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Imagination Technology Buys MIPS

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the gotta-catch-em-all dept.

Businesses 56

New submitter HalWasRight writes "After years of struggle, MIPS Technologies — the original RISC processor company — is being sold to Imagination Technologies, best known for its popular mobile GPUs. Part of the deal included MIPS divesting much of its non-processor related patents to a group that includes ARM. This deal could change the landscape in the battle for mobile sockets." MIPS press release, Imagination press release.

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So they were still alive? (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year and a half ago | (#41907755)

I thought MIPS was dead. And looking back a lot of architectures has been running out of steam. Motorola 68000, PA-Risc, Digital Alpha to name a few...

Right now there are only three or four architectures that delivers some punch, x86, ARM, Sparc and Itanium. But the last is only alive due to HP and Sparc is kept alive by Oracle so far.

PowerPC (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41907807)

True, the PlayStation Vita switched from the PSP's MIPS to a quad-core ARM, though it still uses an Imagination Technologies GPU. But PowerPC is being kept alive by all three major video game console makers.

Re:PowerPC (2)

Joehonkie (665142) | about a year and a half ago | (#41908229)

A lot of people still have Power-based IBM workstations and servers, too. AIX is still alive and...sort of...well on them.

Re:PowerPC (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41908521)

Is that an Iris in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me? :-)

Re:PowerPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41908247)

Plus a large number of carrier grade routers from the large brands, plus a number of miscellaneous fields like automotive applications - where things are done in massive volume.

Re:PowerPC (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41908363)

Think broader than PowerPC. If you include the entire Power architecture (PowerPC, Cell and POWER), you have a huge market, mostly through POWER. POWER is the dominant architecture in big iron. Keep in mind SPARC and Itanium are only picking up the odd discarded breadcrumbs from POWER and they're still (barely) managing to stay in the game. The POWER market is absolutely essential. Basically any task you have that can't be easily distributed over a couple hundred puny x86 stations, POWER is the first place you look.

Which POWER? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913521)

Ain't Cell, or whatever POWER CPUs are there in Playstation3s, Wiis and X-Box360s - wouldn't they easily outnumber the CPUs that are there in all the RS/6000s out there in the world?

Re:PowerPC (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about a year and a half ago | (#41911125)

PowerPC is also being kept alive in the automotive industry [wikipedia.org]

Re:So they were still alive? (4, Interesting)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year and a half ago | (#41907863)

The Chinese are actively developing and manufacturing MIPS processors, it's what they use in many of their supercomputing clusters. I got myself one of the new 4-core Loongson [wikipedia.org] laptops, so it's definitely alive and well.

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year and a half ago | (#41912893)

How about posting a detailed review of that laptop with pics?

It would be MUCH more interesting than most recent Slashdot articles!

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#41916221)

The Lemote Yeedongs are based on Loongson - that incidentally is RMS's choice of a laptop. Great choice, if all you run is emacs.

Re:So they were still alive? (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year and a half ago | (#41916723)

I'm not going to write a review, at least for now. The first reason being, of course, laziness :-j However, I don't think a review at this point would make any justice.

It is, in some ways, an unfinished product. The stock distro fails to take full advantage of the hardware, IMHO, and doing the same with a custom distro is tricky because of some driver issues. Drivers are, in fact, on their way, so a review after a few months would make much more sense. Unfortunately, the machine will feel a little outdated by then. Also, mine has a few hardware glitches, and I'm waiting for a warranty replacement that could take ages...

Which brings me to the other point of availability. I was told there are only few of these machines in Europe, as the first production run is sold out. I hope they can fix the initial glitches by the second run, but it does not look like it's going to be too soon. The first batch was late enough already.

Nevertheless, here [iki.fi] are some of my initial experiences, answering many of the issues you might expect from a review.

Re:So they were still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41907871)

MIPS is what powered the PlayStation 2, and a good chunk of the low end tablets and smart phones of ASIA.

And don't for get imbedded system, MIPS is popular in this world do to its no-nonsense / clean design that's easy to do low level programing on.

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41909451)

Correct. Some of the Chinese Android tablets use MIPS. I saw a cheap one but did not buy since I was not sure how much of the Android market applications would work on it.

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41910765)

It could have been the fault of the hacks who hacked together the image; but my one experience with a MIPS based Android tablet was... dire.

I didn't even get far enough to learn what Android market applications didn't work on it, since most of the default Android applications would crash if you tried to do anything serious with them(and by 'serious' I mean "load google.com with the Android browser", that sort of strenuous work).

I have no reason to assume that MIPS is fundamentally incapable of running Android properly(ARM is clearly Android's favorite child; but the x86 builds work fine and the fact that it isn't based on a 'real' JVM means that some ARM-only like Jazelle isn't an issue); but the state of Android-on-MIPS in the wild is pretty unpleasant. Google hasn't targeted the platform, so no love there, none of the MIPS licensees have nearly the sort of war chest(and sense of urgency) that Intel brought to their x86 work, and the "Chinese anony-tablets so cheap that they couldn't afford an Allwinner A10" market does not attract quality firmware engineers...

Re:So they were still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41912473)

Too bad about Android but I know that some of the generic TV set top players are definitely using MIPS. I remember hearing a quote that MIPS based CPUs capable of playing h.264 have dropped to under $20.

See http://www.onlybestrated.com/multimedia-centers-c-24.html

Re:So they were still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41916701)

Uh, $20 for a CPU is about in Intel space what concerns cost, far above ARM costs.

Re:So they were still alive? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41910117)

Your command of written English sucks.

Re:So they were still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41908295)

MIPS is still used quite a bit in the embedded space.

Eg., APs, ethernet switches, etc. often use MIPS.

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#41916241)

Yeah, networking equipment, such as routers, and set top boxes often use MIPS. The CPU has unfortunately lost the game console market to POWER based CPUs (which are definitely worthy). Set top boxes should be adequate to keep MIPS going, if not growing, for a while.

I have read about some Android tablets being based on the XBurst, but have no idea about how they actually run.

Re:So they were still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41908431)

MIPS was big in set-top boxes and the company I worked for picked it up for an embedded product ~8 years ago over my ARM proposals. It was all between different ARM options for a recent redesign, nobody mentioned MIPS. More reference designs, more competition, more software/drivers ported to ARM. So yeah, the game seems to be pretty much over for MIPS, at least in the area I am familiar with.

Re:So they were still alive? (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41909529)

Right now there are only three or four architectures that delivers some punch, x86, ARM, Sparc and Itanium. But the last is only alive due to HP and Sparc is kept alive by Oracle so far.

Among those you missed are Power / PowerPC and
MIPS.

MIPS is very-much alive, thanks to China. They're actively developing home-grown MIPS CPUs, and paying license fees to MIPS as well. MIPS CPUs have always had higher DMIPS/MHz than ARM CPUs, and generally compete with PowerPC in the embedded space for anything needing a good bit of performance.

Cheap MIPS chips in China mean lots of inexpensive products are coming out with MIPS CPUs in them, such as the Alpha 400 and the Novo7

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=ALPHA-400 [geeks.com]

http://www.mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/12/06/0359235/sub-100-android-40-tablet-coming-soon [slashdot.org]

POWER will be around for a good long time... IBM isn't willing to let their own platform and cash-cow go away, and they've sunk enough money into it to keep it highly competitive. PowerPC will likely be around a good long time as well... Freescale has quite a focus on their PowerPC chips, and their performance is damn respectable.

SPARC has a bigger customer base than Oracle. Hitachi will probably keep making them no matter what. They've made supercomputers out of them, and they can scale down to embedded applications quite easily.

Itanium is an interesting case... Everybody but HP who jumped onto Intel's 64-bit CPU has died a painful death (see: SGI). Their proprietary systems all require Itanium CPUs, with no sign of HP-UX, Tru64, OpenVMS, etc., being ported to any other architecture. This even though Intel deperately wants to kill off the architecture. HP has killed off all their proprietary CPU lines, and ported their software to Itantium with immense effort, so I don't see where they can go from here. ARM sure doesn't have the horsepower for high-end servers, and switching to x64 would eat their proprietary hardware margins, and probably make them a joke... SPARC and POWER seem like the only possible options, sort of resurrecting DEC's Alpha CPUs. It would be incredibly ironic.

SPARC and Itanium (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#41916383)

Commenting on SPARC and Itanium...

There was a time when SPARC was popular way beyond just Sun Unixstations. They were used in some networking gear (mainly from Sun), and even in a laptop from Tadpole. Also, there were some other companies that made SPARCstations - Integrix and Tatung, and companies that made SPARCS other than Fujitsu or Sun - Ross Technologies. Not sure what they do now. But Suns would have been a great platform for Linux - a pity that Oracle didn't deem it fit to offer Oracle Linux as an option on their SPARCservers. Also, had Oracle followed Sun's philosophy of selling the hardware and making the software free (as in beer), they could have offered their customers various options on the SPARCservers - Solaris itself, Oracle Linux, Debian Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD, depending on the applications.

Incidentally, it's not Hitachi, but Fujitsu you were probably thinking about, w/ their SPARC64. They are the ones who've made the K supercomputer, so the SPARC is de facto increasingly a Fujitsu platform. Hitachi was one of the vendors that used PA-RISC in the past - not sure what they did since, whether they went Itanium, or something else.

Speaking of Itanium, it never made sense to port any of the old OS platforms to it. Talking first about the non-Unix OSs, OVMS should have remained on the Alpha, and the 2 should have been retired together - just like Irix did w/ the MIPS based SGIs (once SGI switched to Itanium, they also switched to Linux, and didn't bother to port Irix there). Same goes w/ NonStop and MIPS based Himalaya servers. Issue an EOL notification, maybe open up to just those existing customers the source code of all those platforms, do a final support for as long as the customer needs, and during that time, give the customer the option to hire their own in-house staff to maintain them as long as they survive. Moving OVMS and NonStop to Itanium - any customer would have to be pretty stupid to go for that proposition.

On the Unix side of things, a lot of parallel Unix projects had started, and died - such as SCO's Monterrey. It made no sense to port every other Unix to the platform: in fact, the Itanium was the perfect platform to launch a single Unix on (or maybe 2 or 3, to satisfy the closed source, open sourced and liberated software factions). In other words, something like an HP/UX or Unixware or OSF/1 could have been the standard Unix for the platform, FreeBSD could have been the standard bearer for open source, and Linux could have been the standard bearer for GPL.

Incidentally, given that in VLIW, and even in EPIC architectures, compatibility b/w different generations is deliberately broken since all the work is tossed to compilers, this is the ideal CPU for the FSF and advocates of liberated software, such as RMS. Right now, you have them advocating open drivers for GPUs, but w/ something like a VLIW, it would be a dream come true for them, since every time, for every generation and implementation, software would have to be recompiled. As a result, the source code would have to be made available. Make VLIW based GPUs, and the drivers would have to be Open Sourced. This would be the perfect platform for HURD.

In reality, since Itanium I & II bombed, nobody has to bother about their compatibility while coming out w/ Itanium III versions of their software. But I think that this would be the last, and if it continues, then from there, any enhancements would be done by simply adding more cores. Indeed, both VLIW and RISC lost their advantages over CISC the day multithreaded applications became popular, since vendors could simply throw more cores at the problem. By doing this, Itanium could lose the one major dealbreaking shortcoming that it has - inherent incompatibility b/w generations of CPUs.

Re:SPARC and Itanium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41916749)

Uh, code that runs on GPUs already comes with source for the GPU part of the code, always. GPU manufacturers want to be able to switch their internal architecture however they want. However that has nothing at all to do with OpenSource drivers.

Re:SPARC and Itanium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41918927)

Please explain

Re:SPARC and Itanium (1)

evilviper (135110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41920331)

Suns would have been a great platform for Linux - a pity that Oracle didn't deem it fit to offer Oracle Linux as an option on their SPARCservers.

It's fortunate that they did not... Linux thrives on commodity hardware, so x64 is the better option all-around. But back before x64 caught on, they might have gotten some traction.

Incidentally, it's not Hitachi, but Fujitsu you were probably thinking about, w/ their SPARC64

Thanks for the correction. Guess I had hard drives on the brain...

OVMS should have remained on the Alpha, and the 2 should have been retired together

The fact that HP saw fit to port OpenVMS to Itanium just demonstrates what a strong following it has. They wouldn't have ported it if they didn't make a lot of money on it. Certainly, recompiling your apps for a different CPU, on the same OS, is vastly easier than rewriting it for a whole new platform. OpenVMS is about the only microkernel OS out there, with incredible stability as a by-product, and some companies are willing to pay obscene amounts of money for that.

Moving OVMS and NonStop to Itanium - any customer would have to be pretty stupid to go for that proposition.

NonStop is also still a very high-availability platform, and customers that need it are willing to pay for it. x64 hardware doesn't have a fraction the RAS features that Itanium and other proprietary platforms do, though it looks like Intel is going to (slowly) take things in that direction.

If you've got another suggestion for other *ridiculously* high-availability hardware, I'm all ears...

just like Irix did w/ the MIPS based SGIs (once SGI switched to Itanium, they also switched to Linux, and didn't bother to port Irix there).

SGI crashed and burned in a hurry. Whatever they were doing, it isn't a model anyone else should follow. Perhaps it's just because they were more of a graphics and workstations company, and didn't have the decades of order processing apps other, more transaction-oriented, systems did.

Re:SPARC and Itanium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41924905)

GP here, but posting from work

Since Linux has been ported to the widest range of hardware, it being popular on Sun Unixstations and servers wouldn't have hurt it on the x64s.

On OpenVMS and NonStop, the mistake that HP, or more precisely, Compaq made, was to kill the AlphaServers and Himalayas. They could have ended Tru64, but kept OVMS. There was no justification in moving it to a new platform like Itanium, that had no advantage over Alpha. Same w/ NonStop - they could have just continued Tandem's Himalaya line. Essentially, what I was arguing was that OVMS and NonStop, being legacy OSs, should not have been moved to a new platform, but kept alive for just legacy business.

SGI may have made its mistakes, but one thing they did right was not try and port Irix to x86, Itanium or anything else. Once they moved from MIPS V to Itanium, they also moved from Irix to RHEL. That's the right thing they should have done. In the case of Compaq, since they had non-Unix OSs, they should have just kept their platforms alive for just the legacy customers, doing an EOL when required and migrating the entire thing to support staff at the client sites

Re:SPARC and Itanium (1)

evilviper (135110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41926277)

I still maintain that OpenVMS and NonStop have a lot of life left in them, with no sign of any platform coming along to replace it. And I also believe that running the same OS on a new architecture and only needing to recompile your in-house applications is vastly easier than throwing away decades of work and rewriting everything for an entirely different OS, and Linux (or any other common OS you can name) is in no way even remotely a workable substitute for OpenVMS or NonStop.

I always thought it was a mistake to discontinue Alpha, and embrace Itanium, but that's a decision that is long past and not worth discussing anymore. HP isn't going to throw out their high-paying customers, and Intel doesn't want to continue making Itanium CPUs, so either OpenVMS and NonStop are going to be ported to yet another platform, or HP would have to, with great effort, resurrect the proprietary architectures they previously killed off. They clearly don't have anything lined-up to replace them.

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year and a half ago | (#41910603)

I thought MIPS was dead.

You see them (or probably don't see them) mostly in embedded processors: network gear, printers etc., although ARM seem to be cutting into that market recently.

MIPS business model (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#41916449)

Also, do MIPS have their own fabs, or do they just design, or just license their designs? I mean, they were a part of SGI at one time before being spun back off, so what has their business model been?

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41912907)

I remember reading that some instructions on the 68000 like SUB or XOR were actually faster than CLR. The other companies were mashed up when Microsoft announced around the mid 1990's that "UNIX was legacy and Windows NT is the future". The manufacturers caved into the hype, brought out Windows boxes, and reduced themselves to what were the industry called "box packagers" who just took components, slapped them together, and bundled in an OS, then shipped the box. HP, DEC, Digital ended up just competing against Dell.

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913567)

Along with the other examples so far, MIPS was the architecture of choice for the supercomputer company SiCortex, which I was very sad to see go.

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913573)

MIPS had been licensing its architectures rather than building their own, much like ARM. And also like ARM they had a 16-bit instruction set variant.

68000 is still around in the form of Coldfire system-on-chips from Freescale.

There's more to the world of CPUs than PCs and high end workstations.

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#41916217)

Companies that previously used to manufacture MIPS CPUS - companies like IDT/Quantum Devices, NEC, et al - don't they still manufacture them? Also, who used to manufacture CPUs for SGI - the MIPS IV and V lines of CPUs?

Re:So they were still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41917657)

Are you talking just desktops? Because Motorola 68k and Power are far from dead in the embedded space, servers, game consoles...

http://www.jameco.com/1/3/freescale-semiconductor-motorola-68000-series
http://www.digikey.com/catalog/en/partgroup/mpc5xx/20661
http://au.element14.com/freescale-semiconductor/mpc5554mvr132/mpu-32bit-powerpc-2m-flash-416pbga/dp/1579886
http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=MPC7447A

That's from about 30 seconds of searching, and just for Freescale products. Think about Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo consoles, IBM and Momentum servers, etc.

Fitting captcha: stealthy

Re:So they were still alive? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41943347)

Even POWER has more units than Itanium. All present generation consoles (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo), IBM servers, etc.

Sad, really (3, Insightful)

mog007 (677810) | about a year and a half ago | (#41907759)

Of all the assembly languages I learned in college, MIPS was by far the best design.

Virtually any assembly is better than x86 (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41907877)

Which has turned into a complete dogs dinner in the last couple of decades first with the FPU stack based instructions being glued to a register based architecture then all the endless psuedo parallel long word instruction sets intel have thrown at their cpus like confetti. Its long been said that compilers make a better job of generating assembler than a human, but these days I doubt if a human could even grok the entire x86 instruction set to start with. I gave up long ago.

Re:Virtually any assembly is better than x86 (1, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year and a half ago | (#41908113)

Thanks, I didn't realize that the MIPS architecture used the x86 instruction set.

Re:Virtually any assembly is better than x86 (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year and a half ago | (#41908133)

Might have missed the comment title, there.

Re:Virtually any assembly is better than x86 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41908157)

Thanks, I didn't realize that the MIPS architecture used the x86 instruction set.

It doesn't. He made that classic mistake of starting his comment in the title - which is annoying. Read his title as part of the comment and then what he says makes more sense.

Re:Virtually any assembly is better than x86 (2)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913233)

That was the original battle of CISC vs. RISC in the 1990's. CPU designers did a survey of how often every instruction was referenced by various compiler writers. Most of the time it was move, arithmetic, function call and conditional branching instructions, with the more complex ones used very rarely if at all.

And it was just as efficient doing floating-point in software as it was implementing custom instructions, simply because it wasn't possible to get all the transistors onto a single chip. They had to be placed on separate chips (80287/80387, TMS34082, 68881/68882). TMS340x0 chips allowed for multiple FPU's that could be addressed separately, while the DSP designers who opted for combined add/multiply instructions and data streaming. Cray had the streaming vector processors that could be pipelined into each other.

Re:Sad, really (1)

Mente (219525) | about a year and a half ago | (#41907975)

Nothing like writing MIPS assembly on an SGI using XSPIM

ARM is good too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41909171)

It is unfortunate that IBM had to make PowerPC so complicated, since they were designing from scratch. I am glad the other, complicated ISAs are going away.

Re:ARM is good too (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#41916459)

They weren't designing from scratch - compatibility w/ POWER1 was already one of the requirements. We had the PPC601 as the CPU around which we designed a breadboarded system in our Computer System Design class. I recall the PPC601 manual - the instruction count was huge, which at the time made us wonder about the description of Reduced Instruction set computing

Re:Sad, really (1)

nemesisrocks (1464705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41926359)

I much preferred PowerPC to MIPS. Gotta respect any language that has an "eieio" operation.

3rd pist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41907801)

trd.

the original RISC? (1)

bagofbeans (567926) | about a year and a half ago | (#41908245)

"MIPS Technologies - the original RISC processor company"

Shirley that was Acorn with the original ARM in the 1980s??

Re:the original RISC? (4, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#41908371)

Don't call me Shirley!

Re:the original RISC? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41908721)

"MIPS Technologies - the original RISC processor company"

Shirley that was Acorn with the original ARM in the 1980s??

I think the point was that MIPS was the first company founded (1984) for the sole purpose of marketing RISC processors. The ARM equivalent would be ARM Holdings (est 1990.)

The first company to make a RISC processor would be IBM, which produced the ROMP in 1981.

Re:the original RISC? (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937063)

ARM chips were made by Acorn originally (the A stood for "acorn"). ARM Holdings is just the name given to the spun-off chunk off Acorn that survived the company going bankrupt.

I believe Acorn were developing ARM as early as 1983 (so says Wikipedia), meaning they pre-date MIPS Technologies as a RISC-making company. Although Wikipedia tells me that the original academic origins of MIPS pre-date ARM, so the technology (rather than the company) can claim to be "first".

Re:the original RISC? (4, Informative)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | about a year and a half ago | (#41909565)

Well, "RISC I" was the first VLSI RISC processor, as described in:
D. A. Patterson and C. H. Sequin, "RISC I: A reduced instruction set VLSI computer," in Proc. 8th Annu. Symp. Comput. Architecture, Minneapolis, MN, May 1981, pp. 443-457.
The architectural principle is generally credited to John Cocke, on the IBM 801 minicomputer, though others published first. Some (like me) might argue it goes back to Seymour Cray's designs at Control Data for the CDC6600 PPU but those definitely did not have a minimal instruction set, just a small one with a 6-bit opcode field.

Re:the original RISC? (1)

WebManWalking (1225366) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913093)

Univac's 1100 series also had a 6-bit opcode, fixed instruction length and tons of registers back in the 1960s, around the same time as the CDC 6600.

I've taken a few MIPS courses (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#41911939)

Very fun introduction to assembly and the language has a small API. I even bought an ARM textbook to learn more about it. I'd just love to have an excuse to use it. Something very satisfying about working at that low a level.

Re:I've taken a few MIPS courses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41912507)

Very fun introduction to assembly and the language has a small API. I even bought an ARM textbook to learn more about it. I'd just love to have an excuse to use it. Something very satisfying about working at that low a level.

Get a Microchip PIC32 (microcontroller that has a MIPS M4K processor) starter kit... hardware and development software... it is only around 50 dollars.

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