ARM for the future?
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > the Cortex-A9 is the most impressive variant so far.

    Yes, so far Cortex-A9 leads the bunch. Just for fun I compiled a small list* of DMIPS per MHz and core figures for various recent and future cores implementing ARM ISA:

    ARM Cortex-A8: 2.0
    Qualcomm Scorpion: 2.1
    Marvell Sheeva PJ4: 2.4
    ARM Cortex-A9: 2.5
    Qualcomm Krait: 3.0...3.5 (estimated)
    ARM Cortex-A15: 3.5 (estimated)

    * Edit: updated list there

    > If it wasn't a little buggy, I would already be using a Pandaboard.

    There are also other Cortex-A9 boards, for instance the Snowball (available end of Q2/2011 starting at 225 USD):

    http://www.igloocommunity.org
    http://www.calao-systems.com/articles.php?lng=en&pg=6186
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUpgpjJl-5g

    [ Edited by Andreas_Wolf 14.11.2012 - 00:49 ]
  • »28.05.11 - 00:37
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  • Jim
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    >- 1 x GPS (Ex. Antenna),
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    - 1x 3 Axis Gyrometer,
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    Interesting added features on this one Andreas. Thanks Andreas.
    ARM Cortex-A15 really looks promising.

    I can understand your disagreement with takemehomegrandma. ARM11 is a much older, weaker performing platform.The ARM Cortex-A8 in the Efika MX would definitely be a better processor.
    I wonder why, if he was going to compare PPC and ARM processors, he did choose to compare the CPUs used in the Efikas?
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »28.05.11 - 14:14
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > I wonder why, if he was going to compare PPC and ARM processors,
    > he did choose to compare the CPUs used in the Efikas?

    He didn't. He compared the MPC5121e (which is not used in any Efika) to i.MX51, i.MX53, Tegra 1 and Tegra 2 because he was talking about netbooks and nettops at this point. In fact, it's quite reasonable to compare these chips for those particular types of applications. Nothing wrong with that as there's currently no better integrated PPC chip than the MPC5121e for such purposes. What I found (and still find) debatable though was his following claim that "all of those ARM chips performs much better than" the MPC5121e as I think that might not be true for the ARM11 based Tegra 1. That's why I asked him for evidence regarding the "Tegra 1" part of his claim specifically.
  • »28.05.11 - 17:16
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  • Jim
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    Jim
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    >That's why I asked him for evidence regarding the "Tegra 1" part of his claim specifically.

    Its is questionable. The performance of an older ARM design may not perform as well as even a relatively low end PPC. Later ARM design, as your figure pointed out, clearly would be competitive.

    While I find Zylesea's argument for a low end PPC system somewhat unappealing, I don't think a Tegra1 would be preferable. I not even sure that focusing on the Cortex A9 is wise with the A15 coming soon.

    I know I keep beating on this same drum, but there is never too much CPU power. If we are to replace our PPCs (which perform more then adequately), we should aim higher. Cortex A9 would be a bare minimum. They're cheap.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »28.05.11 - 18:43
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > Its is questionable.

    Yes, highly. But apparently takemehomegrandma doesn't think so. At least he actively chose not to retract or qualify his claim.

    > Later ARM design, as your figure pointed out, clearly would be competitive.

    Yes, that's why I didn't challenge the "i.MX51", "i.MX53" and "Tegra 2" parts of takemehomegrandma's claim. It's obvious that those chips are not only competitive but outperform the MPC5121e. And btw, I didn't say Tegra 1 was not competitive compared to the MPC5121e. What I said was that I doubt that Tegra 1 "performs much better than" MPC5121e. That's not the same statement, as something that isn't much better wouldn't have to be worse. It can very well be only slightly better or about on par.

    > with the A15 coming soon.

    "Soon" as in "in 1.5+ years" ;-) Btw, Qualcomm announced Krait sampling for Q2/2011, so while probably not quite as fast as Cortex-A15 it should be there way earlier and still be faster than Cortex-A9.
  • »28.05.11 - 23:40
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Zylesea
    Posts: 2027 from 2003/6/4
    Jim,
    Quote:


    While I find Zylesea's argument for a low end PPC system somewhat unappealing,


    That's all a matter of price. I also think a cpu of the e300/400 class is not first choice for general computing today (but am typing this particular post using my e300/400 computer), but as a little toy/fun thing/low performance - low wattage thing for pocket money it actually may make some very good sense.
    Look to this raspberrypi guy - he got quite some attention for a probably similar powerful device.
    --
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  • »29.05.11 - 00:00
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
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    > this raspberrypi guy

    Just in case his name doesn't ring a bell to anyone: http://hol.abime.net/hol_search.php?N_ref_artist=256 :-)
  • »29.05.11 - 00:16
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  • Jim
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    Jim
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    Sorry Zylesea. I can understand your point, but for a few dollars more we can have a much more powerful system.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »29.05.11 - 04:10
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Zylesea
    Posts: 2027 from 2003/6/4
    Sure, for a few more bucks you can make more powerful systems, but then the competition snaps in. For a more powerful system you'll soon reach price regions where Atom et al are home already. Indeed it is possible to sell stuff there, too. But the whole key is that with the 512x family you could offer small cheap computers which in that kind are pretty rare yet. Nothing to do too seroius computing on, but for fun, for niche, for lowest price. That's the whole point.
    --
    http://www.via-altera.de

    Whenever you're sad just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.
    ...and Matthias , my friend - RIP
  • »29.05.11 - 15:42
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  • Jim
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    Jim
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    Yes, and I'd agree you have a very valid point. By the time you factor in a Cortex A9 you're probably at Atom price levels. The fact that there is a processor that can under cut Atom prices makes it worth considering.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »29.05.11 - 18:00
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    Update:

    >> If it wasn't a little buggy, I would already be using a Pandaboard.

    > There are also other Cortex-A9 boards, for instance the Snowball
    > (available end of Q2/2011 starting at 225 USD)

    And another one (Origen) starting at 199 USD (available end of June):

    http://www.origenboard.org
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rlCTNOiyA
  • »30.05.11 - 13:11
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
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    Posts: 365 from 2003/3/28
    Quote:

    Update:
    And another one (Origen) starting at 199 USD (available end of June):

    http://www.origenboard.org
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rlCTNOiyA


    You beat me to it!
    Probably the fastest ARM around right now CPU and GPU wise (The GPU is a quad core Mali-400).

    It's the same chip as the Galaxy SII, more powerful than the iPad2!
  • »30.05.11 - 14:02
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > Probably the fastest ARM around right now CPU and GPU wise
    > (The GPU is a quad core Mali-400).

    Yes, it's 20% higher clocked than the SoC on the Snowball board, which seems to have only single-core Mali-400.
  • »30.05.11 - 14:42
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    Update:

    >> Probably Consoles as well.

    > "01net also claims to know some of the technical specifications of the new console
    > (translation from Develop): 'CPU is custom IBM PowerPC with three cores [...]'"
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Caf%C3%A9#April_2011

    More rumours, this time regarding another console:

    "IBM sources claim that the new multi core PowerPC processor, which Big Blue, has spent several years developing is now part of a joint development project with the Japanese company. [...] The new 32nm Cell processor is tipped to be capable of up to 16 SPEs which is twice as fast as the current Cell processor according to IBM leaks."
    http://www.smarthouse.com.au/Gaming/Industry/F5C6F8A6

    (I remain very sceptical regarding this specific article as it contains some severe factual flaws.)
  • »31.05.11 - 12:03
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
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    I've heard the 3 core IBM Wii2 a few times now. Sounds perfectly plausible.


    Sony recently said they're not spending as much on the PS4 development so if anything that points to a new version of Cell. Anything else means they'll have to rewrite everything and that'll be rather expensive.

    Adding a second Cell, upping the RAM and updating the GPU is the easiest option technology wise and gives them backwards compatibility. At 32nm they can probably up the clock quite a bit as well. IBM already had better Cell tech in the works so it could be a better version of Cell. IBM didn't stop Cell development (they publicly canned one chip and everyone thought Cell was dead). They had been working on a 32SPE + 4 PPE chip with the PPEs based on a POWER7 core. Don't know what happened to it but they said they were merging Cell with something else, presumably POWER.
  • »31.05.11 - 23:11
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > Adding a second Cell

    As I read the article linked to above the PS4 is rumoured to be powered by a single (new) Cell processor with 16 SPEs. Maybe this new Cell will have two PPEs (like the cancelled PowerXCell 32ii was supposed to have, only with half the amount of SPEs) but I doubt they will put two Cell chips there as I think it wouldn't make sense if they're going to have a new Cell chip developed anyway.

    > IBM didn't stop Cell development

    Indeed.

    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?forum=3&topic_id=6768&start=35
    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?forum=3&topic_id=6993&start=80

    > they publicly canned one chip

    Actually, it was two chips.

    https://morph.zone/modules/newbb_plus/viewtopic.php?forum=3&topic_id=6993&start=70

    > everyone thought Cell was dead

    Yes, which was surprising as the declaration of death was qualified almost immediately:

    http://www.hardwareheaven.com/news.php?newsid=344

    > They had been working on a 32SPE + 4 PPE chip

    ...and one with 2 PPEs.

    > with the PPEs based on a POWER7 core.

    Interesting, I hadn't read that anywhere before. I'd rather have suspected a POWER6 offshoot. No IBM roadmap document on PowerXCell 32ii and 32iv I ever came across mentioned the base of their enhanced PPE called PPE' therein. A quick googling revealed this as the source for the POWER7 claim (translated):

    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ja&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fd.hatena.ne.jp%2Fpetacell%2F20080621

    Thanks for this bit of info.

    > they said they were merging Cell with something else, presumably POWER.

    Yes, that's what I understood as well (see first two links).
  • »01.06.11 - 00:27
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  • Jim
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    Jim
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    SPEs servicing a much more powerful out of order Power processor core?
    Sounds great. Should be much more powerful then any proposed Cell derivative.
    The only negative to this is the attendant increased complication creating optimized code for any CPU coupled with SPEs.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »01.06.11 - 02:35
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > Should be much more powerful then any proposed Cell derivative.

    That depends on the definition of "Cell derivative". I suspect most people would have called 32 SPEs servicing two or four trimmed POWER7 cores, all packed together in a chip named PowerXCell 32ii or PowerXCell 32iv, a "Cell derivative". I'd say the inclusion of the SPEs is what makes a Cell a Cell. Thus any number of SPEs servicing one or more trimmed POWER8 cores, all packed together in one chip, would be called a "Cell derivative" by most people as well, I guess. That said, it's interesting to think about whether non-trimmed POWER8 + SPEs would be percieved as POWER with added SPEs or rather as Cell with POWER PPE ;-)

    > The only negative to this is the attendant increased complication
    > creating optimized code for any CPU coupled with SPEs.

    At least compared to current Cell chips there would be no such increase. And regarding the PPE an out-of-order core requires less optimization than an in-order core ;-)
  • »01.06.11 - 03:03
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  • Jim
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    Jim
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    >I'd say the inclusion of the SPEs is what makes a Cell a Cell.

    THAT'S an interesting definition Andreas.
    From my examination of the two Cell processor that were made and the immediate potential successors, I thought the shift to a Power 6 successor (as the core CPU) was really significant.
    Of course, the SPEs have also evolved. CellBE's SPE were much less powerful then its sucessor's SPEs.
    So both the Core CPU (PPE) and its attendant SPEs continue to evolve.
    Power7's core processor should be far beyond any previous PPE core. As we don't yet know how much improvement has been made in the SPE's perhaps my biased focus is unjustified.
    Is it a Cell derivative? Yes, I guess it is. But as a Power6 successor Its also so much more.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »01.06.11 - 03:37
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > Power7's core processor should be far beyond any previous PPE core.

    Yes, that's a given, even if stripped down. The same applies to POWER8 to an even greater extent. If the PS4's Cell should have a POWER PPE I'm inclined to believe it will be derived from POWER8, not from POWER7 like was planned for the PowerXCell 32ii and 32iv.

    > we don't yet know how much improvement has been made in the SPE's

    True. According to IBM roadmaps the PowerXCell 32ii's and 32iv's eSPE was not supposed to improve in SP FP or DP FP performance over the PowerXCell 8i's eDP SPE. Some suspected cache enlargement and latency reduction though.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=powerxcell+edp+espe

    > Is it a Cell derivative? Yes, I guess it is.

    So we have the same point of view. Nice.

    > But as a Power6 successor Its also so much more.

    That's called product line evolution ;-)
  • »01.06.11 - 05:49
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  • Jim
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    Jim
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    >That's called product line evolution ;-)

    Product evolution I first heard mention of here, thanks to your tireless investigations.
    At the time you first mentioned this, I thought no ******* way.
    I've got to stop being surprised when you correctly intuit something. You don't speculate or predicate. You make some very accurate analysis.

    I wonder how this will affect Power's use in consumer oriented products.
    Do you think we might see a return to the desktop or use in devices like the PS4?
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »02.06.11 - 02:57
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > I wonder how this will affect Power's use in consumer oriented products.

    Probably not that much, assuming you mean IBM POWER here. Non-trimmed POWER will never be in any consumer product, no matter if with or without SPEs. The rumour article I quoted says that Sony wants to use the PS4's Cell also in notebooks and in TVs. So if this new Cell is going to have a trimmed POWER core and will be in notebooks and TVs then that would mean (some) usage in consumer oriented products. But as you might have noticed, these are no less then three ifs: 1. Will the PS4 really use a Cell? 2. If it'll use a Cell, will its PPE really be derived from POWER? 3. If it's a Cell with a POWER(-derived) PPE, will it really be used in notebooks and TVs?

    > Do you think we might see a return to the desktop

    No, not in a scale that would generally be understood as a return (to what we had with the POWER4-derived PPC970).

    > or use in devices like the PS4?

    Yes, I think a new Cell in the PS4 might have a trimmed POWER PPE. But that's really just speculation.
  • »02.06.11 - 03:51
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  • Jim
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    Jim
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    >The rumour article I quoted says that Sony wants to use the PS4's Cell also in notebooks and in TVs. So if this new Cell is going to have a trimmed POWER core and will be in notebooks and TVs then that would mean (some) usage in consumer oriented products. But as you might have noticed, these are no less then three ifs: 1. Will the PS4 really use a Cell? 2. If it'll use a Cell, will its PPE really be derived from POWER? 3. If it's a Cell with a POWER(-derived) PPE, will it really be used in notebooks and TVs?

    Sony has made statements that might be interpreted as indicating that the design would be more evolutionary (rather then revolutionary). As such a Cell seems likely. But a Power derived Cell is a complete unknown. Therefore, whatever else they use it in could but may not be Power related.


    >> Do you think we might see a return to the desktop

    >No, not in a scale that would generally be understood as a return (to what we had with the POWER4-derived PPC970).

    But Sony's potential use in computing devices would be, at least, a small return.

    >> or use in devices like the PS4?

    >Yes, I think a new Cell in the PS4 might have a trimmed POWER PPE. But that's really just speculation.

    I'm beginning to get that impression as well. Considering the timel ine mentioned for introduction, the next Cell processor used in the PS4 could easily benefit from IBM's developments.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »02.06.11 - 04:27
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11551 from 2003/5/22
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    > a Power derived Cell is a complete unknown.

    True, assuming you refer to real products and assuming you mean POWER here, not Power ISA in general. As we established before in this thread, both the PowerXCell 32ii and PowerXCell 32iv were suspected to come with PPEs derived from POWER7.

    > Sony's potential use in computing devices would be, at least, a small return.

    Only if such new Cell with POWER-derived PPE is going to act as the CPU of (at least some of) Sony's future notebooks. As you may remember, when Toshiba was said to have Cell technology in their notebooks all they eventually released were some models in their Qosmio line with the SpursEngine (i.e. only SPEs, no PPE) acting as a video coprocessor chip for the x86 CPU. We'd have to see if Sony's ambitions in that regard would be more serious or if they would replicate Toshiba's way regarding notebooks containing technology based on a new Cell.

    > the next Cell processor used in the PS4 could easily benefit from IBM's developments.

    That's a given, no matter if the new Cell's PPE will be derived from IBM POWER or be any other Power Architecture compliant core developed by IBM. One of those two options would be realized for a new Cell for sure.
  • »02.06.11 - 13:22
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  • Order of the Butterfly
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    Just to be different, I'll say something on-topic (-:

    It was computex this week and a load of ARMs were launched, confirmed or shown off.

    TI announced a new OMAP with dual core 1.8GHz Cortex-A9s
    Nvidia were showing off their Kal-el quad core A9 chip.
    Qualcomm are sampling their new chip soon, it's another dual core but it goes up to 2.5 GHz. It's also a new microarchitecture - There's very little details but given their claims it sounds like it'll be something similar to the Cortex-A15.

    Currently the A9 is in PPC G4 territory performance wise.
    The 1.8GHz A9s should put them up against the G5s and it looks like ARM beating all the G5s could be maybe only a year away.

    Then there's Nvidia's project Denver at the end of next year which sounds like it'll be more in the range of current desktops.

    It's gonna get very interesting in the next year or so...
  • »04.06.11 - 00:43
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