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  • #16
    A lot of the Alpha designers ended up going to AMD and helped design the original K8 (Athlon 64), if my memory serves correctly. Some very smart guys.

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    • #17
      Dirk Meyer, the current CEO of AMD, was actually the co-architect of the EV4 and EV6 Alpha processors.

      Before DEC/Compaq started its downward spiral, there were plans for a single motherboard/chipset to be able to support both Alpha and AMD CPUs. Remember Slot-A Athlons? Well, there were Slot-B Alphas, and Alpha motherboards using AMD chipsets.

      Too bad they never got to the stage of producing motherboards that could actually swap CPU architectures.

      Check out links listed here for more info: http://alphalinux.org/wiki/index.php/Press_Coverage

      There are lots of other cool AMD-Alpha related things that I'll let you discover on your own.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by mattst88 View Post
        Dirk Meyer, the current CEO of AMD, was actually the co-architect of the EV4 and EV6 Alpha processors.
        Bingo. Dirk is running AMD now.

        It's pretty neat having a company this big run by a CPU architect... the executive meetings are actually interesting for a change

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        • #19
          Originally posted by bridgman View Post
          RISC *is* the future of computing. It's just a lot more convenient if the RISC processors are hidden behind an x86 instruction decoder
          Care to explain why it can't run RISC directly? Since I am using Linux with FLOSS drivers anyway, I would like it if I could just flip a switch in the BIOS saying; RISC.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
            Care to explain why it can't run RISC directly? Since I am using Linux with FLOSS drivers anyway, I would like it if I could just flip a switch in the BIOS saying; RISC.
            Probably there's just one way in for the instructions to the processor, so they have to go through the x86 decoder and as such must be in CISC form. I'm no expert, but I think RISC and CISC refer to the design of the chip and how it does things, so you can't really convert a CISC cpu into a RISC one just by toggling an option in the bios. If you want Linux on a RISC cpu get yourself an Alpha, or something more pratical like anything with an ARM cpu in it or a pre-intel Macintosh (PowerPC only, motorola 68K is CISC). The Wii, XBOX360 and PS2/3 all use RISC cpus as well and I think you can run Linux on those.

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            • #21
              Well, the entire point of RISC is speed. Getting an older/slower RISC CPU, like Arm, would beat the point as I have a Phenom 9950 X4 CPU.

              It's probably just a nerd/geek thing to like it, but...

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              • #22
                Couple of reasons, I guess. The first is that the RISC processors behind the instruction decoder don't handle things like flow control (branches, jumps, loops etc..) since that is all implemented in the instruction decoders. The second is that each new generation of GPU would require different RISC code (since the number and type of execution units varies from one generation to the next) and without the instruction decoder presenting a consistent programming model all of your code would need to be recompiled each time up upgraded your CPU.

                GPUs share the second problem, but since the graphics world essentially uses an interpreter for state and drawing operations, plus a JIT compiler for shader programs, that hides the (constantly changing) instruction sets behind a driver layer.

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                • #23
                  Devius's point about there not being a data path to let instructions flow directly to the processing units is also valid.

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                  • #24
                    This sucks =(

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
                      Well, the entire point of RISC is speed. Getting an older/slower RISC CPU, like Arm, would beat the point as I have a Phenom 9950 X4 CPU.
                      Fine... you can get an IBM BladeCenter QS22 which has 2 PowerXCell8i CPUs at 3,2GHz in it and can run linux. You can also upgrade the cpu you have now and be happy knowing there are tiny RISC units in there Oh, and ARM is quite powerfull considering the amount of power it uses.

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                      • #26
                        Unless Intel/AMD standardized on a RISC format, it would mean you would need separate compilers and executables to run a program on every different model of CPU, which would suck. And if they did agree on some kind of standard, it would probably need to go through a decoding process anyway, at which point you aren't gaining much from the current CISC decoder.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by devius View Post
                          Fine... you can get an IBM BladeCenter QS22 which has 2 PowerXCell8i CPUs at 3,2GHz in it and can run linux. You can also upgrade the cpu you have now and be happy knowing there are tiny RISC units in there Oh, and ARM is quite powerfull considering the amount of power it uses.
                          So it all boils down to this:
                          1. Am I happy to have a RISC CPU that works like CISC?
                          2. Do I like raytracing more than having a car?
                          3. Am I going to build a Beowold cluster of cheap ARM CPU's?

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                            RISC *is* the future of computing. It's just a lot more convenient if the RISC processors are hidden behind an x86 instruction decoder
                            thats the here and now... but in my point of view an VLIW chip can hurt an RISC one...

                            so an VLIW cpu like the HD5870 or the gtx480 are much more stronger than any CPU based on RISC with CISC emulator..

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                              Bingo. Dirk is running AMD now.

                              It's pretty neat having a company this big run by a CPU architect... the executive meetings are actually interesting for a change
                              the very smart move of fusion is bringing an VLIW core with APU into the X86 core.

                              in my point of view a tiny fusion 18 watt chip can beat an corei7 intel cpu if the software is well writen in openCL ... thats because the dualcorex86+VLIW APU beat the corei7...

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Qaridarium View Post
                                thats the here and now... but in my point of view an VLIW chip can hurt an RISC one...

                                so an VLIW cpu like the HD5870 or the gtx480 are much more stronger than any CPU based on RISC with CISC emulator..
                                Intel certainly thought so when they created Itanium, but it never took off.

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