Welcome to 2014 and a new year of exciting processors and technology finds at the CPU Shack Museum. We’ll spend the next couple weeks posting some of the more interesting finds of 2013 that didn’t get posted before.
The PA-RISC was HP’s architecture meant to unify all their non x86 processors of the 1980’s. The project began in the 1980’s and produced over a dozen processors designs, ending with the PA-8900 in 2005, though the Itanium borrows heavily from the PA-RISC line. HP discontinued support for PA-RISC servers in 2013 and recently announced that they will discontinue use of the Itanium as well.
Early PA-RISC processors were multi-chip designs such as this PA-7000. The PA-7000 pictured is only the CPU, the FPU was a separate chips, as was the L1 caches (no support for L2 caches). A memory controller was also a separate chip. Made on a 1 micron process the PA-7000 had 580,000 transistors and ran at 66MHz. Early versions had 2 lugs for the heatsink on the package while later versions had only a single lug.