[rescue] Compaq Proliant 8000

Janet L. Campbell janet at foonly.com
Wed Apr 28 15:27:41 CDT 2004

On Wed, 28 Apr 2004, Jonathan C. Patschke wrote:

> On Wed, 28 Apr 2004, Dave McGuire wrote:
> >    My memory may be suffering from bit rot, but I never saw it marketed
> > as a general-purpose CPU.  It was generally touted as a "Cray on a
> > chip".

The Intel promo material I remember (circa 1991?) was touting it as a
high end general-purpose microprocessor.  The price per benchmarked MIP
and MFLOP was very good for the time.

Okidata made i860 workstations.  Alliant made a variety of parallel i860
systems, and I seem to remember Sony and Olivetti having short-lived
workstation lines as well.

> So, it has vector-registers, or does it just have really ballsy FP?

It was "kind of" vectorish.  There were pipelined fp load/add/multiply
primitives that could be used to allow vector ops to basically run at
memory speed.  Multiply/add could be stacked in some cases.  Intel had
highly optimized BLAS libraries that let you wring out most of this
performance if you could code for them, that's how they got their 
impressive benchmarks.

The i860 had some other interesting architectural twists.  There were no
divide instructions, you could emulate them by using frcp to get a
reciprocal (ala Cray).  32-bit int and fp instructions could be issued
simultaneously, but only every other cycle.

I think that they had basically given up on future development by 1993 and 
put all of their resources behind x86.


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