History repeating

This is the english translation of an article i wrote to answer an strange blog article in another german blog. While answering it, i found a case of “History Repeating”. In the actual installment of the Prozessorgeflüster (a reoccuring CPU technology article in the german computer magazine c´t) Andreas Stiller discusses the the first facts about the new manycore processor “Larrabee” from Intel. Stiller states in this article, that this processor was discussed to release with with 16 to 24 cores, but will release with 32 cores when it appears in 2009. To the surprise of many experts, the cores are well known. The cores are nothing more than Pentium P54C cores. Well, the P54C was announced 1994. This would be similar to a Niagara T1 on the basis of the SuperSPARC II, which was announced 1994 as well. Annother interesting fact reported in the article: The Larabee xPU will use roundabout 300 watts. That´s much much more than a UltraSPARC T1 CPU. I know, Larabee is a GPU at start, but do you really believe that a manycore GPU with x86 compatible commands will stay on the graphics card for long time? There is a small irony at this story. Sun learned many things about designing multicores when Sun developed the MAJC-5200 CPU and used it on the XVR1000 and XVR4000. The XVR4000 was the graphic card, that didn´t used something earthly like a PCI-bus, you plugged it directly onto the Fireplane Interconnect of the V880 instead of the CPU. Sun learned so much about multicore that some of the findings will reappear only in future incarnations like the Rock CPU (speculative multithreading e.g.) The funny (and “history repeating” part): Intel start s to use it´s first manycore design on a graphics card as well. Like we did … in 2002.