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January 22, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:48pm

DEC SEMICONDUCTOR DIVISION READIES 600MHZ 21264 ALPHA CHIP

By CBR Staff Writer

Digital Equipment Corp’s Semiconductor division has apparently been pressing the pedal to the metal. At the IEEE International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco early next month the firm is supposed to describe a 600MHz 21264 (EV6) Alpha chip that does an estimated 40 SPECint95 and 60 SPECfp95. Such performance would be substantially better than the 500MHz 21264 it described at the Microprocessor Forum back in October (CI No 3,007). That part was estimated to be worth 30 SPECint and 60 SPECfp. The 600MHz part, due in the fourth quarter, is expected to power up in the next month or so – and would also be hotter than the 500MHz dissipating 72 watts versus 60 watts. As far as we know the 15m transistor part is DEC’s fist go-round with a six-layer metal process in 0.35 microns. The 500MHz chip was supposed to sample in the first quarter and go into volume production in the second half. The 500MHz 21164 is done in an 0.35 micron process but it uses 0.5 micr!on design rules, in other words a shrink. On the other hand, the SA-110 StrongARM RISC is done in 0.35 microns using 0.35 micron design rules but doesn’t use six layers of metal. Not only is DEC Semiconductor pushing ahead with its 21264 high-end chip, it and Mitsubishi Electric Corp have apparently been making strides with their Klamath competitor, the low-cost high-volume 21164PC chip (CI No 3007). Sources say the partnering companies have pushed it to 530MHz, for an estimated 15 SPECint95 and 20 SPECfp95, up from the 14 SPECint and 17 SPECfp they thought they could achieve from the 450MHz chip described at the Microprocessor Forum last year. 530MHz was quoted in particular, because 33MHz is this decade’s magic number – a multiple of PCI bus frequency 528. The 21164PC should support MPEG-II encode and decode capabilities because of the 13 new instructions that have been added to the Alpha architecture.

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