsiveness to negative critisisms of its "unreal-
istic" goals for internal software development projects.
One high-end application being specifically addressed
by National is fault-tolerant transaction processing. The
upcoming 32032 has, in addition to a 32-bit external data
bus, circuitry to support a parallel co-processor. Thus,
two 32032s can run in parallel, on alternating memory
cycles, comparing results for the detection of soft errors.
The 32032 will be about 1.8 times faster than the 16032
and will be sampled in the third quarter. "If all goes
well, we will be the firest microprocessor manufacturer to
have full-fledged 32-bit microprocessors," a National