[rescue] i860 Success

Francisco Javier Mesa-Martinez lefa at ucsc.edu
Mon May 3 00:50:50 CDT 2004

On Sun, 2 May 2004, Peter Wargo wrote:

> On May 2, 2004, at 11:13 PM, Francisco Javier Mesa-Martinez wrote:
> > Actually EV7 is not such a hot design, I would not call it late '80's
> > though. It was a neat architecture, but it just has not benefited from
> > any
> > process technology updates in ages.
> Your point would be??

Jeez maybe you actually think that a block diagram will compute things. A
neat architecture w/o a modern process behind it = crust. Whether you like
it or not. A processor relies on its transistors to do its stuff, if those
transistors are 3 generations behind the curve, then it doesn't matter how
neat the architecture is... you just will not be competitive. Whether we
like it or not that is the reality of the semiconductor business.
Architecrure alone does not compute, as process alone doesn't either. It
is a balance of the two that makes a competitive product, when one of
those factors is in serious lack of competitiveness, it doesn't matter how
much the other factor tries to make up for it. Intel's x86 is the other
extreme, crappy architecture with a fantastic process behind it.

> The AXP design is *still* way ahead of any of the total crap
> that Intel is producing.

Rather than going with emotional responses, there is the matter of
reality. I do not like the x86, but there is no denying that both Intel
and AMD have managed to keep the architecture competitive. The price
performance ratio that they get out of their chips is what has kept them
ahead, as much as I loathe the architecture and pity the fools that have
to work with it.

> Newer does not always mean better.  Luckily, most people seem to think
> that *is* the case, allowing me to get some fantastic kit at unreal
> prices. :-)

The problem is that a new alpha has a very hard time trying to be
justified with respect to newer x86 and even itanic offerings. I love the
architecture don't get me wrong, but DEC/Compaq/HP has made everything
possible to get people away from it, that is the reality of the architecture.

But if an alpha is the best tool for your job, by all means deploy it. On
the good side of things one can get very neat Alpha systems for close to

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