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Yet another US computer industry bastian, that of the high-performance merchant microprocessor, looks doomed to capitulate to Japan Inc. Up to now, no original Japanese microprocessor has made a dent in the hegemony of Intel with its iAPX-86 family and Motorola with the 68000 series, but NEC Corp is determined to establish a bridgehead with its V-series of parts that are upwards-compatible with Intel’s 8088. According to Electronics magazine, NEC Corp, which is only now sampling its first true 32-bit part, the V70, is already planning to introduce a 10 MIPS V80 at the top of its line next year. The design of the V70 has been simplified to eliminate the on-chip cache memory, and the part is now expected to deliver 6 MIPS, and to integrate 385,000 transistors, only modestly more than the 375,000 of the 16/32-bit V60. But the V80, to be fabricated in leading edge 1 micron CMOS, will integrate 700,000 transistors, and threatens tough competition for Motorola’s 68030, already previewed, and for Intel’s unannounced 80486.

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