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March 19, 1998

INTEL SPEEDS UP THE I960 CHIP BY ADDING MORE CACHE

By CBR Staff Writer

Things are looking somewhat bleak for Intel Corp’s ten year-old i960 embedded processor now that the company has reached an agreement to produce, sell and enhance the StrongARM version of the Advanced RISC Machines Ltd chip it acquired as part of its recent settlement with Digital Equipment Corp (CI No 3,354). But Intel insists there is life in the part yet, and has launched a new, higher performance version, the i960 JT, derived from its existing JX part. Priced at $35 each for quantities of 10,000, the JT runs at up to 100MHz and quadrupled the on-chip instruction cache 16Kbyte and added a 4 Kbyte data cache, while keeping the part code-compatible with older i960 JX chips. It delivers 45 MIPS per Watt at 33MHz, says Intel. With the launch, Intel also announced a new packaging option for the i960, a mini plastic ball grid array – about the size of a dime – making it a candidate for small form factor applications, and for remote access equipment such as ADSL modems where higher port densities are needed in small spaces. Intel says inkjet laser printers, multi function peripherals, routers, hubs, switches and RAID controllers are also target applications for the chip. The low clock speed options, which start at 16MHz, are intended to make system design easier and to cut costs.

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