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Willamette not teacher's pet

K7, Alpha speculation gets red hot

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You've got to watch those pesky guys at Intel, y'know. The Pentium III with Screaming Cindy instructions now arrives earlier than anticipated, requiring all independent software vendors to re-write for it from "the ground up", and meanwhile a "new" IA-32 architecture is promised with the introduction of Willamette. (ye storie: Intel brings PIII launch forward) But when will Willamette appear? One rumour is along the lines that Intel will bring it forward from its end of Q4 in a bid to spanner AMD's K7, while another rumour says it is delayed. We know one thing for sure. It is a "new implementation" of the IA-32 architecture. Does the world need one of these? Does that mean it is the P7, long ago promised by Intel? Or the P8, or maybe even the P9? Here, in my little cave in Knaresborough, Yorkshire, my crystal ball is a tad cloudy after all these years being dead, but I see in the future not just Willamette, but cheap Alphas and the shared motherboards that they will have with AMD's K7 muddying Intel's waters. We suspect even as we gaze that AMD has a list of processors that it is showing a number of vendors about the level of production it will have by year end. First silicon is already rolling off Dresden's Fab 30, and we know that Dell is already OEMing Alpha filers for its customers. By year-end, AMD will have copper whopper .18 micron technology well under its belt and a string of OEMs to boot, according to the tea-leaves. Eck Pfeiffer and his mob will be pushing very fast Alpha machines as fast as they can sell'em, and who will want Willamette when it arrives, given that K7 copper whoppers will be dirt cheap by then. And what of MIPS and PA-RISC? How does old Hewlett Packard feel about developments in Chiplandia? Why would SGI, for instance, want to adopt a Willamette solution? These questions are tricky even for old Mother Shipton to answer but even though Merced may be on time, methinks that no-one might want it at its very high price, especially since 64-bit NT also works on the Alpha platform. And so, finally, we come to the slur that Intel put on me and my cave last week. Being somewhat petrified myself, as I was born in 1488, I have to refute the suggestion that the artefacts hanging outside my cave are fakes. If they're phony, I'm phony. And as I predicted the invention of motor cars, the telegraph and the end of the world in 1999, what right has johnny come lately Intel to put me down? ®

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