MIPS Computer Systems Inc, Sunnyvale, California, which has just signed the first commercial distributor for its reduced instruction set processors, is promising similar deals to come in continental Europe. Buckinghamshire systems company TIS Ltd says it has been looking for a year to find systems that would extend its current range of Convergent Technologies supermicros up to markets requiring 60, 100 or more users on a single machine. We evaluated every machine on the market, says managing director Bill Fish and came within an inch of signing up for a multiprocessor machine. The MIPS M/800 and M/1000 systems, however, convinced them that reduced instruction set computers would be the technology to supplant the traditional minicomputer with high performance supermicros – a typical M/1000 configuration will cost under UKP100,000, said TIS. According to Bob Miller, president and chief executive of MIPS, who until April was number two at Data General under Ed de Castro, a successful RISC machine has three main ingredients: VLSI technology; a good architecture to achieve small multiples of instructions per cycle; and good compiler technology to generate the code. Miller predicts that MIPS’s 10 MIPS performance today could soon be increased to 20 MIPS with the implementation of 1.2 micron technology like that of the 80386, a development likely to be announced early next year. Miller looks for 100 MIPS performance by 1990, and with Gallium Arsenide, multiple hundreds of MIPS. He also confirms that MIPS is talking to semiconductor partners with a view to licensing technology and the manufacture of chip sets, but says the deals will not involve any equity. TIS is now working to integrate its two ranges, so that all standard software packages are available. TIS also hopes to benefit from MIPS’s OEM policy – particularly specialist machines such as the MIPS-based RC Computer A/S fault tolerant machines, which TIS says could be very attractive to some of its corporate customers such as the Stock Exchange – with software in place and experience of the MIPS chip, TIS feels it would be in a good position to sell on such products.
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