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Compaq and API are readying a 1.6GHz Alpha 21364 which will include a version of SIMD 3D instructions and support for Rambus without the latency penalties that seem to dog the x.86 platform. A 1.6 GHz 21364 using the EV7 platform, is likely to belt out 6.4 single precision Gflops, according to sources. This would beat Merced hands down in ultraparallel single precision floating point. The processor will have a 128-bit 800MHz Rambus channels, and will load an entire 128-bit cache depth at the first transfer. Eight 16-bit Rambus channels make up the 128 bits. That compares with Intel's i820 chipset which, with one 16-bit Rambus channel, needs four transfers to fill the first 64-bit cache word. The 21364 integrates CPU, level two cache, direct memory controller and a transputer-class multiprocessing connection of each processor to four others at 10 Gbytes/s interprocessor bandwidth, in addition to cache and memory bandwidth, plus a dedicated 3.2 Gbyte/s IO bandwidth per CPU on one processor. The beast is not designed for Windows - its OS preference a version of real time Tru64 using current OpenGL for the platform. Real time versions of Tru64 might be used in a high end arcade game console, with workstations using a more "normal" Tru64 Unix with OpenGL. Quake and Quake 2 are native on Alpha Linux platforms. Terry Shannon, editor of Shannon knows Compaq,which specialises in the arena, said he thought the projections looked accurate. He said it was likely that the 21364 would also incorporate support for CPU lockstepping. Tandem Himalaya systems have a similar system, intended to support so-called "glueless SMP". This greatly reduces system complexity. ®

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