Linked by Nicholas Blachford on Sun 10th Feb 2002 17:37 UTC
Editorial "This will end up being one of the world's worst investments, I'm afraid," - David House, former Intel chief of corporate strategy said in the early 1990s. I've been fasinated by microprocessors for years and have been following the Merced debacle since back in 1994 when HP and Intel announced they were getting together to make some amazing new technology.
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System speed != CPU speed
by Jurgen Defurne on Mon 11th Feb 2002 14:19 UTC

How long will it take before the notion settles (known for years by computer scientists/engineers) that the Mhz of your CPU plays only a partial role in the speed of a system.
Yes, Sun has the lead even with slower CPU's, because they know how to optimise ALL their IO and balance it with the CPU speed.

I have worked for almost two years on a system which had a 33 MHz CPU and 16Mb of RAM, yet it served 20 people with a relational database of 4Gb with reasonable response times. I am talking MINICOMPUTER here. The reason why this system could do that, was that all IO was handled by separate IO processors, instead of the main processor. If the PC architecture would allow something like that, it would provide additional power at much lower MHz rates.

The only reason that Intel tries to stay ahead of the pack with increasing complexity is that they want to sell CPU's and cut off competitors. They want to make it possible to use their CPU's for every function on the PC. When did Intel think about multi-media extensions ? Philips had proposed an architecture for a special multi-media processor to provide audio- and video capabilities besides the CPU in the PC architecture. Intel did not want that, so they introduced MMX. Philips' idea died a very rapid death.

Yet, offloading IO tasks to specialised processors or spicifically programmed IO processors takes a whole burden from the central processor, allowing it to run the OS more efficient.