Weitek Corp hopes to play a key role in transforming 80386-based personal computers into engineering workstations with its forthcoming Weitek 1167 floating-point co-processor for the 80386. According to Microbytes Daily the 1167 has been designed to deliver performance up to 15 times greater than the 80287 co-processor and two to three times better than the forthcoming Intel 80387 chip. Weitek claims that in graphic applications, an 80386/1167 system can transform and clip up to 60,000 vectors per second compared with only 10,000 per second using the 80386-80287 combination, but still behind the 68020-based stations from the likes of Apollo and Sun, which can transform and clip about 100,000 vectors a second. Weitek reckons that the part will also be useful applications that require massive amounts of arithmetic computations, particularly simulation. Although existing software is compatible, key engineering packages are being recompiled make better use of the 80386-1167 combination. Weitek benchmarks suggest that an 80386 system with a 16MHz 1167 co-processor executes Whetstone tests at 3.4M-Whetstones compared with just 0.22M-Whetstones for an 80386-80287 combination and 0.9M-Whetstones with a 68020 and 16MHz 68881 combination. A DEC VAX 8600 with floating-point accelerator does 5.5M-Whetstones, and an 80386-80387 should do about 0.95 M-Whetstones. Using the Linpack double-precision benchmark, an 80386-1167 system does 0.32Mflops against 0.08Mflops for a 68020 with 68881, and 0.61 for a DEC VAX 8600.
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