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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Re: X86
by JJ on Thu 30th Jun 2005 15:32 UTC

I think if you had some cpu design exp and a budget to design a clean slate cpu today in light of todays silicon and memory performance and without the boondoggle of having to support all the MS SW, nobody in their right mind would choose to make it look anything like an x86.

Now the Linux/Nix/BSD/embedded markets are far less of a problem and have proved to be mostly agnostic and in fact the embedded market alone is far larger than the PC desktop market for cpu nos but not for $ or high performance.

The design of the x86 makes it almost impossible to move forward. The future direction is threaded architectures to reduce the memory wall effect ie 100s (going to many 100s) of cyles of waste can be reduced 4 or 8 ways to something more manageable. And there is a DRAM technology that can reduce latencies down to 20ns rather than 100ns usually found in DDR but it requires the cpu be 8 way threaded to get best out of that (RLDRAM from Micron).