Intel announces Cloak Of Invulnerability™

It's an off-the-roadmap

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MPF Roundup Code morphing start-up Transitive has been touting the x86 potential of their Dynamite dynamic binary translation. We goofed in an earlier draft of this article: Transitive doesn't make or license any chip hardware,it's all done in software. Sorry, folks.

Dynamite has many of the run-time optimization tricks you'll be familiar with from Transmeta's Crusoe line, and some of the adaptive technology similar to the now-discontinued FX!32 software from DEC/Compaq, which ran x86 binaries on Alpha processors.

The PowerPC dhrystone benchmark running on Dynamite on a 1.4GHz Athlon turned in figures of 1.65 million per second. With the Apple 450Mhz G4 Cube clocking around 400,000 per second natively, that extrapolates to around a 1.2GHz G4, although of course no such beasty exists just yet. For RISC to RISC translations Dynamite could turn in 20 per cent faster code than native in the future, reckons Transitive.

Dynamite has been used to run ARM and x86 instructions on MIPS, as well as PPC on x86.

Talking of Transmeta, optical start-up Primarion seems to be recruiting faster than it can count. Recent PowerPoints list 100 staff, and the most recent press releases 150. Apparently, it's now north of 200. There's are few technical similarity between Linus' employer and Bill Pohlmann's venture, except that Primarion has assumed the pre-launch Transmeta role of being the voguish name to drop. It only lessens the mystery a little bit that we know exactly what they're doing.

IBM gave a few performance indications for its latest cranked of the PowerPC handle, that we wrote about here.

The 750FX you'll recall will support bus speeds of up to 200MHz, and have a larger L2 cache. SPECint performance is expected to hit 40 Dhrystone MIPS, compared to around 38 for Apple's current top of the range and 32 for its current low-end 733MHz PowerPC machines. There are a number of power enhancements such as voltage scaling, for mobile devices. It's scheduled to begin sampling in January 2002.

Next generation chips should have the design elegance, reliability and economy of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), according to Intel.

Rollover Roadmap
Click to enlarge

Or at least we think that's the message from the presentation given by Intel Fellow Justin Rattner at the Forum. Rattner, of Chipzilla's Research Labs, who said designers should emulate the reliability of SUVs - which if they ever crash, allow the occupants to walk away out unharmed, Superman-style.

"Survival is almost certain" after crashing your SUV, according to the slide.

Intel has yet to trademark Cloak of Invulnerability™ for this new technology. But it can only be a matter of time. ®


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