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Intel's StrongArm Roadmap 55

Midvale writes "PC Week article about the plans Intel has for the next set of StrongArm chips, .18 micron process, up to 600mHz. These things would be great CPU's for wearable computers." Its nice to see that this isn't gonna die out.
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Intel's StrongArm Roadmap

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    This would make a nice basis for a Linux laptop.

    I'm thinking of something with as nice a keyboard as possible and as low power consumption as possible. A built in modem and ethernet, no floppy or CD, net boot eprom for OS installs and a battery that lasts for ever.

    The screen options could include 640x480 black and white which should be fine for vi/mutt/tin/lynx or emacs and save a lot of batteries (and RAM, which saves batteries) or 1024x768 for the X addicts. I don't think the intermediate resolutions are interesting to Linux users. A tuned kernel that does delayed atime updates and doesn't swap unless it has to to keep the hard disk spun down would complete the picture.

    Has anyone tried putting their .newsrc and mail folders under CVS to keep them synchronised between a laptop and a stationary?

    Erik Corry without his cookies

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So far as powerful enough is concerned, expect
    the new SA's to actually have FP units (or at
    least some of them).

    Quoting from
    "The ARM10T processor is designed to deliver 400
    Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS at 300 MHz, and features an
    optional Vector Floating-Point unit capable of
    delivering 600 MFLOPS."

    As for SMP, that would still be useful, but consider dedicating one SA to the decoding (which
    it should be able to do) and another to the rest
    of the system (have them running async with respect to one another)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's been done -- check out the HP Jornada 820 (sorry, I don't have a url for ya). It has almost exactly the specs you describe, 10-15 hour battery life, and a 190MHz StrongARM.

    Now if only someone would port Linux to it, so that I wouldn't have to use WINCE, it would be an awesome little machine. It seems to me that if we can get Linux running on the little Psion5, the Jornada should be no trouble.

    And yeah, the StrongARM (like all ARMs) is a thing o' beauty.
  • by Yarn ( 75 )
    IIRC they have no SMP ability, could still do a beowulf style thing tho.

    They are nice chips in general.
  • Given ARM's repuation for low power chips... The cooling fan in the Netwinder is there for the sake of the HD, and if I am not mistaken, the support chipset puts out more heat than the chip itself -- and thats at 275Mhz
  • SMP may not be possible but perhaps the can put many small boards in one case and have them run in parallel. There could be a mainboard with some PCI slots and all the ports, and slots where you can plug in these semi-computerboards with the processor, cache, memory sub-system and slots...
    Could work...I wonder if 64bit 66MHz PCI would have enough through-put...hmm
    It's far easier to forgive your enemy after you get even with him.
  • Why would you want to do that? The only reason why Linux should be ported to a handheld is that Linux should get more prestige, as the operating system that runs on more hardware platforms than any other.
    Linux (and other unices) are built for computers with disk drives and a keyboard. Most handhelds don't have neither or the hardware support is poor.
    Another problem is the lack of virtual memory. If there is none, the usual way of letting applications have control of a large memory area of their own is not efficient.
    If anyone is working on an open source operating system for handhelds (that isn't cLinux), mail me. I am interested.
  • They seem to have forgotten Linux on the list of OSes that support the StrongARM processor (Corel Netwinder). It's nice to see that there will most likely be a new generation of faster netwinder machines.

    I have heard that these machines have amazing SMP capabilities. Anyone know anything about this?
  • Uhm.. I meant these PROCESSORS, not machines :)
  • It's got some unusual properties -- relatively high tolerance for hard radiation for one. I read the following use in an AMSAT journal a few months back.

    It turns out AMSAT (the lunatics who build themselves satellites out of parts they find at KMART :) has been using the same ancient 8bit microcontroller on their satellites for some time now, as most ucontrollers are not suitable to the radiation levels in space. But these days .5 MIPS just doesn't cut it, so they went around looking for a better chip -- and found StrongARM. Their next satellite will have a 133MHz ARM, plenty of CPU power to go around.

    I wonder if they'll run Linux :)
  • Yeah, I used to tease my brother when he'd say "millihertz" (meaning megahertz, of course). Now, I'm going to his college graduation this weekend. Hopefully he learned something. ;-)



  • Does anyone know if there is a project to do that ?

    With (the just invented) eGTK (embedded GTK) (well really eGDK but eGTK sounds better). We could have a small machine that could run the same apps as the desktop (same GTK API) and we wouldn't need an X server (at least initially).

  • Your description sounds remarkably like this
    8 processer StrongARM PCI card described here:-

    Personally I think they'd make a great addition
    to my RC5 key speed.
  • I would hate to drive near any of you guys. Mixing MP3s in your car? How about a simple Mp3 player that fist in the space my stereo fits now. Grab the dinky little chip out of the Rio and plug it in. I'd just like to be able to take my MP3s on the road with me, before you stick a Beowulf cluster in my trunk, make me a removeable storage media that costs about as much as a blank CD, is rewriteable, and is about the size of a CompactFlash card. The problem with portable MP3 players isnt the processor, it's the storage, 100+ dollars for a 48Mb CompactFlash card. I'll build the in-dash MP3 player if you get me a cheap removeable media.
  • Well, I have a Netwinder (~280 MHz) and it can
    play back MP3s using about 10% CPU under Linux.
  • Ummmm, the OS plays but a small part in how much CPU overhead is involved in decoding MP3s. It is far more important to have an efficient program than an efficient OS. There will be a point where the OS vs App graphs cross but I doubt that they have yet.
  • Ok yes digtital did some work with ARM and their CPU but acording to the guys who live upstairs where I worked


    they took most of the desighn and then improved it so they could make more money and left digital to their own devices, Digital wail on about itsy but have a look at what

    EPOC has done and will do very clever little OS

    their are people wandering around with the suits I surpose I dont work their anymore always the way tho

    there was mutter about controlers for HD anyone ?

    have fun
  • ARM Ltd (the firm who originally thought of the whole ARM idea and co-developed the StrongARM with DEC) are planning to release the ARM10 core sometime this year. Complete with a FPU. Check out


    for more details. IMHO it looks better than the planned StrongARMs.
  • FYI - I knew that.

    This message is written under an Acorn Risc PC with a StrongARM processor inside it. I've got an A5000, with an ARM3, in the next room.

    When I said 'ARM Ltd designed the whole ARM thing' I meant the people who transferred from Acorn to ARM thus becoming the ARM people.
  • Given Intel's infamous chip-temperature record, I'm not sure I'd want a 600MHz chip in anything that's going to be on my lap...
  • I read something a week or two ago that said there would be a version of BeOS running on StrongARM procs. Cool stuff!

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    I run BeOS. The rules don't apply.
  • I guess it finishes 0.6 clock cycles per second!

  • The way I have mine configured is to encode direct from a ZX Spectrum tapedrive , and decode on the fly. This is done to ensure the maximum hiss.

    Boldy noise reduction circuitry is then utilised to remove this hiss, and provide an 11.1 channel multi aural ( and oral) surround experience.
    The subwoofer is currently made of ivory, so this has some issues and may be replaced with other hard tissue. The good thing is that it can be driven by anyone with an HGV licence!

    This may go into production sometime in the future. Watch for more news!
  • I thank you muchly.

    These giraffe necks will mesh far more pleasantly than the substances I am currently using, and the occasional whiplash should create a good original beat in the rythym.

    I propose that you be given the Nobel prize for music immediately.
  • Sounds like the Apple eMate, which came out two years ago. Of course, getting the touch screen to work under Linux might be a bit hard.
  • I am thinking of creating an MP3 player for my car, based round a handheld.

    I am currently working on a parrallel MP3 coder/decoder, and have had some success on my small 4 node Beowulf Cluster.

    I dont think that a single StrongARM would be powerful enough, so does anyone know if they will support parrallel processes, and if they will work in parrallel - I have not had the time to do more research on this chip.

  • I said ENCODER/decoder

    I am sick of having convert to wav, or other sample type, then encode

    I want my player/recorder to record on the fly

    By connecting it to my cars CD player, I want to be able to play a CD and encode it at the same time - so that I can then put the CD back on the shelf next to my vinyl album collections and act as an efficient dust collector.

    MP3 is THE future of music, the CD's are the archive backups.

  • One CPU is never enough. What you want, is 6 way tandem CPU action!!

    You want to be able to mix 6 MP3s simulataneously, just by using the indicators, and be able to switch musical genres to hardcore rave by pressing the accelerator, and a bit of Mozart when you hit the break.

    Also, I think that you should link the headlights to the VU meter and make them flash in assorted colours in time with the music.

    My monkeys are working on this now, typewriters in hand.

  • This sounds good. Lesbian Beowulf CPU action!
  • I have visited your site

    There seems to be a problem with the stilts that you are using. I would like to donate my collection of old giraffe necks for use as new stilts. They would be far more efficient in a multi-clustered environment.
  • ARM originally stood for Acorn Risc Machine - it was designed by Acorn. The acronym was changed to mean Advanced Risc Machines when it was spun off as a separate company with Apple and VLSI technology.
  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Tuesday May 04, 1999 @09:28AM (#1905457)
    The ARM is one of the few true RISC designs around, with all 32 bit instructions, and all instructions conditional. This is the reason for the tiny die size and low poer requirements. I used to work for Acorn Computers (the "A" in ARM) in the early 80's, and knew the main designer of the ARM - Steve Furber. As of a couple of years ago he was working at the University of Manchester (UK), where he had fabricated a fully asynchronous ARM CPU that he had been working on for years. This is basically a dataflow design, and (potentially) saves huge amounts of power by removing the need to clock the whole chip. The ARM was partly inspired by the 6502 which was what the early Acorn computers were based on, and was minimal enough to practically be a RISC design itself. Ah, the good old days...
  • ..if it too will heat my basement, fry eggs, keep my coffee hot, and make the lights dim every time I start up a process (netscape comes to mind) :-P

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson