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Message-ID: <bnews.ucf-cs.863>
Newsgroups: net.micro,net.unix-wizards
Path: utzoo!decvax!duke!ucf-cs!tim
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From: ucf-cs!tim
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.
of Toronto.

     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-
replacement market."

     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.

                     High-End Application

     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
spokesman said.