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February 23, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has been muttering about migrating to RISC technology for the AS/400 processor for a year or so now, and the company is now talking openly about it, saying that the AS/400 will move to a RISC, but not until several criteria are met. That comes from Keith Slack, director of systems development hardware and technology for IBM’s Application Business Systems division, speaking at the Paris launch of the new RS/6000s. Shipping a RISC-based AS/400 will require a 64-bit architecture – the AS/400 CPU is a 48-bit device, appropriate commercial extensions to that architecture, reliable, high-performance multiprocessors, and changes to the AS/400 operating system to migrate to RISC transparently to the user, Slack said. IBM should soon have its own 64-bit RISC architecture with the 620 PowerPC chip, Slack added. Said John Thompson, IBM vice-president and Application Business Systems general manager, We will implement RISC [on the AS/400], but not until it catches up with the AS/400 architecture, which we think is more advanced… and until we can do it in a way that won’t disrupt the customer’s applications. The new AS/400s of course already use Intel Corp’s 80960 RISC processor in their input-output subsystems, Slack noted.

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