Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

A History of PowerPC

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the looking-into-the-past dept.

IBM 193

A reader writes: "There's a article about chipmaking at IBM up at DeveloperWorks. While IBM-centric, it talks a lot about the PowerPC, but really dwells on the common ancestory of IBM 801" Interesting article, especially for people interested in chips and chip design.

cancel ×

193 comments

I hate all of you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728171)

fuck you all!

love always,
news for turds

Re:I hate all of you (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728504)

But I like you!

I have a question for you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728613)

A friend of mine (a Linix admind) tells me that Gaysex is Not Unusual.

Is this true?

Re:I have a question for you (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728952)

GNU stands for Gaysex is Not Unsual ?

But what about... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728194)

Well, yippee fuckin' do! Get back to work, assrake.

IBM also says Screw you to intel (4, Informative)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728195)

IBM Also announced [tmcnet.com] a ton of new PPC information and tech today at an event in new york. Opening up the ISA to third parties including Sony.

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (1, Offtopic)

ShallowThroat (667311) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728270)

hah, your story go rejected too eh?

It really is cool stuff though, The new POWER 5s, although i have no idea how they work, are said to allow virtual microprocessors to allow you to run multiple OSes at once. That could make for some pretty usefull linux apps/distros for windows technician (think repairing viruses and stuff)

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (1)

wembley (81899) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728289)

Think Macs running Windows on a virtual processor.

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728460)

Windows NT 4.0 for PowerPC? This isn't going to give your Mac magic emulation features.

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (3, Informative)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728609)

Actually, think MOL Linux running Mac in it's own runtime... at natvie speed. This technology is from the mainframe chips. A hand me down so to speak.

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728316)

Erect Horsecock and Shallow Throat. Now, don't those two images go together well?

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (2, Informative)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728391)

The new POWER 5s, although i have no idea how they work, are said to allow virtual microprocessors to allow you to run multiple OSes at once. That could make for some pretty usefull linux apps/distros for windows technician (think repairing viruses and stuff)


This is really cool stuff. IBM is a little late to the game in some regards, SGI has been doing this stuff for years in IRIX on their MIPS machines. But hey better late than never...

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (4, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728536)

If it's what I think it is, then Intel has been doing this since the 80386 (try VMWare, which uses your box's CPU in this way, then Bochs, which emulates an x86 CPU), Motorola (and therefore IBM, because of the AIM alliance) has been doing this since the PPC 601 (Mac-on-Linux only runs on PPCs, pretty damn obvious here, isn't it?), and it just goes on and on.

Well sort of (4, Informative)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728640)

It's actually closer to Intel's Vanderpool [xbitlabs.com] technology that allows you to partition the cpu through firmware.

Example: Windows is running on slice 1, BSD on slice 2, and Linux on slice 3.

BSD gets a kernel panic and crashes, the slice is restarted without affecting the remaining running OS's. It's, for the lack of a better term, Hyperthreading for the whole computer.

Re:Well sort of (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728708)

So it's kinda like VMWare running inside the BIOS, rather than on a host OS, and taking full advantage of SMP or HT, then?

Re:Well sort of (1)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728759)

Yes you could say that.

MVS... (2, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728843)

Yea, IBM is a little late to the virtual processor market. About -10 to -20 years.

Damn them! Dam them to HELL!!!!

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728801)

You mean like real mode on a 386? Hmmmm.... amazing progress

Big Endian (4, Funny)

nycsubway (79012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728310)

I'm not a fan of big endian... or is it little endian... I dont remember, but I do know, if it's backwards, it's backwards because it's reverse of what I'm used to.

Re:Big Endian (5, Informative)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728403)

PPC is big endian, which is normal.

X86 is little endian, which is chunked-up and backwards.

Example:
View the stored number 0x12345678.

Big endian: 12 34 56 78
Little endian: 78 56 34 12

Clear as mud?

Re:Big Endian (3, Interesting)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728451)

Isn't Motorolas PPC implementation both big and little endian (i think it's called bit flipping) which is what made Virtual PC possible on Macs? I seem to remember an article somewhere about thats why VPC 6 wouldn't run on the G5 since it lacked the dual modes....

Then again I could be completely wrong.

Re:Big Endian (3, Informative)

Pius II. (525191) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728647)

Motorolas PPC implementation is only partly dual-endian. The G3s are byte-sexual, most G4s are, but some G4 chipsets are not.

Re:Big Endian (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728678)

Big-endian appeals to people because they learned to do their base-10 arithmetic in big-endian fashion. The most significant digit is the first one encountered. It's habit.

Little-endian has some nice hardware properties, because it isn't necessary to change the address due to the size of the operand.

Big Endian:
uint32 src = 0x00001234; // at address 1000, say
uint32 dst1 = src; // fetch from 1000 to get 00001234
uint16 dst2 = src; // fetch from 1000 + 2 to get 1234

Little Endian:
uint32 src = 0x00001234; // at address 1000, say
uint32 dst1 = src; // fetch from 1000
uint16 dst2 = src; // fetch from 1000

The processor doesn't have to modify register values and funk around with shifting the data bus to perform different read and write sizes with a little-endian design. Expanding the data to 64 bits has no effect on existing code, whereas the big-endian case will have to change all the pointer values.

To me, this seems less "chunked up" than big endian storage, where you have to jump back and forth to pick out pieces.

In any event, it seems unnecessary to use prejudicial language like "normal" and "chunked up". It's just another way of writing digits in an integer. Any competent programmer should be able to deal with both representations with equal facility.

Being unable to deal with little-endian representation is like being unable to read hexadecimal and insisting all numbers be in base-10 only. (Dotted-decimal IP numbers, anyone?)

Big-endian has one big practical advantage other than casual programmer convenience. Many major network protocols (TCP/IP, Ethernet) define the network byte order as big-endian.

Re:Big Endian (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728842)

I think you misunderstood me. "Normal" is normal as compared to how the human brain thinks of numbers. Maybe "traditional" would've been a better term.

"Chunked-up" meant that, when compared to a smooth-flowing number in our minds, the little-endian version is cut into chunks and screwed around.

Also, "incest" is another relative term. :) (*groan* BOOOO! HISSS!)

Re:Big Endian (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728877)

Thanks for the coherent explanation. I had never seen the bit about little endian not being effected by the operand size before.

But from what you relate, little endian has some actual advantages, while big endian apparently doesn't. That's pretty chunked up, man!

Both Endians (2, Informative)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728476)

The PPC ISA has support for both big- and little-endian modes. However, the little-endian mode is a bit screwy. There are some appnotes on the Motorola website on using little-endian mode.

Re:Both Endians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728531)

Which sane person would enable a little endian mode anyway?

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728312)

Sony?

Does this mean that ALL next-generation consoles (next Gamebuce, PS3 and Xbox2) will use a IBM chip?

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (3, Informative)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728346)

yes they are all PPC "based" now. The PS3 will be using what is called the Cell cpu which is derived from the Power ISA.

Theres a pantload of info here [ibm.com] .

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (2, Interesting)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728475)

Parent AC asks,
Does this mean that ALL next-generation consoles (next Gamebuce, PS3 and Xbox2) will use a IBM chip?

It has been known for some time that the PS3 would based on the IBM "Cell" project, which is some sort of Power derivative (a.k.a. PPC). So yes, as far as anyone knows, the next generation consoles will all be powered by the PPC. With Generation 5 (G5) and beyond, it looks like the PowerPC Revolution [amazon.com] may finally be closer to reality. :-)

"Chips May Physically Reconfigure Themselves" (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728493)

Self-modifying silicon? Geez. And I though self-modifying code was complicated.*

The Sony connection is nothing surprising, as it has already been announced that Sony is creating silicon with IBM for their next-gen chipset. I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised to see a PS3 running on a cluster of rebranded (and possibly modified) PPC chips.

P.S. Does anyone know why Windows has never been adapted to run under PPC? While the transition for Apple from PPC to x86 may be without technical merit, why hasn't Microsoft created a server line based on the lower-powered PPC chipset?

*they mention that 'researchers and electronics makers' will be able to modify the chip, and as such the above quote is probably incorrect. The chip may be modifiable, but it is unlikely that will happen at runtime.

Re:"Chips May Physically Reconfigure Themselves" (1)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728541)

They did [gte.net]

But like the support for Alpha it tanked

Re:"Chips May Physically Reconfigure Themselves" (4, Informative)

Snocone (158524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728552)

P.S. Does anyone know why Windows has never been adapted to run under PPC?

Errm, actually, it WAS. See for instance

http://home1.gte.net/res008nh/nt/ppc/default.htm [gte.net]

Re:"Chips May Physically Reconfigure Themselves" (2, Informative)

sirinek (41507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728575)

They did briefly for WinNT 3.51, but then shit-canned it pretty quickly. They had a MIPS version as well, and an Alpha version that lasted even to 4.0 IIRC.

Re:"Chips May Physically Reconfigure Themselves" (2, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728814)

They actually didn't shit-can it until NT4. The MIPS version (AFAIK) got shit-canned as 2000 went into alpha, and Alpha got shit-canned as 2000 was coming out of alpha. Itanium came into the picture between Whistler (AKA WinXP) alphas and W2K final, and some W2K Itanium alphas exist (they obviously got shit-canned, and the tech went into WinXP 64-bit for IA64).

Re:IBM also says Screw you to intel (3, Informative)

levram2 (701042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728556)

Intel has also shown virtual micropartitions, rebooting Windows XP while running a DVD without a hitch. The SMT being added to the Power5 is called Hyperthreading by Intel PR. I hope IBM, Intel, AMD and others keep competing.

Chip design in a nutshell for the lazy: (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728224)

Cut up a russet potato into thin strips or wedges.

Fry in oil or bake in oven.

Salt.

Enjoy!

Re:Chip design in a nutshell for the lazy: (2, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728356)

You dumb ass. That's chip fabrication!

Re:Chip design in a nutshell for the lazy: (2, Funny)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728497)

Following those directions is chip fabrication. He just designed a chip, and told you to how to fabricate it.

WOW! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728245)

Interesting article, especially for people interested in chips and chip design.

No shit. Now THERE is some insight.

+5 Interesting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728326)

I am interested becuase it is an interesting subject that I find interesting not to mention the subject is interesting and that I, personally, am interested in this interesting subject.

*sigh* (2, Insightful)

nocomment (239368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728298)

I still want a PPC ATX board. Pegasos was supposed to deliver, but their boards are still so expensive. :-(

Re:*sigh* (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728563)

At one time I shared your dream, but I've since let go. There would have been a great synergy with BeOS.

LK

Re:*sigh* (3, Interesting)

Homology (639438) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728620)

I still want a PPC ATX board. Pegasos was supposed to deliver, but their boards are still so expensive. :-(

Supposed to deliver? OpenBSD people thought that as well, and got the OS running on it. Now OpenBSD consider Pegasos a scam operation and has pulled the support for Pegasos from CVS :

R.I.P. OpenBSD/Pegasos - All the story [deadly.org]

Re:*sigh* (1)

nocomment (239368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728805)

Ya I've been following that story since it was posted on misc@openbsd.org last week sometime. IT really is a shame. OBSD on a pegasos board would have made the price _almost_ worth it. Maybe if I can find a board on ebay I might try it with yellowdog or something. I won't give money to that company[genesi].

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728931)

That's pretty funny, OpenBSD considering someone else a scam operation!!!

Re:*sigh* (2, Interesting)

niko9 (315647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728927)

You might just get what you want [theinquirer.net]

Woudn't it be great to be a able to pick up and ASUS or Epox PowerPC motherboard and run it with a Power970FX?

One can dream.

Motorola (0, Offtopic)

General Sherman (614373) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728328)

They seem to have left out the part about Motorola totally giving up on PPC advancement, seriously hurting apple.

Re:Motorola (3, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728381)

Motorola didn't give up on PPC.

They gave up on desktop PPC. They still do a lot of new PPCs, just working on improving MIPS/watt instead of pure MIPS. Embedded space is a lot higher volume and bigger profit than Apple.

Re:Motorola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728558)

Moto is currently trying to sell their semiconductor unit, so you could say they did give up on PPC.

Re:Motorola (2, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728588)

They're spinning it off, actually, not selling it. Going to be called Freescale Semiconductor.

So, you could say Motorola is giving up on semiconductors... but the division that worked on the G4 will continue to work on PPC. Just under a different name.

Re:Motorola (4, Interesting)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728850)

I've seen this myth repeated again and again, usually in conjunction with conspiracy theories like "Motorola quit developing the G4 to hurt Apple".

1) 80% of all G4s sold have gone to Apple. So targetting the larger embedded market is a marketing excuse, a failure, or both.

2)Motorola's fabrication facilities have been in horrendous shape for at least 4 years. High failure rates, In one location, they even quit running the fans to "save energy."

3)Motorola has failed to advance in the embedded world as well. TiVO and many others are switching from PPC to MIPS because Motorola's stuff is not moving forward.

4)Brain-drain and 'Dilbert syndrome' have plagued Motorola's CPU division since Apple killed the clones in 1997. They are spinning off that part of their business, but there's no indication that the situation has improved.

Re:Motorola (1)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728969)

1) The G4 is not the only PPC. And for embedded, the G4 is far from the best choice. Nice try.

2) No knowledge, but wouldn't surprise me.

3) They do okay in my application segment (automotive embedded). Not great, but okay.

4) I don't work there, so no knowledge.

None of this changes my point: Motorola still produces and actively develops PPC.

Re:Motorola (1, Interesting)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728517)

Motorola did make a decent range of PPC based boxes. They could run NT (but the PPC version of NT never worked very well), they could run Unix (but legacy app varieties, and thiers was an incongruous multimedia box in that environment). It was supposed to run Apple, but I never saw that.

Yes, Motorola did build and promote thier hardware, but OS manufacturers did not even seem to be able to get decent device drivers working for it, let alon do an efficient port. In the end it was a box that could (almost) do many things, but at a higher price for less performance. They threw in the towel.

BTW, I did build a server using a Motorola motherboard and standard PC parts. It ran Aix 4 fine, but forget decent video drivers let alone sound. I did try getting the PPC port of Linux up on it, but never succeeded. It did run very stably as a server. It wasn't lightning fast but seemed to scale perfectly, it just kept chugging alone regardless of the workload you threw at it.

I say blame the OS manufacturers for Motorolas lack of success with the PPC.

Guide to the PowerPC architecture (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728338)

They also have a very good article about the PowerPC's three instruction levels and how to use implementation-specific deviations, while code stays compatible. This introduction to the PowerPC application-level programming [ibm.com] model will give you an overview of the instruction set, important registers, and other details necessary for developing reliable, high performing PowerPC applications and maintaining code compatibility among processors.

Re:Guide to the PowerPC architecture (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728396)

I haven't used it in years, but I remember MetroWerks Codewarrior having options to optimize for specific PPC chips under the Mac OS. At the time I was using a 603ev so any time I coded anything that was math intensive I used to select that chip.

To be honest, I'm not sure how much of a benefit it provided, but I used it anyway.

LK

Re:Guide to the PowerPC architecture (1)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728539)

GCC has these options, too.

In theory, when you specify the CPU, the compiler can make better choices in the instruction scheduler, since each family has different number of ALU's, multipliers, etc.

Nice 42 year backward compatibility (4, Insightful)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728361)

From TFA:
"Today's IBM mainframes still maintain backwards-compatibility with that revolutionary 1962 instruction set."
Good plan then, Intel, on that whole Itanium mess.

John.

Re:Nice 42 year backward compatibility (1)

DR SoB (749180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728745)

Assuming your code is all Y2K compliant this is true, if not it still has to be updated.

Modern mainframes still take punch cards too!

I code for mainframes and I can tell you most of the source code has comments from the 70's and early 80's, it's pretty neat to see that stuff.

Re:Nice 42 year backward compatibility (1)

aliens (90441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728897)

Does anyone else picture the poor lil programmers/engineers desperately trying to keep this instruction set working?

You know there's probably just one of each locked way down in the basement working on this, afraid of the sunlight. ::)

Interesting quote from the article (4, Funny)

alispguru (72689) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728368)

Buried in the middle of a section talking about CMOS, we find this:

Thus, in the days when computing was still so primitive that people thought that digital watches were a neat idea, it was CMOS chips that powered them.

You find Douglas Adams fans all over, don't you?

Re:Interesting quote from the article (1)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728626)

Yes. I saw a slightly earlier line under Family Inheritance that reminded my of Adams too.

All of this complexity meant that by the 1970s, computer chips could do really amazing things (like power increasingly complex digital watches).

Obligatory Quote of the Day (5, Funny)

crumbz (41803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728372)

"Finally, the Fishkill operation is so hip that the server room runs exclusively on Linux."

I didn't think it was possible to use the words "Fishkill" and "hip" in the same sentence with a straight face.

Power PC was the death of the MIPS processor (3, Insightful)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728390)

Not that it was necessarily a bad think, but with the PowerPC came a whole new generation of workstation.


Gone where the intelligent disk and network subsystems. No more die cast aluminimum chassis.


Whilst I can understand in some sectors the incessant drive for highest MIPS per $, is there not also a place for bullet proof proven technology?

MIPS (1)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728595)

MIPS is still popular in some embedded areas, especially since you can buy a parameterized MIPS core ASIC macro, and built custom functions around it. I worked on a project that used one a little while ago.

Re:MIPS (1)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728828)

i think you misunderstand. i believe the parent meant "million instructions per second"

Yeah, I remember (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728412)

back in 94 or so, when the AIM were predicting that they were going to completely obliterate the x86 in a few years. Anyone still have those neat graphs that showed exactly where Intel would hopelessly fall behind while PPC would accellerate exponentially into the atmosphere?

Here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728743)

/
/
______/
/PPC
/
/
/ /\
// / \__
/ / \______ Intel

Time ->

Re:Here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728904)

Well, I doubt they predicted that Intel would start producing slower chips over time. Or who knows, maybe they did.

Actually, I have one of those early product brochures lying around somewhere, but it's buried in my college stuff and would be extremely hard to dig out now. But yes, AIM did make claims that PPC would eclipse x86. To be honest, they succeeded many times, but they have never maintained the lead for very long. The x86 architecture is very antiquated and ugly, but quite hackable.

Re:Yeah, I remember (1)

identity0 (77976) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728900)

Clearly, they mislabeled their price graph as their performance graph...

Re:Yeah, I remember (4, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728972)

Yes

What Intel did was include RISC architecture in around the x86 instruction set to create the pentium pro, pentium II, III, etc. Otherwise they would have been killed.

Infact IBM was correct. Cisc was dying. THe pentium1 could not compete agaisnt the powerpc unless it had a very high clock speed. All chips today are either pure risc or a hybrid cisc/risc like todays Althons/Pentium's. The exception is the nasty Itanium which is not doing too well

Nice PowerPC Roadmap (4, Informative)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728419)

Motorola has a nice overview graphic [motorola.com] - you can also checkout a more generalized article at The Star Online [star-techcentral.com] .

PowerPC in PlayStation 2? Huh? (1)

ikewillis (586793) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728430)

...the PowerPC core is really fast and really tiny (leaving lots of room on the chip for customization), and also because the PowerPC architecture is amenable to being coupled with more than one additional coprocessor. This explains its success in highly specialized environments like set-top boxes or the GameCube and Playstation2 video game consoles.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the PlayStation 2's EmotionEngine processor a proprietary MIPS-derived ISA?

Re:PowerPC in PlayStation 2? Huh? (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728545)

The core has a full mips-3 instruction set, with extensions from mips-4 and mips-5
link [uiuc.edu]

So yes, it is in a way MIPS derived, but the MIPS core does very little of the actual processing, it's more of a bootloader and I/O coprocessor.

Re:PowerPC in PlayStation 2? Huh? (1)

Tiersten (58773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728622)

There are two MIPS processors in the PS2. The main CPU is the Emotion Engine which is based on a MIPS R5900 core and the IO processor which is based on a MIPS R3000 core.

Re:PowerPC in PlayStation 2? Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728554)

Had to be a typo, meant "Playstation 3"

So what HDL do they use? (2, Interesting)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728438)

VHDL, Verilog, something else entirely?

Re:So what HDL do they use? (4, Informative)

sam_van (602963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728676)

When I was working on the embedded IBM PowerPCs (400 series), we used Verilog primarily...though there were a few VHDL hold-outs.

We drew transistors.... (1)

Feynman (170746) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728872)

...and we liked it!

I worked on the RS64III ("Pulsar") from June 1997 until March 1998, as a designer of the on-chip bus clock multiplier circuits. This part of the processor was hard-core, full-custom, transistor-level circuit design! :)

One of the coolest things about PowerPC chips (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728467)

Is its revolutionary three level cache architecture, utilising a 3-way 7 set-transitive cache structure, which gives performance equivalent to a 2-level traditional x86 style cache for more content addressable memory. Each processor has a direct triple-beat burstless fly-by cache gate interface capable of fourteen sequential memory write cycles, including read/write-back and speculative write-thru on both the instruction and data caches. Instruction post-fetch, get-post, roll-forward and cipher3 registers further enhance instruction cache design, and integrated bus snooping guarantees cache coherency on all power PC devices with software intervention. Special cache control and instructions were necessary to control this revolutionary design, such as 'sync', which flushes the cache, and the ever-popular 'exeio' memory fence-case instruction, named after the line in the popular nursery rhyme.

Say what? (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728716)

This sounds like just a bunch of buzz words thrown together.

Computer history IS IBM-centric (4, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728511)

I don't see how computer history that goes back to the 1960s can fail to be "IBM-centric." Remember, these were the big guys Microsoft was afraid of pissing off in the 1970s and 1980s. No one ever got fired for buying IBM, because they pretty much wrote the book on chip design before Intel hit it big.

Re:Computer history IS IBM-centric (2, Informative)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728598)

OTOH it would be difficult to write computer history pre late '60's **with** IBM. Apart from sponsoring the Harvard MK1 they were pretty oblivious to waht computers would do to thier market.

It was Lyons Tea Shop Company, of all unlikely contenders, who married "electronic programmible devices" to IT.

Of course when they realised thier mistake they went hell for leather to redress the balance. But...amazingly.....they were totally off the ball **again** with microcomputer technology.

Re:Computer history IS IBM-centric (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729002)

Yep microcomputers were around for awhile before IBM took notice.

When the PC came out they looked at it more as a smart terminal to an IBM mainframe. Not a serious contender for any "real" work.

For those who want PPC970 without getting a Mac... (1)

phoxix (161744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728529)

You should check out: Momentum Computer [970eval.com]

Sure its pricey, but I suppose if your interested in such price isn't the key issue.

Sunny Dubey

Re:For those who want PPC970 without getting a Mac (4, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728610)

Geez, I can't believe I'm saying this, but it would be cheaper to just buy a Mac.

LK

Re:For those who want PPC970 without getting a Mac (5, Informative)

Morologous (201459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728652)

Or, you could always settle for an RS/6000.

RS/6000 [ibm.com]

Or, a Power-based IBM workstation,

Workstation [ibm.com]

Re:For those who want PPC970 without getting a Mac (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728736)

About My Resume... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728546)

IBM's John Cocke was no stranger to the battle against complexity. He had already worked on the IBM Stretch computer

Not sure I'd want that on my resume. Wasn't IBM's greatest success -- even given their unmatched maketing department.

Re:About My Resume... (1)

Wudbaer (48473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728902)

even given their unmatched maketing department

I think you can say a lot of stuff about IBM, but "unmatched marketing department" ? *ahem*

How goes the old joke ? "How do the US solve their drug problem ?" "They legalize drugs and leave marketing to IBM."

Most print campaigns of the last years IBM had over here in Germany sucked mightily at least IMO. There were some really funny few, those were great, but most of them were either hard to understand or just boring.

200 instructions at once? (4, Insightful)

Phs2501 (559902) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728614)

I think it's quite imprecise writing for the article to state (several times, for POWER4 and the PowerPC 970) that they "can process 200 instructions at once at speeds of up to 2 GHz." That makes it sound like they can finish 200 instructions at once, which is silly. I imagine what they really mean is that there can be up to 200 instructions in flight in the pipeline at a time.

(Which is great until you mispredict a branch, of course. :-)

ancestory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728619)

First spelling Nazi post.

Wake up, Europe. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728677)

How much longer do you think you can go on telling yourselves that terrorism isn't your problem, that Muslim extremists will be appeased if Palestinians are given their own state, and if the U.S. pulls out of the middle East entirely? Every year you import millions of Arabs who hate your way of life, and you breed even more within your own borders. Within one generation, one of two things will happen: you will become a Muslim state, or you will have a civil war. And once again it will be up to America to help you out of the predicament that you will find yourself in. And the truth is, we probably will gladly help you when the time comes.

Quotable! (1, Offtopic)

MrEd (60684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728762)

[The RS64's] qualities make it ideal for things like on-line transaction processing (OLTP), business intelligence, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and other large and hyphenated, function-rich, database-enabled, multi-user, multi-tasking jobs


Large and hyphenated! It's nice when technical writers get to slip a little something in on the side.

Article may need a bit of work (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728763)

Are you really saying that the POWER3 was built with the same 15M transistors as the POWER2?

Also, when you say that POWER4/PPC970 can process 200 instructions at once, you need to explain a bit better what having "instructions in flight" really means. It's not that it can do 200 instructions every clock cycle.

Submitted this on the feedback form at the bottom of the article as well. The above just don't ring right as expressed.

Sounds fishy to me... (4, Interesting)

geoswan (316494) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728812)

...Even x86 chip manufacturers, which continued for quite a time to produce CISC chips, have based their 5th- and 6th-generation chips on RISC architectures and translate x86 opcodes into RISC operations to make them backwards-compatible...

Maybe this is a sign that it has been too long since I learned about computer architecture, but is it really fair to call a CPU that has a deep pipeline, a crypto-RISC CPU?

When my buddy first told me about this exciting new RISC idea one of the design goals was each instruction was to take a single instruction cycle to execute. Isn't this completely contrary to a deep pipeline? The Pentium 4 has a 20-stage pipeline IIRC.

Was I wrong to laugh when I heard hardware manufacturers claim, "sure, we make a CISC, but it has RISC-like elements .

What I am reminded of is the change in how musicians are classified. When I grew up rock music was just about all that young people listened to. Rap and punk music had never been heard of. And country music was considered incredibly uncool. Now country music's coolness factor has grown considerably. And a strange thing has happened. Lots of artists who were unquestionably considered in the Rock camp back then, like Neil Young, or Credence Clearwater, are now classified as Country music, as if they had never been anything else.

It has been a long time, but I remember learning in my computer architecture course about wide microcode instruction words, and narrow microcode instruction words. Wide microcode instruction words allowed the CPU to do more operations in parallel. Ie. the opposite of a RISC. So, I ask in perfect ignorance -- how wide are the Pentium 4 and Athlon microcode?

If I am not mistaken the Transmeta was a very wide instruction word. And if I am not mistaken, doesn't that make it the opposite of a RISC?

Re:Sounds fishy to me... (2, Informative)

Zo0ok (209803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729030)

The concept of RISC (that each instruction takes one cycle) is what makes pipelining possible in the first place. If you have instructions that take 2-35 cycles to execute its very hard to produce an efficient pipeline.

Also, things like Out-of-order-execution and Branch-prediction makes more sense for a RISC instruction set (so I was told ;).

But I more or less agree with you that a long pipeline is somewhat contradictory to the idea of RISC.

I like this quote (4, Insightful)

Zo0ok (209803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728840)

The 64-bit PowerPC 970, a single-core version of the POWER4, can process 200 instructions at once at speeds of up to 2 GHz and beyond -- all while consuming just tens of watts of power. Its low power consumption makes it a favorite with notebooks and other portable applications on the one hand, and with large server and storage farms on the other.

Can anyone tell me where I can buy a G5 laptop?

black mark (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8728856)

Fucking IBM made powerpc chips last year wtf.

BTW don't tell anyone this secret, but if you smile when someone says aids smile, you get hiv.

Ya and I pussy mark all you bitches.

Plus, eat my government pistol and guess what color my icbm warhead is..racists mother fuckers.

Next Apple Mac? (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 10 years ago | (#8728960)

Macosrumors.com has an article suggesting an IBM chip known as the PPC975 may be used for future Apple Macintosh computers at speeds of up to 3Ghz.

http://www.macosrumors.com/33004M.html

Please note that MOSR has a long history of being completely and utterly wrong in their predictions, so don't get your hopes too high...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...