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Re: Wild idea (really ?)

To: broadley@neurocog.lrdc.pitt.edu, riscy@sunsite.unc.edu
Subject: Re: Wild idea (really ?)
From: antsu@sandra.pp.fi (Antti-Pekka Virtanen)
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 94 15:59 EET

Regarding the DEC Alpha...

> Big features of the 21066:
>       Embedded graphics controller (on chip)
>       L2 cache support (directly connects to sram.)
>       PCI I/O controller on chip 
>       8k/8k L1 cache
>       3.3 V chip (cooler)
>       70 Specint 105 Specfp (better then any 100 Mhz mips)

Yes, this sounds a lot more interesting than the MIPS families.

We have been thinking about using the DEC evaluation board design.
(Which contains 32MB (?) memory, NCR SCSI, PCI and ISA, correct me if
I'm wrong. This is taken from a short product brief. Don't know any

The main difference here is that we have thought to plug in the 21068
which is about 1/2 price 1/2 performance [1] , but you could allways plug
in the 21066 or any newer one with same pinout...
(Initially we have meant this to be an embedded controller for our
internal product purposes... that explains the 21068 :)

[1] 21068 at 66MHz 30 SPECint92; graphics accelerator delivers 30M Winmarks
    with VRAM.

> Seems like you basically hook up the PCI bus, vram, sram, and dram  to the 
> pins, and you have a motherboard.

More or less...
> So any hardware designers interested in donating time?  I have parts list,
> parts descriptions, schematics, and a product brief on the ALPHA
> evaluation board.

If you can, it would be most wellcome if you can send me copies [2]. I have
been trying to get same things from DEC, but the local DEC  seems a bit 
confused regarding chip level designs. They would sell me a complete
workstation with a pleasure though...
[2]  The address can be found below.

The OS thing is a bit more complicated. I think the easiest way to do OS
dev. is to get Windows NT or OSF/1 and then use the DEC provided SW tools
(21A03-11 21066/68 Design kit, about US * $50 * or so...) maybe, just maybe.
Any OS gurus listening? Our initial idea was to run this just without any
OS as a dedicated microcontroller board , just a hell lot faster than some
good old HC11/16/XX :)

There seems to be (or anytime soon) GCC and tools for Alpha...

The 21068 samples in qty 1 cost about US $450 but I suppose the price
to go down very rapidly.

This doesn't mean that we will have a design ready any time soon, but if
there is some interest it might be of help. Also, I don't want to start
any flame war between different architectures; mips will be of interest
to Andy, and alpha to me... 

In any case, just some thoughts...


Antti-Pekka Virtanen            E-mail: antsu@sandra.pp.fi
Arholankuja 3 a 21              Packet: OH1YF@OH1RBU.TKU.FIN.EU
FIN-21100 Naantali Finland      Tel.  : Intl.+358 21 751888

             At the University of Turku : antsu@utu.fi
             BSD/386 Software Archives  : antsu@nic.funet.fi

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