Friday, August 29, 2008

Godson CPU to compete with Sun's UltraSPARC T2

The Chinese are not sitting idle. They are planning a 16-core MIPS64 CPU. If it works, it should be a good web server processor. As Sun's open source T2 processor shows, it's a good idea to have simple (less die area) but many cores in server environment.

AMD and Intel's x86 baggage may cause a problem for them. I heard that a lot of wattage is consumed on decoding x86 instructions into RISC like code. And Intel's x86 graphics card idea is a tough sell for programmers.

The problem with Sun is its management. It won $1b from Microsoft, and it went on a spending spree: $4b on StorageTek and then the rest of its cash on MySQL. Much like a teenage kid who got his first pay check, but end up in 4x debt. StorageTek and MySQL buy was like shooting itself in the stomach two times. Now, its market cap is falling below that of Nvidia. With another downturn in the global environment, Sun will not have the cash to feed its people to keep doing their open source projects: Solaris, Java, MySQL and UltraSparc T2.

By the way, I never quite understand the point of open sourcing T2. Those who can't make their CPU won't be interested in the code, those who can will have their own design, and design may be too complicated for students... Maybe Sun just wanted to show its engineers were really smart...

2 Comments:

Blogger Psychicist said...

Finally you mention the Loongson processors. I've been using AMD processors for many years and now have a few 2-core processors too, but since last year also a Loongson desktop.

I believe processors such as Loongson 3 and UltraSPARC T2 and RK are the future, maybe AMD and Intel will be able to catch up to that some time, but I don't care much for x86 compatibility.

The 4-core 1 GHz Loongson 3 is about to tape out at the end of the year and the 8-core will tape out next year. It will contain support for binary translation so x86 software will run smoother than it does now with pure emulation.

Here's an article from a few days ago, http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml;?articleID=210201017.

5:23 PM, September 02, 2008  
Blogger Sharikou, Ph. D. said...

Sun's T2 and Loongsoon share the same basic idea -- many simple cores. The x86 has a stronghold on the PC world because of Microsoft Windows monopoly. However, on the server side, the picture is a bit different. So, loongsoon has a good chance, if it can indeed deliver the performance and power promises.

10:01 AM, September 04, 2008  

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