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MIPS Wants To Challenge ARM in Phones, Tablets

By - Source: PC World | B 15 comments

As Intel is more aggressively moving its processor architecture down-market, ARM could be facing another competitor who is moving up-market.

MIPS, which recently announced its ProAptiv core, stressed that it considers the processor to become a director competitor for ARM's Cortex-A15 chip.

The big advantage of the MIPS32-based ProAptiv is that it is, according to MIPS, only half the size of the Cortex-A15, which could be interesting for very compact product designs. Today, MIPS' chips are primarily used in TVs and set-top boxes as well as some phones and tablets sold in emerging markets.

MIPS recently announced the ProAptiv as a 40 nm and 28 nm single- to quad-core processor, while future versions may include up to six cores. The company said that it expects the chip to scale to 1.51 GHz in mobile applications with a performance of up to 3.5 DMIPS/MHz. According to MIPS, the ProAptiv's performance is comparable to that of "leading IP core alternatives".

MIPS has a long history dating back to 1985, when the company announced the R2000, the industry's first RISC processor, as its first design. In 1992, the company was acquired by SGI, but was spun off in 2000, and therefore avoided SGI's bankruptcy and complete dissolution in 2009. MIPS employs fewer than 150 people today and is much smaller than ARM, which is believed to currently have about 2,000 employees.

 

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  • 17 Hide
    aznshinobi , September 1, 2012 12:19 AM
    Good, I hope MIPS does well. ARM needs some competition from someone other than Intel as well. Their CEO doesn't seem to get yet that Intel can catch up fast.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , August 31, 2012 11:33 PM
    "director competitor"?

    More direct competitor, you mean?
  • 17 Hide
    aznshinobi , September 1, 2012 12:19 AM
    Good, I hope MIPS does well. ARM needs some competition from someone other than Intel as well. Their CEO doesn't seem to get yet that Intel can catch up fast.
  • -4 Hide
    boiler1990 , September 1, 2012 3:15 AM
    I'm excited. It's good to see start-ups, especially in this field.
  • 7 Hide
    agnickolov , September 1, 2012 4:00 AM
    boiler1990I'm excited. It's good to see start-ups, especially in this field.

    You should probably read the article more carefully before commenting. MIPS is a 27 year old company, not a startup. Back in the Win NT4 days Microsoft even supported it as one of the many Windows platforms...
  • 1 Hide
    jdog2pt0 , September 1, 2012 4:33 AM
    I'm looking forward to this as well. Competition on the same level, across different technologies can only lead to more innovation.
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , September 1, 2012 7:25 AM
    agnickolovYou should probably read the article more carefully before commenting. MIPS is a 27 year old company, not a startup. Back in the Win NT4 days Microsoft even supported it as one of the many Windows platforms...


    To be fair, they don't have a preexisting presence in modern smart phone and tablet CPUs.
  • 0 Hide
    digiex , September 1, 2012 12:22 PM
    China's "homegrown" microprocessors use MIPS architecture.

    I still remember the RISC, CISC competition way back then, CISC (INTEL) triumph, Motorola's RISC did not survive... Because of MS/Intel collaboration.

    RISC made a comeback courtesy of ARM.
  • 3 Hide
    zeratul600 , September 1, 2012 6:04 PM
    damn a 150 company can make processors??? awesome!!!
  • 0 Hide
    ashinms , September 1, 2012 7:49 PM
    Whatever happened to AMD and Google dukin it out over MIPS? I thought they were in talks to be told again...
  • 1 Hide
    ashinms , September 1, 2012 7:57 PM
    zeratul600damn a 150 company can make processors??? awesome!!!


    There have actually individuals who have built their own simplistic 8bit 2Khz processors out of copper wires and magnetic transistors and then programmed them in their own assembly language. Just Google big mess of wires. I can't remember the second one, but a different guy actally has his own instruction set that he builds processors for other people and hosts his website from one such machine.... Surprising part is they're both married and appear to be pretty normal people
  • 0 Hide
    ashinms , September 1, 2012 8:17 PM
    Edit: Second is called homebrew and does not use his own ISA.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 3, 2012 4:46 PM
    Surely MIPS are about a decade too late for this game?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2012 2:27 PM
    MIPS CPU's have always been excellent, I'm so glad they are even trying to compete. If there was a MIPS smartphone, I'd buy it over a crappy ARM design any-day! I miss MIPS / SGI!!!

    digiex :
    "I still remember the RISC, CISC competition way back then, CISC (INTEL) triumph, Motorola's RISC did not survive... Because of MS/Intel collaboration.

    RISC made a comeback courtesy of ARM."

    You have no idea what you are talking about... 1. RISC never lost, in fact, Intel CPU's from the Pentium-Pro onward do NOT directly execute x86 instructions. The CPU's translate the x86 ops into micro ops (RISC) and then execute those. If anything, Intel saw the future and quickly realized the future was RISC, and not CISC.

    2. IBM's POWER CPU's, which power the worlds most powerful supercomputers, are leaps and bounds ahead of Intel CPU's. If Apple would have switched to IBM's POWER CPU's from POWERPC CPU's, there would have been little to no transition time and Macintosh's would be 10 fold more powerful than today's Intel power x86 Mac's.

    3. Sun Sparc (oracle Sparc now) is another industry leading RISC design that has been around since the early 80's, and is still going strong.

    I find it hard to believe that someone could be so ill-informed... it just boggles my mind.


  • 0 Hide
    lathe26 , September 4, 2012 6:37 PM
    Wow, I completely forgot that MIPS existed. I had even written some assembly for MIPS for a compilers course back around 1997. I haven't heard the word MIPS since around 2002.
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , September 4, 2012 8:05 PM
    digiexChina's "homegrown" microprocessors use MIPS architecture.I still remember the RISC, CISC competition way back then, CISC (INTEL) triumph, Motorola's RISC did not survive... Because of MS/Intel collaboration.RISC made a comeback courtesy of ARM.


    Like JustPosting3 said, RISC is used in pretty much everything. Most modern x86 CPU architectures from Intel and AMD execute complex x86 instructions as several simpler RISC micro-operations and there is a large RISC presence in the server server environment. A lot of gaming consoles also use RISC CPUs. ARM also isn't the only company making low-end RISC processors.

    AMD's GCN GPUs also use RISC, if I remember correctly.