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May 10, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

George Rigg and Mike Wodopian from Advanced Micro Devices were in London on Monday to announce that the Am29000 32-bit RISC microprocessor family is now available in the UK (CI No 922) – a bit superfluously since chipmakers these days generally make their new parts available simultaneously on a worldwide basis. The company also said that the recently announced 30MHz version, now available for beta site sampling, would be available here in the third quarter. The microprocessor boasts an on-chip 64-entry memory management unit which performs single-cycle address translation. A 512-byte branch target cache performs on-chip single cycle branching. It also features 192 general-purpose register files, an input-output channel with peak channel bandwidth of 200 Mbytes-per-second plus a four-stage pipeline providing single-cycle instruction execution at 25MHz. AMD claims that for embedded control applications the 16MHz and 20MHz devices can offer more than two times the performance of the new Intel 80960KA system at an equal or lower systems cost. The company also claims success in embedded control applications against the Motorola 88000 – it says the 29000 system with a single chip is at least equivalent in performance but much lower in cost than the Motorola 88000 three chip solution. George Rigg, who is responsible for three of AMD’s product groups including RISC processors, said that he believes the Unix market will expand enormously and consequently AMD has come up with Am29000 implementations of Unix System V.3, as well as Ready Systems’ VRTX embedded real-time operating system. At the moment 80% of the 29000 sales are in the embedded controller market, 10% to 15% are for computer system designs, with another 5% to 10% going into evaluation sites where designers have not yet decided whether or not to use the chip. Mike Wodpian, who is responsible for co-ordinating all aspects of the AM29000 programme, said that he sees the embedded control market eventually accounting for approximately 65% of total sales, with the CPU market accounting for the remaining 35%. Prices range from $174 for the 16MHz version, $230 for the 20MHz and $360 for the 235MHz. Meantime in the US, Advanced Micro announced that Embedded Performance Inc, San Jose, California had joined the team of third party vendors developing support tools for the Am29000. Embedded’s support tools include an optimising C compiler, instruction simulator, source level debugger, macro assembler, linker/locator, librarian, assembly level symbolic debugger, and a System 29000 Development Station. The last-named is a modular Am29000 development system that can be configured to meet specific applications, including any combination of Software Execution Vehicle, Target System Debugger and Real-Time Histogrammer, plus a logic analyser with tracing for 192 channels, including all address, data, instruction and control busses of the Am29000. And SBE Inc, Concord, California will use the Am29000 in its next generation of data communications products. The $12m-a-year company offers families of single board computers and communications products for use in real-time, data acquisition and control applications.

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