back to article Team MIPS tries to spoil ARM's party with new 64-bit Warrior, 32-bit microcontroller brains

Imagination Technologies has decided today – right in the middle of its arch rival ARM's annual technical conference in California – is the best day to announce some new chip designs. As a friendly reminder that ARM doesn't have the world of embedded processors completely sewn up, Imagination will unveil the 64-bit MIPS P6600 …

  1. Def Silver badge

    Crashing ARM's party?

    How imaginative of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crashing ARM's party?

      Obviously having some armless fun.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Crashing ARM's party?

        I think they didn't want to MIPS an opportunity for extra publicity.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Optimistic?

    it has a 16-stage pipeline with multi-issue out-of-order execution, can scale from single core to hexacore

    I am not a chip guy but that sounds to me a bit like the P4 pipeline which required a lot of silicon and performance often suffered with o-o-o (it's damn hard to get this right). How much "general purpose" do you need for this where the option of dedicated (let's say encryption or something similar) units wouldn't be a better choice? Okay, this puts the onus on the compiler and the programmer to produce the right code for the right unit but so far this seems to be beating hardware heuristics.

    1. Named coward

      Re: Optimistic?

      Current x86 processors have about 14-20 stages., Cortex-A72 have up to 16. The P4 had up to 31 stages (Prescott).

      1. Charles Manning

        n_pipelines != n_pipelines

        Just like MHz is a useless measure of CPU power between different architectures, so is pipeline depth.

        x86 is a horrendous instruction architecture that needs amazing complexity to execute fast. No wonder we're seeing 20 + stage pipelines.

        ARM is relatively simple and thus can execute really well on short pipelines.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Optimistic?

        Thanks, but how about the O-O-O stuff? I thought this was the stuff that's really difficult to get right?

        1. Wilseus

          Re: Optimistic?

          Please forgive my ignorance, but can anyone explain to me what O-O-O means in this context? Google wasn't much help in this instance.

          1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

            @Wilseus Re: Optimistic?

            O-O-O means Out-Of-Order.

            1. Wilseus

              Re: @Wilseus Optimistic?

              Thanks, yes I know all about O-O-O then, I just didn't recognise the acronym!

              From what I can gather that's one of the things that ARM's big.LITTLE can differentiates between: a device ticks over using a low power consumption non-O-O-O core, but switches to a high-performance core when needed.

        2. Named coward

          Re: Optimistic?

          Many modern processors use OoOE, including mainstream x86s and many from ARM (A72,A57,A15 A9, etc). It does require more logic (==silicon) but apparently, using current designs, the advantages are greater than the disadvantages

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From my armchar pundits position...

    ... I can't see how if a company as big as Silicon Graphics was in its day couldn't make this architecture popular enough for it to sell itself , a small company can do it now. I wish them all the best but I can't see them being the next ARM to be honest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From my armchar pundits position...

      They are backed by Intel, you see.

    2. fishman

      Re: From my armchar pundits position...

      MIPS couldn't come out with processor improvements fast enough to keep far enough ahead of x86 to justify the premium cost of SGIs.

      We had a bunch of SGI machines (workstations and servers) back in the late 80's/early 90s and switched over to Linux in the mid 90's.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: From my armchar pundits position...

        We also made the switch from SGI and Sun to x86 and Linux in the late '90s. I don't think the problem was so much architectural improvements, but the cost of building state of the art foundries. Intel had the money from the Wintel duopoly to build the best fabs.

        Then SGI committed suicide by dumping MIPS and going with the Itanic.

    3. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: From my armchar pundits position...

      Despite my grandmother's cautionary response to any gossip: "Were you there?", I suspect I am not the only person who remembers things a bit differently. Never an SGI employee, but a customer both of SGI computers and MIPS processors (for embedded systems). What it looked like from the outside was that some suit in a corner office bet the company on WinNT/(Itanium?), quite possibly without running that idea past the folks in the trenches. I don't recall the exact timing, but SGI also sold the "no use to us" line of Sparc-based Cray supers (that they got bundled with other Cray IP) to Sun, thus kickstarting some of their most serious competition. Reminds me of when Intel fobbed off that "useless" high-performance StrongArm they accidentally acquired from the ashes of DEC, to Marvel.

      There's a wide variety of stupid at the top of many (formerly) successful companies. Rarely do they die of a single cause.

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