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Topic Title: My first 64bit workstation - built in 1996
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Created On: 07/08/2004 09:25 PM
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 07/08/2004 09:25 PM
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A little background: The Opteron and Athlon64 where not the first 64bit processors. Four other architectures of 64bit workstations where built in the mid 90's, they set the standard for which I judge current workstations. SGI MIPS based workstations set the standard for 3D modeling and imaging. SUN UltraSPARC workstations where common in the engineering, HP's PA RISC workstations where used for scientific research and Digital's Alpha workstations where used for mathematics research. Each of these RISC architectures was designed in the late 80's to replace the pervious architectures such as m68k and x86. They where all much "cleaner" than the x86 and m86k architectures they replaced, but sadly they failed to eclipse x86. PA RISC and ALPHA are dead, HP aquired Alpha (from which the Athlon's EV6 bus is borrowed) from Compaq, they have been replaced by Intel and HP's Itanium2. SGI is trying to kill end of life their MIPS based workstations and focus on Itanium2 based supercomputers and SUN is now also shipping Opteron based servers.

My SGI Indigo2 Impact 10000 was built in 1996, it features quad way interleaved parity fast page memory, providing a total memory bandwidth of 267MB/s with a total capacity of 768 MB offically (1 GB using 8x 128MB SIMMs). It's powered a MIPS R10000 running at 195 MHz, which features 64 64bit registers (1/2 of the registers are used for the shadow branch, a features that allow the CPU to take both logic paths at a branch statement) with 5 5-7 stage pipelines' "> and 1 MB of L2 cache. It also features: onboard ethernet (10 baseT), dual onboard SCSI, onboard 4 channel 24 bit audio (true 24 bit audio a 16bit processor and 24bit codec like the Audigy), 3 EISA slots, 4 GIO64 slots and MGRAS graphics. The graphics subsystem has 1 MB of RDRAM texture RAM, a dedicated geometry and raster engines and a seperate framebuffer memory. Basic system architecture dates back to the Indigo, so the machine is very bottlenecked. A friend of mind put it best: "The bottleneck exists between the CPU, the HDD, and the graphics subsystem."

CODE FPU: MIPS R10010 Floating Point Chip Revision: 0.0
CPU: MIPS R10000 Processor Chip Revision: 2.6
1 195 MHZ IP28 Processor
Main memory size: 512 Mbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 1 Mbyte
Instruction cache size: 32 Kbytes
Data cache size: 32 Kbytes
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version WD33C93B, revision D
 Disk drive: unit 1 on SCSI controller 0
 CDROM: unit 6 on SCSI controller 0
Integral SCSI controller 1: Version WD33C93B, revision D
On-board serial ports: 2
On-board bi-directional parallel port
Graphics board: High Impact
Integral Ethernet: ec0, version 1
Iris Audio Processor: version A2 revision 1.1.0
EISA bus: adapter 0

Best of all, it doesn't run Windows, it runs the "world's best" (or at least world's most responsive) operating system:
CODE # uname

I plan on dabbling with the AMD x86-64 architecture, specificly with OpenBSD since it supports W^X (allows setting memory pages as non-execuateable). The Athlon64/Opteron architecture has scaled to higher clock speeds than any prevous 64bit architecture, and provides downward compatablity with the most common archiecture: x86. The mutiple hypertransport and DDR memory interfaces on CPU provide sufficent bandwidth to eliminate the I/O bottlenecks today's workstations are faced with. The future looks bright.
 07/12/2004 07:11 PM
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Joined: 07/03/2004

very nice workstation! Glad to see you interested in AMD64.

where can I find screenshoots of IRIX64?

NerdyPC' "> - My Blog' "> - My PCs' ">
 08/07/2004 06:19 PM
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Joined: 08/07/2004

I loved the Alpha's, especally with True-64 Unix!

Too bad DEC had the worst marketing department in all computerdom.

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