This Article was last modified in July, 1998.
Interview With Rise
The following is a transcript of an interview between myself (Sunil Singh) of CPU-Central, with the Senior Product Marketing Manager of Rise Technologies (makers of the new mP6 CPU). Unfortunately, they weren't able to answer many questions with a specific answer due to the fact that Rise has not yet officially released much information (so you'll see a lot of "we have not yet released this data"), but they did the best they could/were allowed to.
They also sent me a really cool (and REALLY big) product photo of their mP6, which was nearly 600k! So instead of making you guys sit here all day to download it, I've sized it down, and cropped the good parts:
Now on to the interview...
Q: What is the structure and performance of your FPU (compared to other CPUs)? A: FPU structure and performance: Unfortunately we have not yet disclosed this. However, we would agree with most people's assessments that the FPU structure of some of the low-cost cpu's are a limiting factor for some market segments.
Q: What is the expected price?
A: Expected price: We have not announced pricing, but we will be competitive with other offerings targeted at the sub-$1,000 PC and notebook markets. Q: Voltage and die size?
A: Voltage and die size - we have not yet released this data, except to say we are compatible with socket 7 split voltage plane motherboards. Q: Supported Bus Speed frequencies?
A: Supported bus frequencies - we have not yet released this data. Q: Due date?
A: Due date - we are currently providing engineering samples to early customers and partners and will be in full production this year. We will be unveiling the architecture at the Microprocessor Forum. Q: Will it include the 21 3DNow instructions?
A: Will it include 3DNow? - we have not yet released this data. Q: Comparable performance to other popular x86 CPU's?
A: Comparable performance to other popular x86 CPU's - we have not released benchmark data, but we can say that this is a modern architecture, not a 4th generation architecture like some of the other low-cost CPU's targeting segment 0 and below. Q: Where do you expect to compete? (With AMD against InteI or in the low-end with IDT & Cyrix?)
A: Where do you expect to compete? - we will be targeting low-cost mobile and desktop systems. Q: Support from motherboard manufacturers? (BIOS recognition, etc.)
A: Support for motherboard manufacturers (BIOS, and I assume chipsets) - we have not made any announcements with BIOS vendors yet, but do not anticipate any issues. Regarding chipsets, we are working closely with most chipset vendors. In fact, Acer Labs, Via, and Utron - 3 chipset vendors - have already announced they are working with us during Computex last month and had Rise displays in their booths at the show. Q: How are your production levels?
A: How are our production levels - we are currently not in production. We have not yet released our manufacturing strategy except to say that we are fabless. We do not expect manufacturing capacity to be a problem however. Q: Unique features (hopefully with no incompatibilities)?
A: Unique Features - we think so, come to Microprocessor Forum to find out. Q: Integrated cache, L1, L2?
A: Integrated caches - we have not yet released that data. Q: Plans for moving to copper at some point?
A: Plans for moving to copper - we have not yet released that data. Q: Implementation of the new shrinking process for smaller die size?
A: New shrinking process - we have not yet released that data. Q: Is the mP6 mainly for notebooks?
A: Is the mP6 mainly for notebooks - we designed the processor from the ground up with the needs of mobile users in mind. For this reason, we think we offer a unique solution in the market to mobile users - since all of our competitors started with desktop designs and try to shoehorn them into mobile through subsequent process shrinks. However, just because we have the only part designed for mobile doesn't mean we can't also go into desktop applications, and I would expect to see a number of motherboards coming to market with the Rise mP6. Q: Availability?
A: Availability - Q4 Q: Future socket/slot (what will/would Rise do if Cyrix were to go on to Slot 1 and AMD to the EV6 bus)?
A: Future sockets - we have not yet announced future socket or slot plans. However, we believe that the life of Socket 7 and Super Socket 7 (as well as logical socket 7 such as a BGA package without a socket) still has significant life. All of the major chipset vendors are continuing to support socket 7, and are in fact doing further integration (did you see the SiS announcement this week for a 100MHz SS7 chipset with integrated graphics). These solutions, when combined with the mP6, are ideal for the next wave of entry-level low-cost systems that need higher performance and/or lower power consumption than today's low-cost CPU's or integrated CPU solutions offer.