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May 12, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:08pm


By CBR Staff Writer

In answer to the predators in its high-end workstation market that come brandishing shiny new Pentium II processors, Silicon Graphics Inc has revealed two new generations of MIPS RISC microprocessors for its own machines. The new H1 processors in the pipeline start with a family that includes a 0.25 micron device which will deliver 5Gbps throughput, equivalent to the industry’s ‘highest main memory bandwidth.’ But the H1 processors, due in production by 1999, will, by the year 2001, be eclipsed by the H2. Company bosses are tight-lipped about details but expect to use the vector processing requirement used in its Cray Research vector supercomputers. At the same time, a major drive into commercial markets is planned by handing over responsibility for development of all other MIPS devices to partners supplying the commercial and games markets. It is wooing them with the R12000, a pepped up development of the MIPS IV architecture, which will be available in speeds up to 300MHz by mid-1998. The company clearly believes that the boost in royalties will offset losses by having partners handle sales to the volume markets. Aware that its own markets could be vulnerable to Pentium II’s multimedia capabilities, Silicon Graphics own MIPS processors will be equipped with ‘Mad Max’ – or MDMX – extensions. The word is that the H2 will include on-board techniques for scaling to configurations of 1000s of processors. It will have between 25 and 30 million transistors and is scheduled for 2001. The company expects a rising stream of cash from partners supplying booming markets such as those for games consoles such as Nintendo64 and Sony Playstation, set-top decoders, and handheld and notebook computers. IBM Corp, moving to strengthen its future in network computing, says it will buy the remaining 30% of the Advantis data network services business from partner Sears, Roebuck & Co for $450m. IBM currently owns 70% of the business that the two companies formed in 1992 to provide network, data processing and value-added telecommunications services to US-based customers. IBM says that the purchase reflects the company’s belief that network computing will become increasingly significant to its revenues. The sale will allow Sears to focus more on its core retailing business.

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