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November 28, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

German parallel systems manufacturer Parsytec GmbH, based in Aachen on the Belgian border, has been forced to develop a PowerPC-based version of its GC supercomputer following a dearth of T9000 chips from supplier Inmos Ltd. Parsytec bemoaned Inmos’s inability to ship volumes of the T9000 chip over two years after it was previewed. The manufacturer will itself preview a processing node in January using up to two PowerPC MC601 chips as the central unit, with four T805 processors as communication chips. The company currently uses T805s as central processors in the GC units and has had a T9000-based machine design ready for over two years. The 601-based model, to be launched in March, will run a converted version of the firm’s Parix operating system. It will offer more floating point performance than the T9000 specification, although the communications capacity will be less than on the T9000 model. T9000 units will replace the communication chips when they arrive in volume, and PowerPC 604s will replace the 601 next summer, with 620s available at the end of 1995. Richard Horton, managing director of Parsytec UK, interpreted the move as a spreading of risk, adding that the lack of T9000 chips was a problem. Inmos blames the lack of T9000s on its Newport, Gwent fabrication plant; the site yields low numbers of chips because it is restricted to using 4 wafers. The company is gearing up its 8 wafer plant at Crolles, France, to produce volume quantities of the chip, and is working to increase the speed current ones run at 10MHz, and 20MHz to 30MHz ones are expected in the first quarter next year. Inmos remained unmoved; All they’re doing is satisfying some urgent demand from existing customers, said a representative from the company.

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