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April 3, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Compagnie des Machines Bull SA began receiving its first 200MHz Red October PowerPC 620 parts a couple of weeks before the March 24 due date (CI 2861). It fired them up and found three major bugs, at least one of them in the area of reset behavior, which it says is a normal expectation for a 1.0 release. Because the bugs are large and observable, fixes have already been hard- wired by the Somerset lab and a 1.1 tape-out should see the next version of the chip delivered by Motorola Inc this month, ahead of the June schedule. Bull plans to attach the 1.0 RISCs to boards and run its cut-down, operating system-like debug environment on them even before it gets 1.1 parts. We understand that Somerset and the rest of the PowerPC club have breathed a collective sigh of relief that Red October has met or exceeded first silicon expectations. IBM Corp’s IBM Microelectronics is said to be defining a more aggressive and strategic role for 64- bit work in a plan it is working up that will describe technologies the company will use up to the year 2000, a plan in which 64-bit architectures would otherwise have been afforded a more general-purpose role, had Red October crashed and burned.

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