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Intel's Answer to AMD's Hammer - Yamhill 544

bdolan writes: "Today's San Jose Mercury News is reporting that Intel is going to put a 64 bit architecture extension in upcoming Pentiums if it turns out the Itanium doesn't take off. Hmm. Apparently they intend to only turn this on if AMD's 64 bit processor make major inroads against the Itanium architecture. Aren't we glad that competition is keeping everyone on their toes."
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Intel's Answer to AMD's Hammer - Yamhill

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  • by Mahtar ( 324436 ) <aborell@gmail.com> on Friday January 25, 2002 @03:56PM (#2902565)
    AMD Guy: Hehe..check out my incredible new processor. It's called the Hammer! What do you have in your box?

    Intel Guy: Oh..er..I have a *unintelligible*

    AMD Guy: What is that? Mumblican? Speak up!

    Intel Guy: *coughYamhill*

    AMD Guy: YAMHILL? Buwhahahahaha! Intel marketing loves you!

    Intel Guy: *cry*
    • Re:Uhh..naming? (Score:5, Informative)

      by djoham ( 93430 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:09PM (#2902677)
      There actually is a basis for this name. Intel has a large presence in the state of Oregon and has a tendency to give their products code names from that state.

      For example, there's the Willamette (a major river, incidentally one of only a handful in the world that run south to north), the Klamath (a county) and the Deschutes (another county and also a national forrest).

      There may be others, but they don't come to mind at the moment.

      As a former Oregonian, I find this kind of cool...

      Best regards,

      • Re:Uhh..naming? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by asterias ( 539706 )
        I would agree that it is cool. Yamhill is just outside of Portland, Oregon. It's not the most exciting place, but it's pretty.... *GRIN* It's nice to see a company using unique names for products. Hammer, Spike... roll over.. Spot! -jp
      • FWIW, the Klamath and the Deschutes are also rivers, and there is a mountain range called Klamath (although it's not in Klamath County or near the Klamath River. I take it you lived on the wet side of the mountains. :-)
      • Re:Uhh..naming? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sl0ppy ( 454532 )
        actually, klamath, deschutes, willamette, and yamhill are all rivers in oregon.
      • by suss ( 158993 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:54PM (#2903081)
        There actually is a basis for this name. Intel has a large presence in the state of Oregon and has a tendency to give their products code names from that state.

        I can't wait for the beaver... all 64 naughty bits of it!
    • Why do people insist on wasting their moderation points on "funny" comments?!

      The chip is code named Prescott. From the article:

      The Yamhill features are being built into the next version of Intel's Pentium chip, code-named Prescott, with an option to turn the features on or off. In 2003 or 2004, when the Prescott chip is expected to be available, Intel will evaluate AMD's offerings and the success of the Itanium and then decide whether to activate the Yamhill code.

      There you have it.
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday January 25, 2002 @03:57PM (#2902571) Homepage Journal
    And to think, even as recently as a year or two ago, Intel was being called a monopoly by the FTC and anti-capitalist socialist greens.

    If this isn't proof that all "big businesses" can be affected by smaller ones, and to let consumers make and break businesses, rather than regulations, I don't know what is...

    Innovation IS CRITICAL to progress. Consumers also want a good product at a price they can afford. While I personally haven't had much luck with AMD products, I know a lot of people who have, and I commend AMD on doing something by themselves that many socialist (democrat) Americans wanted the government to do -- make Intel realize they're not the only fish in the sea.

    • by Pyromage ( 19360 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:05PM (#2902636) Homepage
      It seems your trying to draw a parallel here to the MS case. That is not entirely possible in this instance.

      There is one critical difference: it's possible to clone an x86 processor. They are standard and well documented.

      You can't clone Windows. It is only partially open, with closed file formats and APIs all over the place. Open APIs are often not documented well, or may have undocumented bugs which applications depend on.

      It is possible to make a chip that will run all the same applications as Intel's, and to do so in a reasonable timeframe. However, Wine and LindowsOS are clear counterpoints to that, showing that that CANNOT be done with an OS.
      • I don't believe M$ is a monopoly. The only monopolies we've had historically are ones where the government either mandated a private corporation (telcom, energy, etc), or the government subsidized one corporation and tariffed, penalized, or regulated its competition (Standard Oil, etc).

        Microsoft has many MANY MANY competitors -- the varieties of Unix, the Apple O/S's, etc. The fact of the matter is, the market and the businesses and the consumers PREFER Microsoft's products. I've tried for years to find a product that runs better, faster, and is easier to use than Office, and I have yet to find one. Netscape over IE? Netscape was a P.O.S., on ANY OS I ran it under.

        If your competitors make crappy products, its their own fault. Eventually, M$ WILL HAVE THEIR DAY. They will get hurt, just like Chrysler did without Government intervention, just like many others. Look at MS Network, what a (billion dollar) failure that was.

        OTOH M$ keeps the Computer Consulting industry in business. If everything ran well, do you think the industry many of you is in would be as healthy? Thank God for Nimda I say! Job security for geeks.

        • I've tried for years to find a product that runs better, faster, and is easier to use than Office

          Try Cetus Wordpad.
        • > ones where the government either mandated a private corporation

          You display your ignorance here. You're not honouring the reality that since we, the people, have been more than happy to chip away at our goverments' ability and legal powers to mandate, regulate and punish (an idea that seems to make most rabid free-markerers piss thier pants in fear). Even a passing knowledge of the changes in trade laws and treaties over the past 40 years would allow you to comprehend that companies have more legal rights and powers on the international market scenes than governments themselves. It's real. People don't want to believe it, but it's real. Read up on NAFTA. Read up on any of the recent lawsuits being launched against governments world wide by private corperations, both domestic and abroad. The point is, it's harder than ever for a government to actually regulate the market or a company, due to the enormous size of corperations (and thus their economic leverage), and their successful con of the public at large in convincing Joe Blow that the government is a corrupt, antiquated insitution that does nothing but collects taxes and wastes money. In short, there is neither public support nor legal support for governments to control the markets much, even if they wanted to. The MS case is a good example of this. Another good example is of a Canadian company suing Santa Monica for 1.3 billion dollars in punative damanges, because Santa Monica was forced to buy 80 of their drinking water at a cost of 3 million dollars per year becuase this company's unsafe product contaminated dozens of free water wells. The State of California (along with 9 other states) has banned their product, and thus, is being sued for it. See? It's way beyond governments regulating anything right now .. in fact, it's pretty much the other way around. Companies are successfully changing the laws in our countries, with very little public knowedge.
          • Actually, this one might surprise people:

            The WTO has the legal powers in place to enforce foreign investor state dispute judgements, (read: governements being sued by companies) and do so. A company can get their case heard and settled in under a year.

            The UN can judge on human rights violations, but hasn't one single way of attempting to enforce their judgements. There are simply no international treaties in place to ensure the enforcement of human rights violations. They nailed Peru on wrongfully jailing a woman under terrible conditions for 10 years. They told Peru to let her out last year. She's still in jail.
        • I don't believe M$ is a monopoly.

          Legally, they are. Common sense also says that they are a monolpoly.

          The only monopolies we've had historically are ones where the government either mandated a private corporation (telcom, energy, etc), or the government subsidized one corporation and tariffed, penalized, or regulated its competition (Standard Oil, etc).

          Huh? Pray tell, where was the Government Mandate or Government Subsidy in the United Shoe Machinery case (to pick one past monopoly)?

          United Shoe Machinery (USM) had between 75% and 85% of the shoe machinery market. USM refused to sell it's machinery but only leased, on ten year leases. It also compelled leasees to agree that if they required an additional machines they must lease from USM. USM also provided free maintenance to their machines (or, alternatively, the lease cost included maintenance). The court found that the restictive lease and the free maintenance were barriers to entry by other companies, and removed them from the agreements.

          Not a hint of mandate or subsidy here, yet USM were clearly a monopoly (which is quite legal), and were using that monopoly position to quench competition (which is quite illegal).
    • Intel just aren't as good at being monopolists as are Microsoft.

      But they're better at it than major league baseball owners.
    • Being a monopoly isn't a bad thing in and of itself. Being a monopoly and using that position to squash competition is.

      For example, if intel had refused to ship processors to anyplace that sold amd processors, then intel would have been abusing it's monopoly position and would have gotten it's pants sued off.
    • The free market failed us here... if it was really free, not conditioned by information hoarding (closed, proprietary software, protocols, file systems, hardware interfaces) we'd be running a real 64 bits RISC processor that needed no cooling in our desktops, notebooks and PDAs... this is the history of a obsolete specification enduring too long -- like Windows, BTW.
    • > If this isn't proof that all "big businesses" can be affected by smaller ones, and to let consumers make and break businesses, rather than regulations, I don't know what is...

      Wait. So Intel says, "/If/ smaller company is successful in gaining significant market share and our product doesn't sell, we'll compromise our own technology by slapping down our next generation technology on an already embedded platform that already has a near monopoly despite it being the more expensive, slower (in most benchmarks) choice." I'll give you that the Ps are more stable, but, in general, stability is more of a function of the time the product has spent in the market and its user base rather than pure off-the-factory-line stability.

      How can you possibly claim this is proof of your incredibly sweeping statement that the free-market is the best way when this story is about compromising an innovation by saddling it over an aging platform because of market dynamics and perceptions? This ongoing confusion about what 'innovation' really is irks me. Hint: it's not successfully selling a product .. it's actually being innovative. Since free-market proponants tend to use the best selling product as an example of how the market picks the best product, it's a completely moot, self-reliant argument, and one I'm growing somewhat tired of.

      Probably the funniest thing is that this whole story is about the LACK of success of the Itanium. If free-market economics is the best way, and drives 'innovation', why has the Itanium, having enjoyed an insanely large 1 billion dollar r&d budget, and 7 years of unfettered un-government-meddled un-regulated development turned out to be the kind of flop that has the potential to force Intel into going backwards technologically?!
      • That's how the free market works: products that are ready for primetime, products that consumers wants, products that offer a price point, will sell.

        Products that are before their time, or cost too much, or don't perform any differently than others (in the consumers' eyes) will not sell.

        What happened to Itanium? The average consumer is very happy with a P2 even today, thank you very much, and probably doesn't need more. Why do we need to see the Itanium succeed in order to prove that the free market works?

        I claim this is proof that the free market works because in 1999, the FTC was seriously considering hurting Intel, and what in the end hurts Intel, causes them to innovate, and causes them to make their products inexpensive is COMPETITION from AMD, not regulation from the FTC. Duh.

        • >That's how the free market works: products that are ready for primetime, products that consumers wants, products that offer a price point, will sell.

          Ahhh! You idiot! :) I asked you to prove that free-markets result in innovation, not just selling, and you reply by saying, in a free-market world, the thing that is best suited for selling sells. Well, DUH! My question is, justify that whatever sells is actually an innovation. My point was that, often, to get something to sell, companies must deinnovate. Pure innovation doesn't respect people's abilities to comprehend said thing as an innovation (can you imagine if Einstein wasn't discovered because in order for his research to be folded into the market place and community, he had to sell his theory of relativity?!), nor accept the reality that different things qualify as innovations to different people. Unfortunately, in a free-market world, everyone tends to research and develop things that are going to sell, not what they may (prophetically) perceive as an important to our existance or humanity as a whole. IE, I would say that free-market does not lead to innovation .. it leads to really high levels of selling, and the kind of blistering development that tends to lead to poor platforms, few standards, and populations spending their worth on technologies they dont understand or that ultimately do not improve their lives.

          But that's just my take. My only frusteration is that very few people actually have an idea of how the international market has developed since WWII, and how trade agreements have reshaped the power dynamics between companies and governments over the last 20 years. This is a completely different landscape than it was 30 years ago, and I don't think too many people appreciate that. Much of the true changes in market dynamics has happened under the radar, while people have eaten up the idea of free-market tarriff-free trade as some sort of 'magical' potion to whatever challenge and purpose people perceive the human race exists to serve.
          • Haha. Ok. Trade agreements have destroyed the ability for small companies to compete internationally. The best way for anyone to make money is to be able to make trades with people and companies in any country, with no embargoes, tariffs, or subsidies. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen, because governments all over the world intervene and screw over people in order to help the businesses that donate the most to campaigns...

            Making a product "more technological" is not the only form of innovation. Maybe REDUCING features in order to reduce the price is innovation. Maybe marketing the product in a certain market is innovation. Maybe co-oping with other markets (XM radio in Chryslers or whatever) is innovating. Innovate means "to introduce somethign for the first time." That could mean introducing a fast do-it-all computer for $100, that would be innovative. Or, you could try to sell a fast do-it-all computer that did MORE than everything the average consumer needs, and sell it for $2000. That would be innovating. But if it doesn't sell, and you cut out a few programs, a few hardware peripherals, and sell it for $100, is it deinnovating now?

            Look at the drug companies. When a new drug idea comes out, they spend $20 MILLION to test it. Many of these drugs FAIL. So they continue to test more. Vicodin costs $0.50 a pill to sell, and only $0.005 to make, because you are paying for them to INNOVATE in other ways. How many innovating FAILURES has Intel NEVER told the public about? The cost of the product includes their R&D, and all their failures, but if they make one innovation and 50 failures, we're still ahead.

            Now, if there is NO competition at all, then the company doesn't need to innovate. Regulate an industry, and innovation dies. Companies now make less money, spend more time tied up in red tape, and may even be profit capped. What's the incentive to innovate? Why bother with R&D?

            In the free market, innovation means you may serendipitidly (sp?) invent something that makes you billions. But you need to spend a lot of R&D time in order to find that item before your competition does.

        • What has hurt Intel are two massive blunders, namely:
          -- tying themselves to RDRAM
          -- betting the company on the wrong 64-bit CPU architecture

          Futhermore, Intel is not as skilled at abusing its monopoly as Microsoft is. Over the years Microsoft has mastered the art of leveraging dominance in one market into dominance of other markets: from operating systems into office suites, development tools, and Web browsing, and now working their way into servers, ISPs, gaming consoles and the media. Intel has tried to do something similar, moving into network chips, graphics chips, motherboards, and even software, but they haven't been able to sucessfully diversify. I think the main reason is that the interfaces between pieces of software are very complex and easy to change at a rapid pace, whereas the interfaces between hardware components are not as complex and change more slowly, so it's easier for competitors to make compatible stuff. Also, way back at the dawn of the PC, Microsoft was the sole source for the operating system but IBM insisted on having multiple sources for hardware. This is in fact how AMD first got the right to produce x86-compatible hardware.
      • The Itanium is a flop because it isn't what consumers want. Intel's Itanium is basically an expensive 64 bit chip that runs no popular software. Furthermore, the unpopular software that it does run it generally runs slower than if you were to just go and buy some Pentium chips at your local WalMart. Who in their right mind is going to pay a premium price for a chip that only runs beta versions of Windows and Linux? Not only that, but it runs both of those operating systems slowly.

        In fact, if Itanium were to take off I would take it as proof positive that the free market system is broken. If Intel's clout, money, and marketing were all that mattered then Itanium would be all the rage, but it isn't. Nor is it likely to be all the rage anytime soon.

        Your innovation remarks are another point entirely. Sometimes the market rewards innovators, but only if the innovation is something that people will pay money for. For example, the inventor of the "innovative" new MicroHat (it's a Microwave and fashionable headgear all in one) isn't likely to make billions. Likewise, the Itanium might have an innovative design, but current implementations are almost completely useless. You can run Windows 2000 advanced server on it (slowly), with almost no applications, or you can run Linux on it (also slowly), with a respectable amount of Free Software. Of course, if you are running Linux you have your pick of platforms, and Itanium probably won't be at the top of the list.

        Once again, if the free market system were broken, then it wouldn't matter. Intel could simply force us all to migrate to Itanium.

      • "['innovation' is] not successfully selling a product..."

        Actually that's how my economics textbook in college defined it. Go figure. :P
    • was being called a monopoly by the FTC and anti-capitalist socialist greens
      If this isn't proof that all "big businesses" can be affected by smaller ones
      I commend AMD on doing something by themselves that many socialist (democrat) Americans wanted the government to do

      There is a world of difference between AMDs success against Intel and the issue of Intel's anti-competitive practices. Maybe that is why you had to use all of those ad hominem attacks to encourage folks to judge ideas by the holders of those ideas, instead of the merits of those ideas.

      Editors, do your job and mod that librarian back down.

    • If you're a libertarian, then I guess you don't
      believe in patents?

      Without intellectual property protection of any
      kind, the chip race would simply be: who can fab
      the most cheaply? And, I guess, who can protect
      their secrets?

      Stupid libertarians.
    • If this isn't proof that all "big businesses" can be affected by smaller ones, and...

      Do you honestly believe that Intel, if it were legal, wouldn't snap up AMD in an instant just to do away with the competition? Come now.

    • What crap. And by the way, there is a difference between being libertarian (which has to do with political structure) and being a lassez-faire capitalist (which has to do with economic structure). The ad hominem attacks you make are not only off-base, they also undermine the credibility of your arguments in general.

      It is undeniable from even a cursory study of US business history that government support is not necessary to a monopoly. It is certainly possible for government to create monopolies (such as the cable and telecom franchises that cities award). It is also possible for a company to take advantage of an early lead and ruthless business practices to lock up a market which naturally tends to monopoly or oligopoly (GM/Ford/Chrysler, Microsoft, Standard Oil, etc).

      In such a case, it is not always possible for a consumer to decide the outcome. For example, every bit of oil shipped by train at the height of Standard Oil's dominance required a payment by the rail shipper to Standard Oil. Yes, you read that right, the rail companies had to pay Standard Oil to ship oil from Standard's competitors, or lose Standard's business entirely. Similarly, if I wanted in the mid-80s to buy a machine pre-installed with CP/M, I was still paying to get MSDOS: each computer manufacturer paid MS for every machine produced, or did not get good prices for MSDOS for those customers who wanted it.

      It is necessary for the government to take a largely hands-off approach to businesses - and certainly the government should not be granting monopolies. However, it is also necessary for the government to step in when a market becomes so uncompetitive that consumers cannot change the market because of the use of the monopolist's market power to force acceptance of their products. The alternative is that innovation *doesn't* happen, because there is no incentive for a monopoly to innovate.
  • Turn it on? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnburton ( 21870 ) <johnb@jbmail.com> on Friday January 25, 2002 @03:58PM (#2902584) Homepage
    When they say that they will make this but hope never to turn it on, I can't believe they mean they will put it into the chips but disable it, but that's what it sounds like.

    Presumably they mean that they would have the design ready to add to the chips very quickly should it prove commercially necessary.

    It's nice to hear they have a backup plan. I've always liked intel chips better than AMD for some reason. (Yes I know I'm probably the only one, and I know there isn't any good reason to so don't flame me for that).
    • Re:Turn it on? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MindStalker ( 22827 )
      Any major redesign for a chip is very expensive, but minor changes can be done fairly cheap. So next time they have a major redesign they slap this feature on it. And then its a minor redesign to turn it on.
    • It's nice to hear they have a backup plan. I've always liked intel chips better than AMD for some reason. (Yes I know I'm probably the only one, and I know there isn't any good reason to so don't flame me for that).

      The great irony here is the following:

      When AMD released the specifications of its upcoming 64-bit chips in the summer of 2000, these ``cowboy'' engineers decided that Intel needed to match its rival. They began developing their own 64-bit extensions to the Pentium line, making sure the code was compatible with AMD's design.

      This is Intel imitating AMD, the very same company Intel execs have derided as immitators, recognizing the threat of the upcoming AMD Claw and Sledge Hammers. Another post suggests this compatibility is Innovation. What's innovative, as you noted, is selling something with the big feature turned off. How long before the enlightened OCP weasels figure out how to turn it on and spoild Intel's party?

  • Other Links (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @03:58PM (#2902585) Homepage Journal

    This has been the focus of some stories [theinquirer.net] at the Inquirer as well.

    Personally, I thought that Intel would have been in a good position to just relabel the Alpha 21364 as IA64 and be done with it.

  • Hedging bets. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arthurh3535 ( 447288 )
    I wonder if Intel is seeing what AMD saw over a year ago. Many people are looking at the latest greatest operating system and going... oh. That's nice. Does it run my old program? It doesn't? How do I get my Win98 back on there so it will?

    Non-backwards compatibility was supposed to be a *benefit* for their new chip.

    And now they're suddenly looking at backwards compatibility? Give it ten years *after* and they'll probably be able to *use* a non-backwards compatible chip.

    Score one for AMD's clear thinking. No wonder they're breathing down Intel's neck.
    • Are you saying Athlon XPs are not backwards fully X86 compatable!?

      That's a rather extrodinary claim, and one I'd never heard anything about before. Do you have any sources you could refrence? The only thing google turns up is info on Athlon XP mobos with backwards compatable PCI slots that work with non-ECC DRAM.

      Or are you trying to say Intel's chips are not backwards compatable? I find that equaly unbeliaveable
  • by Hooya ( 518216 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @03:59PM (#2902588) Homepage
    what's with intel's names? celery.. err.. celeron, now YAMhill... where's the beef?
  • Pentium.
    Windows $YEAR.
    Boso..err, wrong field.

    Okay guys, I don't know about you, but, holding with my "ooh, blinkenlights" philosophy, I miss the days when you could properly identify your processor as an [80]486DX266, and not be overtly pedantic.

    I mean, we've even taken a step further in the wrong direction - now AMD doesn't even specify processor Mhz! *WAH!*
    • Of course, when the courts told Intel it couldn't copyright a model number, that is how the mess started. With AMD, although they make that model number prominent, they typically have the clock speed not far.... For technical users, it's still there, for non-technical users, they need something more accurate than MHz to indicate performance.
  • Inaccuracy in media (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zen Mastuh ( 456254 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:02PM (#2902609)
    From the article:
    Intel is wagering on the Itanium, which also processes 64 bits of data at a time and has the added ability to execute many instructions simultaneously.

    Haven't they heard of pipelining and superscalar architecture? Is that statement a result of:

    • Intel's marketing folks having no clue
    • SJMN reporter not doing his homework
    It's quite possible that this processor family makes more advanced use of superscalar architecture and multiple pipelines, but statements like his portray a false idea. I bet we won't see a retraction.
    • I'm guessing you read that and came back here to post in indignation. Probably a good thing, if you have high blood pressure. Among other "gems" from the article:

      "RISC chips not only process multiple instructions at the same time but also run at 64 bits"
    • while internally it might be superscaler - I think what he's getting at is the VLIW instruction set that allows the architecture to expose more of the internal parallelism to the compiler
    • Don't you think that discussions of explict versus implicit parallelism might be beyond the scope of a press release? Come on.

  • Multiprocessor? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by johnburton ( 21870 ) <johnb@jbmail.com> on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:03PM (#2902613) Homepage
    I always wondered why they didn't just put three or four processors on a single chip and have instance multiprocessing. I'm sure they would be able to share some of the components that way and reduce the transistor count below what several separate cpus would costs.

    And interprocessor communication and cache coherency control would all be on the same chip and so probably easier than normal multiprocessor design.

    There is probably a good reason I don't know about so it's a good thing I don't design cpus for a living.
    • Umm, they already do that? Haven't you ever heard of 'integer execution units' and 'floating point execution units' and noticed that there seem to be more than one of each on the chip?

    • Re:Multiprocessor? (Score:2, Informative)

      by clem.dickey ( 102292 )
      IBM's p690 does put 2 processors on a chip.

      But you don't need 2 processors for multiprocessing. "Barrel processors" had one core with multiple contexts (register sets). The contexts would use the execution unit in round-robin fashion. Barrel processors were controlling I/O, where mainframes needed parallelism but not speed. I think CDC PP's and Amdahl channels used them.
    • What I think would be really cool would be to have a MB that can take both Intel and AMD chips, like the old 486 boards. Even slicker would be one that could multiprocessor with both. Then the OS could send the apps that run mostly integer calcs over to the intel processor and apps that are FPU intensive over to the AMD processor. Man, that would be sweet.

      (Yes, I know, I'm living in a dream world and this will never actually happen. Still, it'd be damn cool.)
      • Re:Multiprocessor? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by haplo21112 ( 184264 )
        Totally impossible....P2,3,4 and Athlon use completely different Bus protocols.

        However, its at least possible in theory, and with the right Bios to use Athlons and Alphas on the smae Motherboard...they use the same Bus protocol. Alwas thought that would have been interesting if someone had done that....:>

        No real compeling reason to however.
        • Totally impossible? Come on now. We sent a man to the moon (that is, unless you believe those Fox shows), and you're telling me we can't put two chips on one board and make them play nice? :)

          Granted, the cost would be huge, and the reason small, but that doesn't exactly meet the definition of impossible. Just pick one of the protocol's as the default, and put a BTU (Bus Translation Unit) on the board and let it talk to the other processor.
    • They do. (Score:2, Informative)

      by rootmonkey ( 457887 )
      IBM's power4 chip has 4 processing cores on a chip. Intel and Sun have plans in the works. Intel will do this to follow up with the IA-32 Xeon processor. Here is a story on this [eet.com]
    • Jackson (Score:3, Informative)

      by volpe ( 58112 )
      How is what you're suggesting different from Hyper-Threading [anandtech.com] or "Jackson" technology?
  • put a 64 bit architecture extension in upcoming Pentiums if it turns out the Itanium doesn't take off.

    You know, the more I've heard about Intel's exciting new architecture over the last few years, the more I think someone's been embezzling the R and D funds, and they don't have a goddamned thing to show for it.

    "Johnson, did you finish designing that processor yet?"

    "Johnson's not here, sir. He's on a research trip to Barbados with Jan from marketing."

    • "Johnson's not here, sir. He's on a research trip to Barbados with Jan from marketing."

      Apparently someone has never spent much time in a large semiconductor co's design division. This scenario is much more likely assuming an employee event gets to go on a business trip:

      Manager to Employee: "Your expense report shows you exceeded your $25 per diem for food by $0.75. Next time, please select from one of the corporate-recommended food establishments: Denny's, Carrows, Marie Calendars. Oh yes, and if possible, we encourage you to stay with friends to reduce lodging costs."
  • Wasn't Yamhill one of the hobbit names in The Shire?!
  • If... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IPFreely ( 47576 ) <mark@mwiley.org> on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:04PM (#2902633) Homepage Journal
    Intel is going to put a 64 bit architecture extension in upcoming Pentiums if it turns out the Itanium doesn't take off.

    If it doesn't take off? It takes years to develop that kind of new architecture. By then AMD will have it swept.

    Don't follow AMD. X86-64 is a follow on architecture, and whatever Intel comes up with wouldn't be much better even if it was different. Computers need to move away from that old decrepid IA32 instruction set eventually.

    Intel has a new road and it is not entirely stupid. They are facing the same problem that everyone trying to compete with them has been facing for a long time: compatibility with the installed software base. Either you're compatible and can run IA32 or you're not and you have to come up with lots of other software (enter open source).

    Eventually, CPUs needs to move to better architecture. backwards compatability is good during transition, but shouldn't hold you back too much. Go forth Intel and do what everyone else has had to do for a long time, (gasp) struggle for market share.

    • Re:If... (Score:3, Insightful)

      Apple has done wonders in this area. When Apple moved from the 68k to the PPC architecture, one, yes one of their programmers wrote a 68k emulator that was fast enough to run any of the old software. The switch could have been a disaster, but turned out to be a success in the end. Since that point, the transition from older ppc 603 and 604 to the G3, and then the G4, have been pretty much transparent from a user's point of view. In the initial switch to G3, most of the apps that required a G3 were games, mainly just for the speed benefit.
      • This is a perfectly fine point, but Apple's situation is different because they have a niche following of very, very loyal users. It's not like that in PC land, truly. Attempts to change the instructure architecture of the x86 legacy are an entirely different bag of beans that vast hordes of AOL users could care twidly about. "Going with the x86 legacy" has been the historical lynchpin of Intel's ongoing success. Itanium is a boondoggle. It will fail miserably.

      • The Itanium does emulate the x86!!!!!!

        Just not fast.
    • Re:If... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JoeBuck ( 7947 )
      If it doesn't take off? It takes years to develop that kind of new architecture. By then AMD will have it swept.

      Intel is simply cloning AMD's 64-bit extensions to the ia32 architecture. They've already got it working in-house, evidently, so there's no architecture development needed. The advantage to the users is that "x86-64" code will be portable across both.

      But it would be really humiliating for them to be in the business of selling a clone of AMD's design; it would mark them as a follower rather than a leader. On the other hand, their process technology is better than what's available to AMD, so they could still win with such an approach.

    • If it doesn't take off? It takes years to develop that kind of new architecture. By then AMD will have it swept.

      Just like Intel owned the Pentium market, or the older x86 market for that matter?

      The 64 bit architcture will have an enormous shelf life, and Intel knows that the battle for market share won't be fought now, but in a few years as the chipsets mature, and demand increases.

      So it is well within Intel's interests to follow the Itanium and x86-64 architecture (and hell, they've got the money to do it).
  • by CDWert ( 450988 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:05PM (#2902640) Homepage
    Well I have developed on ITANIUM, (IA64) It leaves some to be desired, it is a first gen 64 for intel in the consumer market though. I ported BOCHS [sourceforge.net] to the
    Itanium, the result can be seen here [sourceforge.net] This may sound loopy at firt but when you look at the backward IA32 incompatibilities, I need a way to test those from within the SAME enviromet.

    The IA64 is a pretty lame first attempt from Intel, In my opion, I actually unlike others who will comment have direct experience, I should be getting access to a Hammer shortly, I have heard VERY good things, AMD's effort is much more likley to be a success for several reasons,

    But the point I am trying to make is it looks like intel has really dragged its feet here, it cant decide if this is a market to be in or not, If AMD come through as I expect they will Intel will have a HELL of a time playing catchup.

    AMD will play to a MUCH broader market than intel can envision, YES I WANT ONE ON MY DESKTOP, And Intel dosent see that market exists YET, then again Intel has never pushed bit copmputing capability, it has almost always lagged at LEAST 2 generations (16 bit when 32 and 64 were availabe) Some of this is vendor support, some of it lack of commitment to it, look at the clock speeds on the Itanium's and tell me, do they really expect this 64 bit pig to fly ?
  • Does anyone know how this new architecture would compare with Itanium? I know AMD doesn't really have a dedicated 64-bit architecture. I'd appreciate it if someone could provide some info.
    • Re:Itanium (Score:3, Informative)

      by hpa ( 7948 )
      Expect it to look a lot like AMD's x86-64 [x86-64.org] architecture, although it will probably be gratuitously incompatible.
      • Re:Itanium (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The SJMN article specifically says that Intel's Plan-B chip is being designed to be compatible with AMD's x86-64.

        -- Guges --

  • Yamhill (Score:5, Informative)

    by sben ( 71467 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:07PM (#2902659)
    For those who care, Yamhill is a small town WSW of Portland [yahoo.com] (the little red star at the lower left).

    Fascinating info can be found at cityofyamhill.com [cityofyamhill.com], naturally.
    • Re:Yamhill (Score:3, Informative)

      by Russ Steffen ( 263 )

      Doubtful that Yamhill refers to the town. Every other Intel codename in the last several years has referred to a NW US river (Mendocino, Klamath, Merced, Willamette, Tualatin, Coppermine, etc...). It seems much more probable that Yamhill refers to the Yamhill River.

    • Re:Yamhill (Score:2, Informative)

      by johnpelster ( 531169 )
      Yamhill is more than that:

      o It is a river in the Willamette Valley
      o It is a county in Oregon

      Like most Northwestern names, it has Native American roots.

      Prescott, the other code name, was an historical figure in Portland. There is a Prescott Street in North Portland and his picture hangs in the Downtown Central Libarary.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2002 @04:11PM (#2902694)
    I am laughing at there choice of the yamhill river for the naming. I live about 3/4 of a mile from the river. They find two headed fish in it, I don't even want to know what will be found in the intel processor.
  • or just the Pentium version, 63.99999999 bits?
  • AMD got ahead of Intel on 64-bit with backward compatibility to IA32.

    So when Intel releases Prescott and turns on the Yamhill features, AMD's 64-bit system will suddenly be incompatible with Intel's 64-bit system.

    There is no chicken and egg, here. Intel will still sell more chips than AMD regardless of compatibility design; then those interested in compatibility will choose Intel to get the larger market to sell their SW into. This will also happen if Itanium prevails, though AMD will have the backward compatibility to help it a little with some markets.

    Intel will win, no matter how many people say on message boards they want AMD.

    The apt comparison is Microsoft and Apple. Enthusiasm and commitment are not the dominant forces of economics.

    • Straigh from the article:
      "They began developing their own 64-bit extensions to the Pentium line, making sure the code was compatible with AMD's design."
      Basicly, for once Intel is trying to make their processors follow a standard defined by another company. My, how the tables have turned. It's really surprising that intel would be this scared, AMD seems very popular among homebrew and budget systems, but in expensive home and business servers, Intel still really outsells AMD.... I guess their Itanium strategy could easily have been blindsided by AMD's better legacy support and they realize that now...
  • I don't know what does. If you're a consumer who's pro intel and you've been waiting for YEARS for itanium to be released. Now, Only for it to be usurped by a stop gap processor to compete with a rival. My god. It's better than the nothing these guys have been waiting for and it will be ESPECIALLY painfull to those software houses who have been porting their flagship product to Itanium for some time now... If this chip yama..whatever is made it won't be a dog because they HAVE to compete not only with the marketshare in the 64 bit arena but more important is the MINDSHARE. AMD delievers and Intel doesnt and they both run Windows. We could see some real interesting things come out of Intel. It would also confirm the rumors I've been hearing for some time now that Itanium is dead after Mickenly.

  • In Tracy Kidder's classic book The Soul of the new Machine he discusses the creation of a new computer at Data General, to succeed their 16-bit Eclipses to a new 32-bit architecture. It was shockingly reminiscent of this case, Intel's transition from 32 to 64 bit machines.

    In the book, Data General starts to design a fabulous new machine, breaking new ground in a lot of areas, when going to 32 bits. This new effort was called 'The Fountainhead Project', and had all of the best and brightest engineers working on it. At the same time, the hero of the book, Tom West, instituted a new project to do a simple extension of the Eclipse architecture, in parallel.

    There was massive infighting between the two camps, and West had to fight tooth and nail for every scrap of resources to build the 32-bit Eclipses; to the point that the machine was almost entirely designed and built by kids fresh out of college because that's all he could afford.

    Needless to say, the FHP failed, and Data General released West's machine to reasonable success.

    The similarities here are almost eerie, except that, of course, Itanium actually made it out the door.

    If you haven't read Kidder's book, it's definitely a great one. Beautifully written, and while the technology has changed dramatically over the last
    fifteen years, the social and business rules are still the same.
  • My favorite part was where they said the Yamhill guys are working to ensure compatibility with AMD's 64-bit vision!
  • Yams (Score:2, Funny)

    In a press conference earlier today, an Intel spokeman confirmed rumors that their latest processor, the 64-bit "Yamhill" is manufactured not from traditional silicon, but is made entirely from yams.
  • by bhurt ( 1081 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @05:34PM (#2903401) Homepage
    Everyone remember the "Intel Inside" marketing campaign? Anyone remember "Authentic AMD"? The Intel Inside campaign was based mainly on FUD and Intel's control over the x86 processor. Since the x86 was a "defacto standard" defined by Intel, only Intel could gaurentee that it followed the standard. If you used other people's CPUs, they might work, but they might not. Better safe than sorry, right?

    If Intel publically implements the x86-64 architecture, while more-or-less simultaneously dropping the IA64 architecture, it will be diaster. It would be publically admitting, in deed if not in word, that AMD controls the future evolution of the x86, not Intel. The best Intel could hope for would be for AMD to gain an incredible amount of credibility- which translates as sales in the lucrative but conservative buisness markets. Even worse, the current positions of AMD and Intel might even be reversed, with AMD being perceived as the flagship processor company and Intel the clone maker.

    Going to 64-bit is rapidly becoming not an option. Many desktop systems are having a gigabyte of memory installed. Even x86 servers often have three gigabytes of ram installed. The server market is even worse off than the desktop market, as all the ram is generally given over to a single application (Exchange, or a database, for example)- and a 32-bit processor simply can not access more than about 2-3 gig of memory in a single application. The big-iron Unix cpus (Sun's SPARC, HP's PA-RISC, IBM's Power-4, etc) all went 64-bit years ago. It's not unusual to see even "moderate" servers of 4-, 8-, and 16- CPUs having tens of gigabytes of RAM already. The only market that still supports 32-bit CPUs is the embedded market- not a market Intel has ever displayed much interest in.

    I figure that the x86 has maybe 3 years to go 64-bit across the board, or we'll be facing another 640K like situation. 3 years is two Moore's Law generations- meaning the people with 1G of memory today will be wanting 4G in 3 years, and the people only getting 256M today will be getting 1G. They'll continue to be hurt in the server market, but they won't lose much in the desktop. Unfortunately, to be 64-bit across the board means the high end needs to be 64-bit within about 18 months (allowing for a Moore's Law generation to push the 64-bit CPUs down the price scale).

    Hammer is in a position to do that. McKinnley is the succeed or die point for the IA64. To use an analogy, Intel will have run out of runway- either it flies, or it'll hit the trees.
    The successors don't matter- if McKinnley doesn't succeed, Hammer will be there to take the sales. If Intel stays in denial and doesn't offer a viable 64-bit path, they'll be in worse shape than simply admitting that they lost.

    At that point, the best thing Intel could do is roll out a Hammer of their own, and plan on less than 50% market share.

  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Friday January 25, 2002 @10:55PM (#2904910)
    First you made fun of Tualatin -- a shitty city to be sure, but also the name of an Indian tribe and a river. I work in Tualatin.

    Now you are making fun of Yamhill. Not only a river, but a city as well, and a major east-west running street in Portland. If you ever come to Portland, check out Yamhill street. Lots of cool stuff, nice place to get drunk.

    Would everyone please lay the fuck off already. We're proud of Intel around here and we're proud of our rivers, cities, and streets. I don't make fun of people who live in New York, even if "York" is a pretty stupid sounding word.

    Grow up, assholes.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @03:55AM (#2905563) Homepage
    The basic problem with the Itanium is that it's a Very Long Instruction Word machine. VILW machines require a compiler that can recognize parallelism, which is hard. Worse, the code has to be such that explicit parallelism helps. If there's a lot of branching, the compiler has to be incredibly smart (and may need profiling data feedback) to do a good job. I went to a talk by the HP compiler guys who were trying to do an optimizing Itanium compiler, and they were having real problems.

    VILW is an old idea. It's been obsoleted by superscalar processors. It turns out to be better to find parallelism at run-time in hardware than to find it at compile time.

    The real reason for the Itanium was to have something that had some intellectual property that AMD couldn't clone, allowing Intel to crank up the price and get their margins back up.

    As for the AMD 64-bit machine, it's entirely vanilla. It's very x86 like, with the same instruction set, a few more registers (yay!), and of course the registers are longer. It has all the obvious backwards compatibility stuff. It comes up emulating a 32-bit x86 machine, so old OSs will run, but can be put into 64-bit mode. In 64-bit mode, it can simulate multiple virtual 32-bit machines, so you can have a 64-bit OS running both 64-bit and 32-bit processes. (Run 32-bit Windows under 64-bit Linux!)

    Wierdly, the x86 instruction set isn't viewed as that bad today. The variable-length instructions aren't that much of a problem to decode any more. Speculative decode takes care of that. One big advantage of RISC architectures was that making all the instructions the same length simplified decode and allowed more look ahead. That's a dead issue. Making the instructions all the same length causes about a 2x code bloat, which is now unnecessary.

    The other big RISC advantage was having lots of registers. Register renaming and caches have killed that advantage. Today, a register is just a short name for a recently referenced variable. There are far more registers inside a Pentium Pro and later than the few explicit ones you can mention in x86 code. In fact, one advantage to not having too many registers is that it shortens subroutine calls and context switches. The machines with huge numbers of explicit registers, like SPARC machines, put a lot of effort into saving and restoring them.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor