Remember when Apple was moving away from PowerPC CPUs around 2005? Did you ever wonder where they went? They mostly went into game consoles. The Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 all have some variant of a PowerPC chip inside. PowerPC chips were never all that popular in personal computers outside of Apple. Presently, most are found in embedded and "big iron" form, like DVRs, cars, mainframes, and other big machines that banks and stuff use to have insane reliability.
Alpha CPUs are pretty obscure these days, and they also seem to be obsolete. This architecture is a load-store or RISC design, and it was one of the first 64-bit ones out there. It was largely optimized by hand, just right when CPU designs were starting to be automated, leading to competitive performance. There was a version of Windows NT released for it, and its floating point performance was superior to x86.
In this second installment of the CPU register series, I take a look at the Itanium CPUs. Intel and HP designed Itanium throughout the 1990s. Intel hoped that it would be the successor to the old x86 architecture, with a bonus of not being legally obliged to share these secrets with anyone else (AMD specifically). When it went on the market in 2001, its performance was not competitive with x86, and was super expensive. While Itanium had x86 emulation, it was not fast enough to be useful. At the time, AMD was busy at work expanding x86 to 64-bit, which proved to be the winning strategy.
I've never really looked closely at the individual registers upon which most of my computing is done. I stay comfortably above that stuff. But I've been curious of late, so I looked, and I got lost, but I don't regret it.
So I may have mentioned Moore's Law in one of my recent articles. I think that because I have built an old computer, I think it would be wise to consider a few things, and about computing in general.
Tomorrow will be a very special day. Not necessarily important or memorable, but special.
So August happened, and I made my blog better, even though last month was quite eventful.