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MIPS R16000

The essentials of the MIPS R1x000 series of processors have not changed since the introduction of the first in this family, the R10000. The current processor that is at the heart of the SGI Origin3000 series is the R16000. The R16000 is similar to the preceding R14000 except for the clock cycle: this is presently 800 MHz and as such the lowest of all RISC processors employed in High Performance systems. A block diagram of this processor is given in Figure 14.

Block diagram of the MIPS R16000
Figure 14: Block diagram of the MIPS R16000 processor.

The R16000 is a typical representative of the modern RISC processors that are capable of out-of-order and speculative instruction execution. Like in the Compaq Alpha processor there are two independent floating-point units for addition and multiplication and, additionally, two units that perform floating division and square root operations (not shown in Figure 14). The latter, however, are not pipelined and with latencies of about 20—30 cycles are relatively slow. In all there are 5 pipelined functional units to be fed: an address calculation unit which is responsible for address calculations and loading/storing of data and instructions, two ALU units for general integer computation and the floating-point add and multiply pipes already mentioned.
The level 1 instruction and data caches have a moderate size of 32 KB and are 2-way set-associative. In contrast, the secondary cache can be very large: up to 16 MB. Both the integer and the floating-point registers have a physical size of 64 entries, however, 32 of them are accessible by software while the other half is under direct CPU control for register re-mapping.
The clock frequency of the MIPS R1x000 processors have always been on the low side. The first R10000 appeared at a frequency of the 180 MHz while in the new R16000 the clock cycle is 700 MHz and will slightly rise during its lifetime. With the initial 700 MHz frequency the theoretical peak performance is 1.4 Gflop/s. Because of the independent floating-point units without fused multiply-add capabilities often a fair fraction of that speed can be realised. There also have been made some improvements with respect to the earlier chips: the bus speed has been doubled from 100 MB/s to 200 MB/s and the L1 cache that ran at a 2/3 speed in the predecessor R12000 has been sped up to full speed from the R14000 on.

The R16000 is built in advanced 0.11 µm technology and it has at the present 800 MHz clock frequency an extremely low power consumption: only 20 Watt, several factors lower than that of the other processors discussed here. SGI keeps the clock frequency intentionally as low as possible to enable to build "dense" systems that can accommodate a large amount of processors in a small volume.

Recently is has become evident that SGI will migrate quickly from its MIPS platform, the Origin3000 series entirely to the the Itanium-based Altix family. Therefore it is doubtful whether successors of of the R16000, the R18000 and the R20000 that originally were projected for mid-2004 and later will ever be realised.

next up previous contents
Next: Sun UltraSPARC IV Up: The Main Architectural Classes Previous: Intel Pentium 4

Aad van der Steen
Mon Oct 11 16:06:54 CEST 2004