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<p>Qualcomm eliminates many compatibility issues by offering software that supports MP3 and MIDI formats along with the chipset, A.G. Edwards' Teets said.</p>

The Pentium 4's performance is dictated by how well Intel handles the new 20-stage deep-pipeline architecture, said Bert McComas, an analyst at InQuest Research Inc., Gilbert, Ariz. This compares with the 12-stage pipeline of Pentium III. Any time you make a radical move to a much deeper pipeline, you can lose 20% to 30% in overall processor performance until you fine-tune the architecture,” he said.

At this week's Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Jose, Intel plans to demonstrate a server capable of supporting OC-192 for 10-Gbit/sec. transmission rates, Stelliga said.

Intel will sell its server products to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other end-user customers. But the company will also sell the chip- and board-level products within the server line to OEMs as well, he said.

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Intel's OPO organization will play a key role in bringing the company into the carrier-class equipment and chip markets. This operation was formerly known as Softcom Microsystems Inc., a network-processor supplier that Intel acquired last year for about $150 million.

Prior to the acquisition, Softcom was developing chip- and board-level products for OC-12 applications. Over the last year, we've had our heads down in order to focus on the OC-48 market,” said Stelliga, the former president and chief executive of Softcom, in an interview with SBN .

Under the Intel umbrella, the former Softcom operation will expand its charter, selling systems, boards, and chips.

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On the systems side, the company will offer the Optical Services Platform, a product that runs the Linux operating system software. Traditionally, servers have been clustered in the enterprise, but they have been isolated from the network,” Stelliga said. We're bringing the server to the optical network.”

The server consists of a board-level product called the GigaBlade, which resides in the PCI slot in the system. The GigaBlade product includes the company's new network-processor line–the IXF6401, which is a packet-processor designed to support ATM, SONET, and related LAN/WAN networks.

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The server, GigaBlade, and IXF6401 chips are now available. Prices for the products were not disclosed.

The languishing TriMedia architecture developed by Philips Semiconductors received a big boost this week, when AT&T announced that it will build a million digital-cable set-top boxes using the VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) processor.

My own PIC based CPU emulations are coming in well short of the mark. With a PIC running at 64 MHz it's still taking 30us just for a simple jump and anything complicated and it starts getting very slow. My average speed is equiv to a 300 KHz clock rate. Just thought you may have some thoughts on this.

Now, of course, it is certainly possible to create a soft core 8-bit microprocessor in an FPGA, but the sort of performance you are going to receive depends on all sorts of factors like the instruction set and addressing modes and the architecture of the machine itself (number of pipeline stages, for example). So I replied as follows:

Max: Hi Joe, can you can give me a bit more detail about what you’re doing – what you are using the 8-bit micro for – what sort of performance you need (fixed-point 8-bit arithmetic or floating-point)? Just give me some background stuff and I can write a blog about it [that would be this blog] and get a bunch of FPGA gurus to sink their teeth into it and offer advice…

I then dropped my computer and smashed my screen while travelling, so it took me a little while to get back on the net, at which time I saw Joe's response as follows:

Joe: Simply put, it’s an emulation of a fictitious 8-bit CPU. It’s very similar to your own DIY Calculator CPU [see www.DIYCalculator.com] except that it’s got my own personal instruction set instead of yours. It also has 24-bit addressing instead of 16-bit, but basically it’s the same. So there’s no floating point or anything like that… all very simple and basic.

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