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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@dan
by nimble on Fri 1st Jul 2005 08:40 UTC

so what is the best design intel could have gone with if not vliw/epic?

Considering Itanium was Intel's third (!) attempt to escape the original stop-gap measure that was the x86 architecture, you've got to suspect that nothing that couldn't execute existing x86 instructions as fast as existing processors would have had a chance.

While x86 is ugly and legacy-laden, it's not bad enough that you can get such big improvements that the market will simply abandon it.

What could Intel have done? Something more like AMD64, obviously. Except the 64-bit instruction set didn't have to be yet another extension of the existing one.

E.g. it could have been a clean and compact RISC design like ARM Thumb-2. In compatibility mode a frontend could have translated IA32 instructions into those, which is basically what Pentiums and Athlons do anyway. Itanium tried the same idea, but was hampered by its lack of out-of-order execution.