ARM for the future?
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > Hard to believe they have the resources to create this.

    They even talk about future chips incorporating both X-Gene and PowerPC core(s):

    "[...] we were one of the first companies to release a Power PC and ARM on the same die about three years ago, and that's doing really well today, so you'll start to see a very interesting mix of products as we go forward. Where you'll start to see all of our best-at-breed Power PC technology start to blend with versions of pieces of X-Gene for various applications. That will be a very, very, very important intersection point, because [...] we want to maximize the investments that we are making in all of these areas, right, so if we are going to build the world's first world class server class 64-bit core, we want to make sure that we can use that core in some form or fashion going forward along with a Power PC per our customers' request so that they can have the ability to run all their legacy code and run their new code on the ARM."
    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/711065/000119312511300076/d253150dex992.htm

    Btw, does anybody know which Applied Micro chip had "a Power PC and ARM on the same die about three years ago"? I'm well aware of the fact that at the heart of PacketPro's SLIMpro subsystem is a 250 MHz ARM Cortex-M3 core, but the PacketPro family was only announced (not even released) in September 2010, which hardly qualifies as "three years ago".
  • »08.11.11 - 23:52
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Microsoft and nVidia already have
    > something ARM-based cooking for the new Xbox though.

    A week ago rumours to that effect (sans the "nVidia" part) have started to circulate:

    "With a heady mix of rumors, tips and speculation, I am now stating that Xbox codename "loop" (the erstwhile XboxTV) will indeed debut a modified Win9 core. It will use a Zune HD-like hardware platform--a "main" processor with multiple dedicated assistive cores for graphics, AI, physics, sound, networking, encryption and sensors. It will be custom designed by Microsoft and two partners based on the ARM architecture. It will be cheaper than the 360, further enabling Kinect adoption. And it will be far smaller than the 360."
    http://msnerd.tumblr.com/post/12233928364/clarity
  • »10.11.11 - 00:52
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    takemehomegrandma
    Posts: 2704 from 2003/2/24
    Quote:

    "With a heady mix of rumors, tips and speculation, I am now stating that Xbox codename “loop” (the erstwhile XboxTV) will indeed debut a modified Win9 core. It will use a Zune HD-like hardware platform—a “main” processor with multiple dedicated assistive cores for graphics, AI, physics, sound, networking, encryption and sensors. It will be custom designed by Microsoft and two partners based on the ARM architecture. It will be cheaper than the 360, further enabling Kinect adoption. And it will be far smaller than the 360."
    http://msnerd.tumblr.com/post/12233928364/clarity


    Well, it makes perfect sense, it fits well within all the communicated and/or rumored timetables, and goes totally in line with everything they have done and announced this far, so I think it's a very credible rumor!

    (BTW: "And who knows what technology future X-Box systems will use under the hood? ;-)")

    :-)
    MorphOS is Amiga done right! :-)
    MorphOS NG will be AROS done right! :-)
  • »10.11.11 - 09:43
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    minator
    Posts: 365 from 2003/3/28
    Quote:

    Btw, does anybody know which Applied Micro chip had "a Power PC and ARM on the same die about three years ago"? I'm well aware of the fact that at the heart of PacketPro's SLIMpro subsystem is a 250 MHz ARM Cortex-M3 core, but the PacketPro family was only announced (not even released) in September 2010, which hardly qualifies as "three years ago".


    IIRC There was an EEtimes article that said the predecessor had used an ARM part to do much the same thing but they never publicly announced it.
  • »11.11.11 - 19:32
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > IIRC There was an EEtimes article that said the predecessor had used an
    > ARM part to do much the same thing but they never publicly announced it.

    Actually, I linked to that article (on the Keelback) in the very posting you just replied to (klick on "SLIMpro subsystem"). The statement therein you obviously refer to is this:

    "The Keelback device also usesan ARM core in the SLIMpro subsystem, the first time the company has revealed it has used ARM core although it now confirms the first of the PacketPro family, the Mamba device launched last year, was actually its first product featuring SLIMpro with the ARM processor."

    So as you can see we're still at square one, because Mamba is the initial PacketPro chip I've been talking about in my previous posting and which was introduced less than one year ago in 2010, not "three years ago". So my question which chip with "a Power PC and ARM on the same die" Mr. Gopi talked about remains open unfortunately, unless you were referring to a different EETimes article.
  • »11.11.11 - 19:50
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    minator
    Posts: 365 from 2003/3/28
    Quote:

    So as you can see we're still at square one, because Mamba is the initial PacketPro chip I've been talking about in my previous posting and which was introduced less than one year ago in 2010, not "three years ago". So my question which chip with "a Power PC and ARM on the same die" Mr. Gopi talked about remains open unfortunately, unless you were referring to a different EETimes article.


    Looks like the same article I read - but may be they're not talking about processors?
    ARM also does things like fabric (i.e. bus systems) and I know AppliedMicro have been using and ARM bus for some time.

    --

    BTW if you like more details on 64 bit ARMs...

    see these and read this.
  • »12.11.11 - 02:28
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > Looks like the same article I read

    Okay, so we're not any wiser yet.

    > but may be they're not talking about processors?

    They are, which is clear from the context the quoted part is embedded in the original document in.

    > ARM also does things like fabric (i.e. bus systems)

    Yes, AMBA (APB/AHB/AXI).

    > I know AppliedMicro have been using and ARM bus for some time.

    Really? As far as I know they've been using IBM's CoreConnect PLB in their Power Architecture chips, not ARM's AMBA.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site:apm.com+coreconnect+OR+plb

    So I guess the question is still open either way.
  • »12.11.11 - 03:24
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    Update:

    > What specs? I don't think we have any for this Power Architecture
    > chip yet, except that it has more than one core and is manufactured
    > in a rather conservative build process

    Fresh rumours on the Wii U's processor from 4 days ago:

    * quad-core
    * 3 GHz

    http://wiiudaily.com/2011/12/wii-u-has-quad-core-3ghz-cpu-768-mb-of-ram/
  • »06.12.11 - 21:37
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  • Jim
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    Jim
    Posts: 4956 from 2009/1/28
    From: Delaware, USA
    http://wiiudaily.com/2011/12/wii-u-has-quad-core-3ghz-cpu-768-mb-of-ram/

    Gee, that would make a nice...computer.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »06.12.11 - 22:42
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    >>> I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Microsoft and nVidia already have
    >>> something ARM-based cooking for the new Xbox though.

    >> A week ago rumours to that effect (sans the "nVidia" part) have started
    >> to circulate: [...]
    >> http://msnerd.tumblr.com/post/12233928364/clarity

    > Well, it makes perfect sense, it fits well within all the communicated and/or
    > rumored timetables, and goes totally in line with everything they have done
    > and announced this far, so I think it's a very credible rumor!

    There're also rumours to the opposite effect, not mentioning ARM at all:

    "the chip itself is a little bit grey in areas. [...] IBM is also involved, so eDRAM is very likely, something our sources are all confirming. This means the CPU is very likely to be a PowerPC of one sort or other too. Then again, [...] there are strong and credible rumors of it being an AMD x86 core ala Trinity. In any case more SemiAccurate moles are still saying PowerPC, that architecture makes much more sense here."
    http://semiaccurate.com/2011/12/05/exclusive-xbox-next-chip-just-taped-out/
  • »07.12.11 - 00:07
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    Update:

    > 2.5 GHz Krait will indeed not come until APQ8064 scheduled for 2012 at earliest

    APQ8064 got degraded to 1.7 GHz, which means 2.5 GHz Krait will have to wait until APQ8094 in second half of 2013.

    https://developer.qualcomm.com/discover/chipsets-and-modems/snapdragon
    http://vr-zone.com/articles/qualcomm-reveals-future-plans-we-give-you-the-details/13581.html
  • »12.12.11 - 23:01
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    Correction:

    >> I know AppliedMicro have been using and ARM bus for some time.

    > Really? As far as I know they've been using IBM's CoreConnect PLB
    > in their Power Architecture chips, not ARM's AMBA.

    Sorry, I was wrong. Actually, they've been using a combination of PLB and AMBA (AHB, APB) in their chips, with bridges in between.

    http://www.acaltechnology.com/_files/franchise/AppliedMicro/catalogues/Acal_BFi_AppliedMicro_Shortform_(LowRes).pdf
    http://www.acaltechnology.com/_files/franchise/AppliedMicro/datasheets/APM86290_PB_20110103_v1_05.pdf
    http://images.anandtech.com/doci/5326/CatalinaAPM86491.png

    According to the first one of those PDF files, the PPC460EX seems to have been Applied Micro's first chip to implement AMBA buses.
  • »11.01.12 - 02:09
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    Update:

    > Marvell Sheeva PJ4: 2.4

    Marvell has released the new Sheeva PJ4B core delivering 2.6 DMIPS per MHz and thus superseding ARM's Cortex-A9 core.

    http://www.marvell.com/digital-entertainment/armada-1500/assets/Marvell-ARMADA-1500-Product-Brief.pdf
    (in this SoC interestingly coupled with ARM Ltd's NEON SIMD in addition to Marvell's usual WMMX SIMD)

    So this is the new revised list:

    ARM Cortex-A7: 1.9
    ARM Cortex-A8: 2.0
    Qualcomm Scorpion: 2.1
    Marvell Sheeva PJ4: 2.4
    ARM Cortex-A9: 2.5
    Marvell Sheeva PJ4B: 2.6
    Qualcomm Krait: 3.3
    ARM Cortex-A15: 3.5
  • »14.01.12 - 00:07
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    Update:

    > They even talk about future chips incorporating both X-Gene and PowerPC core(s): [...]

    More on that:

    "our view is to continue to take share from Freescale and IBM with our investments that we made in power architecture and then we start to combine power architecture and ARM for the embedded space"
    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/711065/000119312512041267/d294817dex992.htm
  • »06.02.12 - 22:08
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  • Jim
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    Jim
    Posts: 4956 from 2009/1/28
    From: Delaware, USA
    > I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Microsoft and nVidia already have
    > something ARM-based cooking for the new Xbox though.


    The GPU vendor I've heard mentioned for the XBOX720 is ATI/AMD (with something based on the HD6000 series), not Nvidia.
    An ARM processor is by no means an absolute as I've heard rumors that speculate about both ARM and PPC based CPUs.
    The only hard news so far is on the GPU, which apparently is quite far along.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »06.02.12 - 22:53
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  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    Jupp3
    Posts: 1193 from 2003/2/24
    From: Helsinki, Finland
    Yay for ARM devices locked to run only Windows 8!

    Quote:

    The Certification Requirements (for Windows 8) define a "custom" secure boot mode, in which a physically present user can add signatures for alternative operating systems to the system's signature database, allowing the system to boot those operating systems.

    But for ARM devices, Custom Mode is prohibited: "On an ARM system, it is forbidden to enable Custom Mode. Only Standard Mode may be enable." [sic] Nor will users have the choice to simply disable secure boot, as they will on non-ARM systems: "Disabling Secure Boot MUST NOT be possible on ARM systems."

    Between these two requirements, any ARM device that ships with Windows 8 will never run another operating system, unless it is signed with a preloaded key or a security exploit is found that enables users to circumvent secure boot

    I'm not sure if it's actually as bad (but very close) as it initially sounds, I think other operating systems MIGHT be allowed - as long as they are pre-installed besides Windows 8 before shipping to customers. Good luck getting MorphOS (or anything besides Android) through.

    Of course this didn't come THAT long after Microsoft trying to convince that "the customer is in control of their PC." (without telling, whether the "customer" is end user, or device manufacturer. So even some X86 systems might be locked)
  • »07.02.12 - 15:13
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  • ASiegel
    Posts: 1300 from 2003/2/15
    From: Central Europe
    Quote:

    I'm not sure if it's actually as bad (but very close) as it initially sounds, I think other operating systems MIGHT be allowed - as long as they are pre-installed besides Windows 8 before shipping to customers. Good luck getting MorphOS (or anything besides Android) through.


    At this point, it is still unknown whether Windows 8 will feature a desktop user interface on ARM platforms or not. There is a good chance that it will only be available on tablet devices (for the forseeable future), which are not very attractive for MorphOS to begin with since its more traditional user interface essentially requires a mouse and keyboard.

    Update: Microsoft has clarified the issue in the mean time. Link: Windows 8 Blog

    [ Edited by ASiegel 10.02.2012 - 08:03 ]
  • »07.02.12 - 17:34
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    Update:

    >>>> I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Microsoft and nVidia already have
    >>>> something ARM-based cooking for the new Xbox though.

    >>> A week ago rumours to that effect (sans the "nVidia" part) have started
    >>> to circulate: [...]
    >>> http://msnerd.tumblr.com/post/12233928364/clarity

    >> Well, it makes perfect sense, it fits well within all the communicated and/or
    >> rumored timetables, and goes totally in line with everything they have done
    >> and announced this far, so I think it's a very credible rumor!

    > There're also rumours to the opposite effect, not mentioning ARM at all:
    > "the chip itself is a little bit grey in areas. [...] IBM is also involved,
    > so eDRAM is very likely, something our sources are all confirming.
    > This means the CPU is very likely to be a PowerPC of one sort
    > or other too. Then again, [...] there are strong and credible rumors
    > of it being an AMD x86 core ala Trinity. In any case more
    > SemiAccurate moles are still saying PowerPC, that architecture
    > makes much more sense here."
    > http://semiaccurate.com/2011/12/05/exclusive-xbox-next-chip-just-taped-out/

    "Sources close to Xbox World magazine have revealed that Durango’s devkit features a “monster” 16-core IBM PowerPC CPU"
    http://sillegamer.com/2012/04/06/xbox-720-devkit-specs-detailed-includes-16-core-processor/
  • »09.04.12 - 15:23
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  • Jim
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    Jim
    Posts: 4956 from 2009/1/28
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    Wow, I just can't see an ARM processor in the new XBOX.
    These new rumours seem more in line with an evolutionary change (as opposed to revolutionary)
    And this machine has to take on the Wii U.

    An ARM based machine wouldn't stand a chance.
    "Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"
  • »10.04.12 - 03:28
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    takemehomegrandma
    Posts: 2704 from 2003/2/24
    Quote:

    The publication states that current devkits will not mirror the final hardware in appearance


    BTW, does *16* cores really make sense in this type of application?
    MorphOS is Amiga done right! :-)
    MorphOS NG will be AROS done right! :-)
  • »10.04.12 - 05:32
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > "The publication states that current devkits will not mirror the
    > final hardware in appearance"

    Nonetheless, Power Architecture in the devkits means the final hardware will be based on Power Architecture as well.

    > does *16* cores really make sense in this type of application?

    Some people think that "16 cores" really means 16 threads, i.e. 4 cores with 4 threads each etc.
  • »10.04.12 - 08:47
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
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    takemehomegrandma
    Posts: 2704 from 2003/2/24
    Quote:

    Nonetheless, Power Architecture in the devkits means the final hardware will be based on Power Architecture as well.


    Indeed that's highly probable, I'm sure we'll know in time (it's a *long* time to "late of 2013").

    AFAIK, both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 devkits are based on Intel x86/Windows to be used in combination with the console HW. But what if the console HW isn't there yet? The development cycle of a new game is often several years, thus the development of the games that should be present upon launch of the platform needs to be developed way ahead. Playstation 3 games were shown running before the PS3 HW was ready:

    "Sony officially unveiled the PlayStation 3 (then marketed as PLAYSTATION 3) to the public on May 16, 2005 at the E3 2005 conference, along with a 'boomerang' shaped prototype design of the Sixaxis controller. A functional version of the system was not present there, nor at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, although demonstrations (such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) were held at both events on software development kits and comparable personal computer hardware."

    I'm not saying it won't be PPC/Power based, only that the architecture per se is more interesting to the tool chain developers than to the games developers, and *if* the new Xbox would turn out to be yet another fruit of the Microsoft/nVidia cooperation on ARM, then the new "killer games" to sell the platform needs to be developed *now*, while the CPU simply isn't finished so there is no way that a devkit using this CPU could be provided at this time, simply because it doesn't exist yet, so it would have to be something different, but preferably something with similar specifications (like RISC, many registers, etc).

    Again, just speculating here of course and only hypothetical in any way, but fact is that it kind of coincides with nVidia launching its "x86 killer" ARM chips (sometime in 2013), there would be many benefits of using them (not only technological), and *there is* this statement that "current devkits will not mirror the final hardware".

    Let me turn it around to you, and ask the question: If *you* would be using the nVidia "Denver" (to be released in 2013) in your next games console, a good selection of games need to be ready within one and a half year of time from now, a devkit needs to be released about now, and the devkit needed a year or so by itself to be developed, how would *you* have done it a year ago (or whatever time it takes to develop a devkit)?

    Quote:

    Some people think that "16 cores" really means 16 threads, i.e. 4 cores with 4 threads each etc.


    Yeah I read the comments (some of them are quite funny BTW, but comments on these kind of pages usually are ;-)), but I think my question still remains though...?
    MorphOS is Amiga done right! :-)
    MorphOS NG will be AROS done right! :-)
  • »10.04.12 - 10:18
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
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    Posts: 365 from 2003/3/28
    Sounds like they're using the IBM wire speed processor in the dev kits.

    The final chip could thus be a cut down version of it with the 360's AltiVec added.

    16 cores of that will be an absolute beast!





    I found the rumours of the PS4 to be interesting.
    So far all I've heard is it'll be x86 based but frankly it sounds like it'll be *slower* than the PS3.

    If the PS4 is to be more powerful than then it either has a monster GPU or they've gone with Cell again.
  • »10.04.12 - 12:09
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > AFAIK, both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 devkits are based on Intel
    > x86/Windows to be used in combination with the console HW.

    Yes, it makes sense to use relatively cheap off-the-shelf x86 computers as part of the devkits even for console hardware with a different ISA, but it surely wouldn't make sense the other way round, i.e. to develop and manufacture special devkits (or even special chips) based on Power Architecture for console hardware based on a different ISA. At least I can't imagine why the devkit for a console to be based on ARM or x86(-64) should be based on Power Architecture.
    Besides:
    "Before the launch of the Xbox 360, several Alpha development kits were spotted using Apple's Power Mac G5 hardware. This was because the system's PowerPC 970 processor running the same PowerPC architecture that the Xbox 360 would eventually run under IBM's Xenon processor."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360#Development

    > But what if the console HW isn't there yet?

    Use cheap x86 devkits rather than develop expensive, say, Power Architecture devkits for a, say, ARM console.
    This of course means that in reverse, a devkit based on x86(-64) wouldn't imply the slightest about the ISA of the respective console's final hardware.

    > *if* the new Xbox would turn out to be yet another fruit of the
    > Microsoft/nVidia cooperation on ARM, then the new "killer games" to
    > sell the platform needs to be developed *now*

    True, but I still think that would happen either on cheapish off-the-shelf x86(-64) hardware or maybe even on specially developed and manufactured ARMv7 hardware (as 32-bit ARMv8 (= AArch32) will be able to execute ARMv7 code as is, and source code migration to 64-bit ARMv8 (= AArch64) should be easy enough), not on specially developed and manufactured Power Architecture hardware.

    > it would have to be something different, but preferably something
    > with similar specifications (like RISC, many registers, etc).

    Admittedly, instruction count and register count do have an influence on the viability of system simulation, but I'm not sure if that would justify the costs of developing (or having developed) what's probably a new Power Architecture chip (provided the rumour is true, that is).

    > just speculating here of course and only hypothetical in any way

    Agreed.

    > fact is that it kind of coincides with nVidia launching its "x86
    > killer" ARM chips (sometime in 2013)

    Each and every hardware announced for 2013 "kind of coincides with nVidia [supposed to be] launching its "x86 killer" ARM chips" ;-)

    > *there is* this statement that "current devkits will not mirror the
    > final hardware".

    ..."in appearance". As far as I as a non-native English speaker am aware, this could as well just refer to how the hardware looks, i.e. the case design etc. And even if not, there're many things that can differ in a hardware design without the ISA or even the actual main processor chip to be any different.

    > If *you* would be using the nVidia "Denver" (to be released in 2013)
    > in your next games console, a good selection of games need to be
    > ready within one and a half year of time from now, a devkit needs to
    > be released about now, and the devkit needed a year or so by itself
    > to be developed, how would *you* have done it a year ago (or whatever
    > time it takes to develop a devkit)?

    I'd have opted for off-the-shelf x86(-64) hardware and done with that what you think they have possibly done with specially developed and manufactured Power Architecture hardware.

    > I think my question still remains though...?

    I do not know enough about modern game development to be able to judge the usefulness of 16 hardware threads or even 16 processor cores for that type of application.
  • »10.04.12 - 12:37
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 11480 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > Sounds like they're using the IBM wire speed processor in the dev kits.
    > The final chip could thus be a cut down version of it with the 360's AltiVec added.

    How would the game developers make use of VMX128 with a devkit that has the PowerEN chip? Simulating it in software with its AltiVec-lacking A2 cores?
  • »10.04.12 - 13:26
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