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  • sicofante - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    What's the meaning of IP here? Thanks. Reply
  • Homeles - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Intellectual Property.
  • SydneyBlue120d - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Is there something like Mali, PowerVR and so on? And what about Cell modems (LTE and so on)? Thanks. Reply
  • Arnulf - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    This is precisely why AMD should be the buyer of MIPS. They can contribute their (ATI's) GPU expertise and AMD's with hybrid processing ... this would be a killer combination. Reply
  • quadrivial - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I agree that AMD and MIPS could be a great combination. I don't know if they could outbid China.

    The Chinese scientists who started the first (or at least the first to make tech news headlines over here) major Chinese-designed processor had the pick of any architecture they wanted (they weren't paying licensing fees anyway) and they still chose MIPS for the Loongson processors (which are now in devices ranging from small consumer devices to a petaflop supercomputer).
  • Penti - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    AMD/ATi already sold their mobile GPU business to Qualcomm and Broadcom respectably and has none left. They couldn't contribute a great deal here. As they already did to the field. These chips and MIPS Tech itself doesn't compete for the mobile space and any third party building such solutions will use basebands with ARM-cores and normal third party Silicon-IP GPUs. AMD also got rid of their MIPS-based network processors a good while ago. Those building MIPS network processors also do their own architectures (designs) and only license the ISA/Patents. They do things like 16-core 64-bit MIPS processors. Sigma Designs is one company that uses MIPS IP-cores with PowerVR graphics. Some also use Vivante IP/synthesizable GPUs. No different to ARM here except maybe less choice in the market and that it is up to Qualcomm or Broadcom to ship cores with Adreno or Broadcom Videocore/Xilleon. They won't be delivered as IP cores.

    Also while Broadcom and Qualcomm greatly build on and enhanced their custom design (gpus) from AMD designs that where not exactly Radeon based but other custom designs to develop them into to highly developed and fast gpus, for example nVidia didn't really do that by building "geforce-based" gpus on Tegra where it is greatly under powered and the wrong design for mobiles pretty much. AMD gpus would be disastrous to scale down too. Plus they can sell x86/x64 CPUs / APUs with AMD GPUs for the Android tablet market or Tablet PC market already. They have no reason to go ARM or MIPS (again) just as Intel has no reason to go back to ARM (XScale). They might for servers, but not clients. They can deliver other solutions based on their existing tech there.
  • Guspaz - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    MIPS doesn't make the SoC, just the CPU. There's nothing stopping anybody from putting a PowerVR GPU into an SoC with a MIPS CPU.

    Think about it this way: ARM makes the Cortex A9, but they don't make any chips. nVidia makes the Tegra, TI makes the OMAP, Samsung makes the Exynos, Apple makes the A series, etc. The same thing is true here with MIPS. They just give you a set of blueprints for a CPU and you make it yourself.
  • sheh - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I had the impression all those routers were running ARM. What's that about no multithreading on ARM? In terms of something like Intel's Hyperthreading?

    BTW, "upto" -> "up to".
  • Arnulf - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Most use MIPS chips (something along the lines of an R4000 relative). Reply
  • Jaybus - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Yes, I believe so. ARM has only test-and-set, etc primitive instructions for atomic operations, meaning the OS is essentially performing all aspects of multithreading and context switches are expensive. Unlike x86, it has no hardware allowing for fast context switching. Reply
  • sheh - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Even a Pentium 1 (if not even 486es or 386es, although with some missing useful instructions) can do preemptive multithreading fine, so it seems unlikely modern ARM CPUs are incapable of that much. There are also multi-core ARMs which by definition are multithreaded, so the article must be referring to something more elaborate, no? Reply
  • quadrivial - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    MIPS licensees have some beastly processors designed for networking. One example company is Netlogic

    Interestingly, AMD had a MIPS license and may still have one as the company that purchased the MIPS division in 2006 (back when AMD was selling several divisions to make ends meet) already had a MIPS license.
  • Penti - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    AMD's Alchemy MIPS line ended up with just that company NetLogic Microsystems via RMI. It is totally unremarkable and pointless if they are still a MIPS licensee or not, there are several x86-licenses not used too. Intel is still (ARM11/ARM7) a ARM licensee too. They would still need to license the synthesizeable IP-cores if they don't like to make their own architecture/design. MIPS doesn't list AMD as a licensee however. Broadcom itself has some impressive MIPS designs and happen to own Netlogic. Reply
  • quadrivial - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    I agree with you on almost everything.

    The big game changer here is a new focus on mobile combined with non-competitive chips. AMD has a game plan for laptops (trinity). AMD has a plan for desktop and servers (piledriver).

    What is AMD's move for tablets and smartphones? The best current option is the 28nm shrink of Brazos. That chip will be a possibility for tablets, but it will be too power hungry for phones. A redesign for lower power is too time-consuming (a couple of years). The better option could be to pair an existing CPU with an existing GPU. The Brazos GPU would work and, as a bonus, would be very competitive even if the processor launched in a few months (and adding another shader array wouldn't be too difficult). On the CPU side, an already-designed MIPS processor could be a great match. Power consumption and die size would decrease while performance would remain about the same (future integration of x86 like that done with Loongson would be possible if desired). In addition, companies that are skeptical of the x86 label on their mobile products would be satisfied.

    The question seems to become one of "what's the cost of a buy-in?"
  • Penti - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    They have chips and chips coming that is just fine for Tablet PCs including x86 Android tablets. Intel's work should prove useful there. Remember the iPad 3gen has a 42.5 Whr battery. That is more then low end laptops or ultraportables like 11" MBAir. They don't need phone IP they only look at ARM for server use as I said in some other post under this article. They already sold off their mobile gpus to Qualcomm and Broadcom and just shrinking their GCN design wouldn't really work if they like to do it in a few hundreds mW. Nvidia isn't terribly successful doing the same. GPUs that ATi and AMD sold where designs aimed at that market. AMD only needs to compete against Atom chips with PowerVR-graphics here. AMD has no interest in emulating x86 in software like the Chinese that has no Intel x86 license. They might want to run ARM-binaries in Android like Intel's platform though. Remember the manufacturing arm of AMD Global foundries already manufactures ARM processors for other companies and is an ARM licensed manufacturer. Brazos is manufactured at TSMC and AMD is already moving towards real synthesizable x86-cores. Intel is busy manufacturing their own stuff. There are no MIPS-processors design for AMD's GF plants really. Foundries is important here. When it came to Godson and Loongson they where manufactured by a MIPS licensed plant even if they where custom designs. When you choose a design that is ready it needs to be tooled for the specific fab. That's why players like Nvidia stuck with 40nm LP and LPG a long while.

    Look at AMD's upcoming Tamesh as far as tablets and thin and low power ultra-portables is concerned. They are looking at integrating GCN instead of the current Brazos Evergreen/VLIW-5.

    Designing a low power CPU would be far easier then to employ a new team of a few hundred engineers to build a new GPU-architecture just for a flawed MIPS/Mobile solution they don't need. AMD already has a two track approach and designs two different x86-64 processor cores/designs. One of which is highly synthesizable and low-powered. They only has one GPU-architecture track however. So they can already target what they need and spends their resources wisely. APU's is where they are heading and they have no reason to deviate they need to concentrate on making those great. These MIPS-technologies cores isn't even proven designs. The Chinese has their own designs on the devices running Android. AMD doesn't need to target phones just because Intel does or Freescale (ex Motorola) does and so on. A tablet does fine with a sub-5W APU. 50 Whr battery divided by 5W is just 10 hrs of computing as far as the SoC is concerned add in all the peripherals and it is still easy to hit the magic about 10 hrs. For certain uses. A SoC idling at 2-3 W and a screen using 5 Watts at max brightness get you longer then most ultraportables. That is laptop sizes machines. If they can do better great, don't think most OEM's care enough though. No need for sub-1W there. It's not really competing against ARM-machines if it is running Windows or x86-Android. It can hit the tablet form factor of those ARM-tablets any ways. Those wishing to run phones on x86 has Intel to turn to in the next year or so. You will see larger chips running tablets though. AMD can compete fine with Atom/Nextgen-Atom there. It is still a potential market of millions of units. Millions more when you factor in embedded market and low-end laptops which share the design.
  • quadrivial - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    AMD doesn't need to shrink its GCN design. Mobile GPU design is doing what desktop GPU design has already done (at a slightly accelerated pace and with some of the experimentation being unneeded as it was already done as well). Nvidia used an older GPU model with some newer efficiencies added for Tegra2/3. AMD's older/smaller designs (such as an 80 shader VLIW5 core from Brazos) are very similar to the "new" and "innovative" designs such as the Mali 6xx, Adreno 3xx, SGX6xx, etc. There's no need for AMD to spend too much money or resources to reinvent the wheel for either x86 or MIPS-based chips (MIPS has standard "slots" to drop-in GPU's and other co-processors). AMD need only modify an existing design (though the possibility of using a new architecture still exists).

    AMD already does x86 emulation. They don't call it that and keep the ISS to themselves, but all the complex x86 instructions are decoded (actually re-encoded) into another instruction set (so-called micro-ops) which then allow a RISC architecture that hardware emulates them. The advantage of AMD doing such with MIPS is twofold. The first is that AMD has all the x86 experts and raw IP, so unlike China, AMD has a much better chance of making the hardware execute at the same rate as current "x86 only" chips. The second is that adding another architecture (MIPS) as a superset of x86 means that the superset architecture gains wherever x86 falls short and still incurs no penalties. That is to say one could run an x86 OS and then run x86 code, but MIPS code made for MIPS only chips (specifically low power chips where decoder units use too much power) would also run on the x86 chips. This gives a clear path to migration from x86 to the better architecture (and with the current ARM scare, that's a huge marketing point).

    AMD has stated quite clearly that there future's in mobile. Giving up the biggest mobile market (when there's still no "winner") isn't good strategy.

    AMD is not tied to any fabrication process (the sold the remaining shares in GF). AMD only goes with whoever is cheapest while meeting the required specifications. MIPS designs have been proofed on 28nm TSMC (Brazos is 40nm TSMC fabrication, and the current 28nm GPU designs are made with TSMC in mind as well). The idea that MIPS would release designs that "aren't proven" is not completely logical. AMD and Intel can launch "unproven designs" because they design them and then sell them. MIPS designs, but relies on other companies to license and make the chips. If the company's engineers don't like the samples or design (not a group that is likely to be affected by a "MIPS inside" logo), then they can't turn a profit (for this reason, in addition to their reputation in the market, they have huge incentive to make good designs).

    AMD has a chance with Brazos, but not beyond tablets. Even in the tablet market, there's the same problem that Intel is facing. Atom was forced to lengthen the pipeline to reduce decode power consumption, but that also made for branch prediction and performance penalties. In addition, Intel was forced to have only one core (two with HT). The net effect is that Krait (and presumably A15) with 2 real cores each having better coremark/MHz have better performance while using less power. AMD will face huge performance per watt issues when going against either ARM or MIPS (an issue that won't ever completely disappear as long as x86 is used and will continue to be significant for a couple more fab sizes past 28nm).
  • Penti - Sunday, May 13, 2012 - link

    Hardware is not emulation, Loongson does hardware accelerated QEMU x86 emulation. It only does it that way because software projects doesn't need to worry about the semicompanies going after them. A x86 front end is always an x86 front end. It's the decode hardware they are not allowed to build. There is still a similar front end on RISC or VLIW cpus. You don't design cpus by putting together a few TTLs or ALU chips any more.

    Scaling down AMD gpus makes them perform awful that was the only point and they still are quiet different to tilebased GPUs or their mobile drivers. An AMD GPU with just a few SPs can be outperformed by todays mobile gpus. AMD isn't trying to do anything under tablets and thats fine, I'm not sure what your trying to get at. I'm saying they shouldn't target anything less and they already has two separate CPU designs going on. Two cores is enough for them. It's more then Intel has for x86 almost considering there hasn't been a real architectural update to Atom yet. AMD is already designing new low power cpu architecture (Jaguar core) and a separate and different server/desktop architecture (Steamroller-line). AMD has no reason to go cooking VLIW-5/ARM or VLIW-5/MIPS chips regardless of who fabs them. They would have much less work saying to produce ARM with GF physical IP and Mali-gpus and just support a SoC that has all the software and tools done from the partners already. Not much use for it either. But others can do that and do much cooler stuff. Design/fab choice needs to happen a few years in advance though as you use tools / libraries aimed at a particular fab and process. That is why they can only fab Brazos at TSMC and Trinity at a couple of GF plants and so on. Even a highly synthesizable design requires a lot of work to move to another fab to do a tapeout for a totally different process with different transistors and fab specific tools and libraries. You don't shop around in the middle of a product cycle. Even old style die-shrink takes a lot, something like Ivy-Bridge even more (3D-transistors) and move over to another fab and use other tools even more.

    Many MIPS-vendors are like Qualcomm (a MIPS-vendor too) with Krait their own custom design, fabs with licenses also has their own designs based on the physical IP from MIPS/ARM for that matter. I'm sure the new mips designs will be great as MCUs. What ISA they speak is essentially meaningless as long as the tools (compiler, platform etc) supports it. A current 80 SP VLIW-5 AMD GPU uses more power then a 4/quad core Cortex A15 + Mali-400 MP4 overclocked + on-package DRAM together. RMI even used a Mali-GPU with the ex AMD MIPS design and I'm sure AMD could even license it for an mobile x86 SoC. If they really wanted to. They at least has no reason to start developing a mobile gpu/drivers. Their expertise in the field is found at Qualcomm and Broadcom today. It's substantial work to make a redesign of their architecture, write drivers suitable that performs good and it is really needed to target really low powered SoCs. There is no reason to disparage against x86 here, the 2007 Atom architecture made it into phones just fine a newer with updated architecture handles multicore just fine. ARM designs aren't made with 100 000 transistors any more. AMD only need to compete against Atom tablets and laptops here. They are not planning on selling any mobile (phone) chips. Intel will eventually do that again (the first Blackberrys used embedded 386-processsors for that matter) in some real way. AMDs Jaguar core will have other frontend and decode hardware then Steamroller and Piledriver for that matter. Features doesn't make the GPUs alike at all for that matter. Remember AMD didn't sell off their (now) Adreno gpus until 2008 they where very well aware of the market they divested from. If they would like to have done mobile they would had continue selling their IP to Qualcomm and others. Would have partnered with someone if they wanted to direct their own mobile SoC with their own then mobile gpus.

    You seem to forget that that x86 has surpassed almost everything, it performance better then the advance RISC-chips with SIMD and hw-virtualization or for that matter EPIC. It also does quite well as far as embedded solutions are concerned. Compilers perform great with x86 too. (Intel MIC/Larrabee uses 50 RISCy Pentium cores, 2007-era Atom is down to ARM-levels in terms of power consumption with Medfield which is a true SoC with gpu/video-encode|decode/ISP/Memory controller/IO). Intel's chips aimed at tablets will have a higher power consumption though.There is were AMD comes in nowhere else. Adding MIPS in the front-end would be useless here the firmware situation would be awful. The cpu would still speak AMD's macroops nothing else internally. Next year you will have dual-core "Medfield" Atom by just a die-shrink basically for that matter. That is what 28nm Krait is up against. Not the past.

    If AMD does anything significant it is to offer ARMv8 64-bit server SoC's.

    There are plenty of winners in the mobile field. It's dominated by companies such as TI, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Freescale, Renesas, Samsung, ST-Ericsson (STMicro plus old EMP-group) and so on. They have literally made billions and billions of chips. If they (AMD) can't do stuff better then domestic Chinese tech companies that turns out ARM and MIPS solutions they should of course stay out from doing the same thing and trying to compete with the same stuff. There are 2-3 really big fabless mobile SoC manufacturers already that dominates the market. We don't need AMD to come to the table when their old tech and sold off tech is already powering those businesses that succeeded. I would for that matter love for Intel to design their own gpus for the mobile market/SoC but they reasonably can't. AMD did and sold their business doing it with much success following that technology. They have no reason to start over fighting bigger fabless businesses with their old technology powering them. When you exit something you quite for a long while, even if you like to come back.
  • obiwanbill - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    What is "OTT streaming?

    Maybe ... "Over the ??"

    My reco would be this ... Since you are PA (posting articles) and basically anybody, AAUASL (at any understanding and skill level), reads your articles ... on TFUOAA (the first use of an acronym) you should really include the FT (full text) for the acronym.

    I know, you MNUTAA (might not use the acronym again) in the article, but like others reading this PA (particular article), for many it is getting close to reading jibberish. You know, TBITH (the bar is too high) and many won't understand the article and thereby reduce their visits to your site because they simply won't understand the content.

    My nickel. (Pennies aren't made in Canada anymore so I can't share 2 cents)

    OB (Obiwanbill)
  • ganeshts - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    (Over The Top Streaming)

    Apologize for the oversight.
  • obiwanbill - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I usually let these go, but, since I am giving feedback today ...

    On the first page, 3rd paragraph, "Betweem"

    You can delete this post after you fix the typo.

  • CrankUpThePowerIgor - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    We have 32 bit cores?

    Phones need 64 bit as much as they need 4 cores, but I'm sure it would sell ;)
  • jjj - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    You keep mentioning die area but never list some actual numbers (or maybe i missed those?). Die are wise it is amusing that they only compare to A15 .Since it seems that it can't clock as high as A15 it's not a fair comparison.The 2 don't target the same markets anyway so w/e.
    The lower clocked core(s) solution sounds way too much like Nvidia's 4+1 ,wonder if they'll have anything to say about that.

    "it looks likely that the architecture of choice in the mobile / tablet space will become a two way shootout between ARM and x86"
    Unless China decides to go with it's own ISA and then things will get a bit more complicated.
  • bji - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    That is a terrible marketing name. Reply
  • bji - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Am I really reading that right? Are those memory controllers really that small? Sounds barely visible to the naked eye. Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Yes, they are really small. Usually, there are some peripherals around them on the die, and then, there is the packaging which makes it visible to the eye :) Reply
  • metafor - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    It should be noted that Krait is on the 28LP node currently and that corresponds to its frequency of 1.5GHz. ARM's A15 numbers on 28LP are around ~2GHz (OMAP 5430 being the primary example). Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    We can't have too many inferences from the frequency of operation.

    With appropriate choice of libraries, usage of low Vt cells etc., Qualcomm could have probably gotten Krait to run at 2 GHz had they wished. It probably means that Qualcomm is satisfied with 1.5 GHz for their target market. ARM's A15 numbers will vary widely, and the OMAP 5430 is just one case..

    We should actually compare operating frequency with the same set of libraries / same process node / same operating corner, but different vendors quote different circumstances.. So, it is not easy to make an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • Daniel Egger - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    I'm really not sure you're all getting the point here with all the ARM comparison. MIPS is not even trying (at least not hard) to get into the smartphone game. MIPS is a really strong player in the consumer grade network equipment market -- think WLAN APs and routers, DSL Modems, Mifis, etc.. There's almost no ARM or x86 anywhere to be found but since networking speeds are ever increasing an architecture update is sorely needed!

    You can compare MIPS and ARM and x86 (and if you're serious about it you'd also include Freescale) as much as you'd like but the matter of fact is: Each of these architecture has at least one weak spot that disqualifies it for some market segments:
    - Most ARM based processors have lousy I/O possibilities (crappy or no network, no PCIe)
    - Most MIPS implementations do not have powerful GPUs and CPU performance is not the best
    - x86 needs too many external components and it is effectively only available from one vendor and non-synthesizable
    - Freescale (PPC) implementations also do not have powerful GPUs, are too power hungry and far too expensive for most uses
  • ganeshts - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Oh! MIPS is definitely trying to get a toehold in the smartphone market. In fact, I looked at a few of their smartphones in their HQ (all being sold in China).

    The drawbacks you indicate are not a problem with the processor IP. Rather, it is the SoC vendor's choice on what peripheral IPs are integrated along with the processor.
  • Penti - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    Naw they are not really trying, the Ingenic chip the Chinese devices uses is a custom design by the Chinese firm Ingenic. Not CPUs designed by MIPS Technologies. Those has to compete with Chinese as well as cheap semi-local Taiwanese ARM-designs with ARM RTL-cores and embedded baseband too. Nothing much happening there. Not from Mips Tech standpoint any way. The MIPS SoCs can use the same third party synthesizeable IP GPUs, video engines as the ARM counterparts and so on. But don't expect much in the form of baseband modems on MIPS processors. Smartphones run fine with either x86, ARM or MIPS though. Android has support for them all. A few years ago there were some other architectures involved in the business too. Let's see if anybody uses MIPS Technologies IP cores to build phones first before shouting anything. We won't really have the same situation if you can't use RTL-cores at any fab and multiple vendors delivering solutions on that. It's hard to compete if there is just one vendor with their own custom designs. Freescale will continue their i.MX ARM line for phones/tablets. ARM is taking over the whole CE field including TVs, blu-ray players and so on too for that matter. Still some good MIPS-designs around though. But there are good designs of most stuff around. Tools and software certainly would draw you to ARM though. Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    The problem is: Maybe MIPS just woke up but as a matter of fact this market is long gone for them since they don't have the force to push anything around. Intel is a much bigger company trying to achieve the very same thing but they're barely moving forward.

    Of course one is free to assembly SoCs with MIPS cores but why would one do that? Most of the auxiliary ICs needed for the completely picture are using ARM-optimized or ARM-only interfaces so there're almost no components to choose from while the generic ones (utilizing PCI(e) or USB) use far too much energy and/or space and are usually not synthesizable. Then there is the price issue: MIPS SoCs for mobile devices will be low volume at the beginning and thus quite expensive compared to ARM devices. And then there's the tooling and compatibility issue: The MIPS hardware support for e.g. Android is rather limited and alpha quality in most areas while ARM and even x86 are quite mature. And then there's the market compatibility issue: Good software needs natively compiled code to perform well, ARM is the default here and x86 will bring an ARM emulator to the table; MIPS can't do snitch here...

    My prediction: Maybe we will see some insane multi-chip prototypes or even one or two (likely Chinese) SoCs and systems based on that for absolute low end phones but they'll go nowhere in the market.

    I'll be far more interesting to see how long it'll take e.g. Ralink to pick up the Aptiv Series for their WLAN SoCs. ;)
  • Scipio Africanus - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    For anyone who is old enough and fortunate enough to remember the SGI workstations, its pretty sad to see what's become of MIPS based machines. My college was an SGI shop and our 6-CPU R4400 SGI Octane server was an awesome sight to behold in the days of Pentium 1 and 2. So were the Indy and Indigo workstations where we would play GLQuake. Reply
  • martinw - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Octane was a dual socket workstation, not a 6 socket server. Perhaps you are thinking of a Challenge server?

    I remember when the first R4k and the first R10k SGI machines came out - amazing performance at the time...
  • Scipio Africanus - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    You're right, it was a Challenge L server now that I think about it.

    During the introduction tour, we saw a real time rendering of a shark. Of course it looked cartoonish by any standard today but the fact that the motion was fluid and it was being rendered real time was jaw dropping. Seeing that and be awestruck is stuck in my memory permanently.
  • iwod - Thursday, May 10, 2012 - link

    1. I am pretty sure MIPS is older then ARM. While the article points to ARM being older.

    2. Do this news IPs have something similar to big.LITTLE?

    3. Performance / Mhz doesn't matter, Performance / Watts does.

    4. Apart from MIPS being used in Network equipment, and some set top box, and some Tablet. There are no new market that are using them. Network Market uses them solely because they dont want to reinvest in software and hardware. ( Hence why our Router is still dog slow ).

    And I also dont understand why Tablet Maker would want to use MIPS instead. How much cheaper is it?

    5. Even NAS moved to ARM based SoC ( Kirkwood ) instead of MIPS many years ago.

    6. Set Top Box maker are now moving to wards ARM solution since there are many more ready made solution.

    So yea, What exactly does MIPS have an advantage? Unlike Intel who could damn well push Atom into 14nm Node and just Brute Force winning by Manufacturing Technology.
  • jamyryals - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link

    Nice article Ganesh, I learned a lot. Keep up the good work. Reply
  • Avenkidur - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    If process technology plateaus, or even slows, and we stop harvesting the benefits of shrinkage, power efficiency, speed, and cost -- could it be an opportunity for MIPS and Micro-Kernels? Technology is at the point where the best design is allocating all resources to the computer to think for itself instead of trying to guess ahead?

    They both seemed ahead of their time, elegant in theory but challenged to deliver on performance on an open playing field.

    ARM is doing well primarily because it is more power efficient than x86 and it crossed the threshold of good enough for smartphones. MIPS is fundamentally even more power efficient than ARM, and it will easier scale to more cores.

    I mentioned Micro-Kernels because I feel it is the same design philosophy, just in software. They've got an opportunity coming up to be a single OS that spans a broad range of targeted usages -- they can securely enable and disable drivers on the fly, and the core codebase is not polluted with legacy needs so the whole thing can be secure, while rapidly iterating into new possible features (it's not just sound and video now. Multiple microphones, NFC, motion sensing, computer vision --- who knows what else might be designed in at a deep level.)

    iOS is only 5 years old, and you feel it: on what the new devices can't do (fast-switching instead of multi-tasking, that animated lag coverup), on the old devices that can't keep up under the updates that have features bundled in they can't use, the need to restart to update the OS, a software crash can take the whole system down, the multitude of ways to hack into a strangers' phone, the extra work necessary just to port one application to AppleTV, iPod/iPhone, iPad, iMac.
  • Avenkidur - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    duh.. I forgot to mention that Micro-Kernels are the best suited to take advantage of multiple cores, which is the first reason I brought them into a post about it maybe being a chance for MIPS to make a dent Reply
  • xenol - Saturday, May 12, 2012 - link

    It's nice to know that ARM isn't going to be the only 32-bit guy in the microcontroller universe once the 8-bit/16-bit guys start phasing out. I just hope others take MIPS in.

    I also guess that depends on whether or not software development tools for Aptiv are up to snuff.
  • ET - Monday, May 14, 2012 - link

    That's the best article about these processors that I found. I love it that you went to MIPS for clarifications. Reply

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