Linked by SReilly on Thu 18th Feb 2010 22:37 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems OSNews recently linked to several articles on the two remaining big iron RISC based platforms still alive and kicking, something of great interest to myself both in a professional capacity and for personal reasons (I wouldn't be an avid OSNews reader and poster if I wasn't into non mainstream architectures).
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The one thing that IBM does that Intel and AMD dont'y do is that their chips are very heavily computer aided design. Their chips are modular and the components are easily put together to make various types of custom chips for IBM's customers.

That is probably a big reason why all the modern gaming systems use PowerPC in their design. IBM is able to crank out custom designs relatively quickly.


CPUs are fabulously expensive to create. Intel has 3-4 generations of CPU designs in their corporate pipeline at any given time.

As Intel releases their newest chip they are in the process of designing the manufacturing facilities for the next generation of chips. While they are designing the manufacture facilities they are also developing and testing the next-next generation designs out in their labs.

So that is why it seems like it takes so long for Intel or AMD to modify their chip designs when it turns out they were not competitive. Like the Pentium-4 and why it took so long for Intel to come out with a chip to put the hurt back on AMD...

It takes _years_ of work to get a new processor design out.

And what makes it worse is that as you create new and smaller processes you have to, basically, build all new production facilities. It's more cost-effective for Intel or AMD to build all-new manufacturing plant for new fab process then it is to try to retrofit or upgrade a older facility.

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