Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Jun 2005 12:27 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems There are increasing rumors that Alpha might be brought back to life. The Inq sets the big 'if' aside and explores the possiblities: "What if there really is a will to get Alpha back into the changed market? What sort of chip would it have to be to have that good chance of success, if any?"
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Alpha in a FPGA
by JJ on Thu 30th Jun 2005 13:46 UTC

When I 1st started to do FPGA cpu design, the Alpha was already quite dead, I seriously thought about coopting the ISA as a salute to good engineering, but then thought better of it, either Compaq,HP,Intel could sue me.

Still for those that want an Alpha at any price and any performance you could build just a prototype core for 64bit that would only run at 100Mips (2 cycle 32b datapath) but it would also only cost about $2 of FPGA resources. If you want more performance, you can scale that as many times as you'd want (upto a few times in a bigger FPGA) or get the design ASICed which could probably run at about 1GHz.

For memory interface I'd use RLDRAM to get the memory wall down to 2.5ns random access over the main memory so no data cache needed. The design would be 4 or 8 way threaded like the Niagara or Raza cores. Instead I used a simpler ISA and stay at 32b.

Still I think any outsider that touched this project would get burned. I live just a few streets from the Hudson team so thats too close for comfort.