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Intel’s IA64, EPIC & VLIW on 1998 issue of BYTE (the last printed issue of BYTE)

Recently, I have read an old article from my BTYE’S archive dated 1998. It was talking about a New CPU joint venture between Intel & HP. The 1st CPU released will be with code name Merced. It was based on EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing) and VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word). In theory, this new CPU technology could free up lot of silicon space on the CPU as all the optimizations of the program codes would be done by the compiler. The CPU no longer needed to include complex logic for dynamic rearrangement of program codes for branch prediction, Out of Order Execution, etc.  According to the article, this CPU would be able to conquer the desktop and server CPU market and provide a fast and low cost CPU in the 2000 era.

However, after 12 years, the fact is clear. This never happened. I have not see the term EPIC or VLIW appeared in various technical websites or articles for so long. Microsoft have announced that Windows server 2008 R2 will be the its last OS to support Itanium. Many Linux version have already dropped the support too. Nowadays, the CPU trend is multi-core, fast interconnect b/w cores in the chip, virtualization support, integration of memory controller, etc and Itanium has been surpassed by new and more capable x64 technology from both Intel and AMD.

Sometimes, watching the fall and down of new technology and how the company market and package it is quite interesting. Another typical example is Windows CE!!

BTW, one thing which made me quite sad is BYTE had also become history. i depended on BYTE to keep abreast of computer technology. Now no technical magazine in the market can catch the depth of BYTE AND I have to spend more time to search and read the cluttered information on the Web. I don’t think this is an advancement!! I really missed BYTE!!

jun98

The death of BYTE

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