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Mandrake To Support AMD's Hammer 165

Posted by michael
from the hammer-time-joke-goes-here dept.
ruiner writes "Mandrake has announced their intention to support AMD's Hammer with a 64 bit version optimized for the new CPU. Redhat is also rumored to be following Suse's lead. 'This new generation of AMD Athlon and AMD Opteron processors is extremely exciting. A version of Mandrake Linux dedicated to these powerful 64-bit processors can certainly accelerate MandrakeSoft's growing adoption in the Linux corporate market' said Jacques Le Marois, CEO of MandrakeSoft."
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Mandrake To Support AMD's Hammer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 29, 2002 @03:05PM (#3792688)
    Why does Mandrkae have to crow about something that is actually being developed by Linus, Ingo and others?

    I'm absolutely sure that Debian will also support AMD's Sledgehammer and so will Slackware and Redhat and SuSE.

    What also bugs me is the security advisories from all these companies....it sounds like they are doing the work (for example in the case of Apache's fix, it came from Apache and all the distro's just need to have one consolidated announcement saying LINUX rather than Mandrake/SuSE/etc)

  • Hmm... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Saturday June 29, 2002 @03:06PM (#3792692) Journal
    I'm going to get modded down for this, but I'll go ahead and say it anyways:

    In the past, kernel development has quickly caught on to newer, more powerful processors and features...MTRR (I know what MTRR is thank you very much...), 3D Now instructions, etc. Why the need for official support? And AMD is also going along with this Palladium thing? If you ask me, there's a lot of companies grandiloquently talking up promised "corporate partnerships" that I don't see happening. I mean come on, folks, all AMD has to do is release some rudamentary specs and the kernel team can get right on it.

    I'm wary of "features" that require support from the entire OS and not the kernel...
  • by benzapp (464105) on Saturday June 29, 2002 @04:26PM (#3792974)
    Also, FYI.. Athlon MP processors were used to make Episode II... not too shabby, for a 32-bit processor.

    AMD Technology Used for Production in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones

    SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jun 27, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- AMD (AMD) today announced its collaboration with JAK Films and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a division of Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC, in the production of "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones".

    JAK Films used AMD Athlon(TM) MP processor-based workstations in its labs to advance the art of cinema storyboarding through digital pre-visualization. ILM used a high-performance cluster of AMD Athlon MP processor-based servers designed and manufactured by RackSaver.

    "Our goal was to paint an accurate picture of what `Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones' would look like long before filming was even started," said Dan Gregoire, director of the pre-visualization lab, JAK Films. "Our AMD Athlon MP processor-based systems are ideal for running the powerful software we rely upon."

    "Given the challenge of producing top quality visual imagery in a compressed time frame, we really appreciate the performance boost we got with our AMD Athlon MP processor-based systems," said Michael Kiernan, Manager of Systems R&D at ILM.

    "We at RackSaver, with our expertise in design and manufacturing of high-density, high-performance computing clusters, are excited to have met the critical computing demands required in the production of `Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones,'" said David Driggers, CEO RackSaver.

    "George Lucas is admired for the many technical advances he has contributed to the film industry. The innovative AMD technology used by ILM and JAK Films is no exception, " said Ed Ellett, vice-president of product marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group. "JAK Films pre-visualized literally every scene in `Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones,' which helped Lucas translate his vision to the big screen with exceptional accuracy. ILM is widely recognized in the film industry as a standard-bearer in visual effects and digital animation."

    Customers using systems based on powerful AMD Athlon MP processors can experience tremendous productivity, and fast turnaround time on a variety of graphically intensive tasks ranging from creating complex special effects sequences to manipulating video, audio content and high resolution still images.

    Note: For additional information about AMD's involvement in the production of "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones" please visit: http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/ProductInforma tion/ 0,,30_118_756_759^566~31514,00.html

  • by The Axe (93018) on Saturday June 29, 2002 @05:20PM (#3793151)
    Uhm, the Alpha CPU still outperforms a lot of CPUs today. I don't know about the latest chips from Intel and AMD compared with the Alpha, but about a year ago there was a comparison between 64-bit chips and a few 32-bit chips, the Alpha won by a huge margin.

    MIPS is still being used by SGI, and you can not tell me SGI is dead. They provide a big chunk of the workstations and renderfarms used to render special effects in movies (yes yes, I know, Linux is taking over in many place :).

    If I'm not mistaken, Samsung still produces the Alpha chips.
  • by Hoser McMoose (202552) on Saturday June 29, 2002 @10:52PM (#3794096)

    I'll be surprised if the Intel Itanium or even the AMD Hammer chips will compare favorably to comparable Alphas on floating point performance, which is very important in many high end applications.

    At the moment, only the new 1.0GHz Alpha EV68 chips are faster then the current P4 processors, and the Itanium and Athlon are right up there as well. The rather substatial lead in FP performance that the Alpha used to have has virtually disapeared these days when compared to x86 chips. The very fastest EV67 chips are slower then the fastest x86 chips (note: I'm using Spec CFP2000 for comparison here, if you know of any FP benchmarks that run on both platforms I'd like to hear about them).

    As for the future, Alpha's time on this planet is very limited. EV7 is still supposed to come out, and I've heard from reliable sources that it should post some very impressive scores for floating point due to it's HUGE memory bandwidth. However Intel's Itanium 2 is also supposed to post some rather impressive scores (they're talking about 1300-1350 in Spec CFP2000, which would put it ahead of the current champion Power4 processors from IBM). AMD's Hammer won't be any slouch either, as it's on-chip memory controller should boost it's score quite nicely.

    Like it or not, Alpha is dead. It's been sold many times and basically salavaged for scrap (Intel now owns most of the old Alpha technology). You're mentioning Titanic is actually quite approriate, because that was the last gasp for Alpha. If you look at new movie production, they're moving to x86, just like all the rest of the world. MIPS might have a future in the embedded space, where it's currently second to ARM. Alpha technology might have a bit of a future in Intel's IA-64 (though I'm skeptical as to how well they'll be able to integrate the pure-RISC Alpha technology into the VLIW IA-64 technology), but as a product on it's own, stick a fork in it.

  • Re: Power4 = PowerPC (Score:2, Interesting)

    by benzapp (464105) on Saturday June 29, 2002 @11:07PM (#3794144)
    There is a common misunderstanding here about PowerPC chips. For a technical paper from the IBM Watson facility on the Power4 architecture, read here [ibm.com].

    This research paper clearly indicates that the Power4 processor utilizes the 64-bit extensions of outlined by the original PowerPC consortium. It also indicates that The Power4 refers more to the architecture of processor interconnects than the processor itself. Since the days of IBM writing OS/2, they have always rightly believed multiprocessing and multithreading provides the best performance.

    IBM did the vast majority of the work on the PowerPC processor, and owns the name to it. The reason Motorola processors are now called G* is because they do not own the rights to the title. The G3 was to be the PowerPC 670 proccessor as I recall. In all honesty, I amazed that people here think the G3 is not a PowerPC processor. How ludicrous is that? It was a pain apple's ass to get people to dump the 68k series in 1993, could you imagine what would have happened if a whole new archicture was used only five years later with the first G3? Apple would be out of business.

    I only wish I had the links on current benchmarks to refute the lunacy that the antiquated DEC Alpha is still the fastest processor but oh well.
  • by ToLu the Happy Furby (63586) on Sunday June 30, 2002 @02:57AM (#3794650)
    At the moment, only the new 1.0GHz Alpha EV68 chips are faster then the current P4 processors, and the Itanium and Athlon are right up there as well. The rather substatial lead in FP performance that the Alpha used to have has virtually disapeared these days when compared to x86 chips. The very fastest EV67 chips are slower then the fastest x86 chips (note: I'm using Spec CFP2000 for comparison here, if you know of any FP benchmarks that run on both platforms I'd like to hear about them).

    As for the future, Alpha's time on this planet is very limited. EV7 is still supposed to come out, and I've heard from reliable sources that it should post some very impressive scores for floating point due to it's HUGE memory bandwidth. However Intel's Itanium 2 is also supposed to post some rather impressive scores (they're talking about 1300-1350 in Spec CFP2000, which would put it ahead of the current champion Power4 processors from IBM). AMD's Hammer won't be any slouch either, as it's on-chip memory controller should boost it's score quite nicely.


    This is a good summary, except that ignorant slashdotters reading this might not realize how far ahead P4, Alpha, Power4 and Athlon are in front of all other CPU architectures (i.e. PA-RISC, US III, Itanium1, MIPS, and most especially G4*) in single-CPU SPEC performance. Just to be clear: Alpha's performance is still at or near the top.

    * no, there's no official G4 SPEC entry (because Apple is too chicken), but c't benchmarked it and boy does it suck. SPECint performance on par with a 933 MHz PIII, and SPECfp on par with a 500 MHz one.

    Second, you probably haven't seen the leaked slide of SPEC scores for the 1250 MHz EV68 (they should be official at spec.org real soon now), which put it almost precisely equal to 1.3 GHz Power4 SPEC scores, despite not having the dubious advantage of 128MB L2 cache (under normal operation the Power4 cache is shared amongst 4 or 8 cores, but for SPEC one core gets it all).

    Third, EV7 will have a substantial lead in SPECfp upon release (and might briefly take SPECint as well), although there's no doubt that Power4 and P4 will continue to improve, and Itanium2 on SPECfp and Hammer on SPECint will also be contenders.

    But the most shocking part of all this is that, unlike Athlon/Hammer, P4, Itanium and Power4, Alpha is achieving all this performance on someone else's standard fab process (rather than tweaking the process to fit the chip design, which is a huge huge help; compare performance of those architectures where the designer owns the fab--P4, Athlon, Power4, Itanium--to those where it doesn't--PA, MIPS, SPARC). And, unlike current Athlons, Hammer, P4s since January, and Power4, it's an old .18um process. Alpha still gives more performance with fewer engineering resources than any other chip, and EV7 will only widen the gap.

    Like it or not, Alpha is dead. It's been sold many times and basically salavaged for scrap (Intel now owns most of the old Alpha technology). You're mentioning Titanic is actually quite approriate, because that was the last gasp for Alpha. If you look at new movie production, they're moving to x86, just like all the rest of the world. MIPS might have a future in the embedded space, where it's currently second to ARM. Alpha technology might have a bit of a future in Intel's IA-64 (though I'm skeptical as to how well they'll be able to integrate the pure-RISC Alpha technology into the VLIW IA-64 technology), but as a product on it's own, stick a fork in it.

    Again, you're correct. But the death of Alpha is entirely to do with marketing and zero to do with performance. Before Power4, Alpha was the clear single-CPU performance leader in the 64-bit market, and if the Alpha team had gotten more resources and support from Compaq, Alpha's performance lead would still be huge.

    That said, all of this seems slightly academic considering that for the past year and the forseeable future, the SPECint leader has been and will be a commodity x86 chip costing ~$600 (against 64-bit competition costing 100x that per CPU). The P4 seems to have taken on the Alpha mantle: world-beating SPEC performance with a high-clocked small-die chip utilizing innovative microarchitectural features and excellent circuit-level design. That it has done so despite being hobbled with the x86 ISA is even more impressive.

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