i860: Re: modern stuff

Chris Hanson cmhanson at eschatologist.net
Tue Nov 6 00:24:39 CST 2018

The i860 seemed to be everywhere in high end graphics for a brief period of time; it seems like everyone whose graphics had been several ganged Weitek units and their own execution engine to feed them switched to one or more i860 chips at once. (Wasn’t RealityEngine also i860?)

Did Intel offer some sort of incentive to do so? Was the chip really all that for its day, as the contemporary deep dive in BYTE seemed to make it out to be? Or was it just an attempt to hedge and use something developers hoped would become a commodity with successive backwards-compatible generations like Intel’s CPUs?

  — Chris

Sent from my iPad

> On Nov 2, 2018, at 1:53 PM, Marc Howard via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> I designed the video section of that board set (VX/MVX).  The VX had an
> i860 + a very large 32 bit frame buffer.  It also had and 2nd 8 bit frame
> buffer based two custom Sun chips that was used for the window system.  The
> video could switch between the two frame buffers on a per-pixel basis.  The
> output format of the larger frame buffer was micro-programmable; some VXs
> were used by Sarnoff Labs in early development of the HDTV standard.
> The MVX had four i860s and a very wide (256 bits?) high speed connection to
> the VX.
> Oh, and the guys that developed the chip set for 2D graphics?  They left
> and founded a little company called Nvidia.  Sigh.
> Marc

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