MILPITAS, California, October 10, 1995 - NexGen Inc. (Nasdaq: NXGN) today presented details of the technology for its sixth generation x86 processor family at the 8th Annual Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, California. The Nx686 processor, shown running Microsoft Windows on first silicon, is designed for the highest levels of performance, yet will be targeted for the mainstream, high-volume personal computer market.
"The Nx686 product family is the next step in the Company's commitment to leadership in x86 processing solutions," said Vinod Dham, NexGen's Chief Operating Officer. "The Nx686 processor builds upon many of the technological firsts that NexGen pioneered with its Nx586 processor. We are targeting to have this advanced x86 solution in the timeframe the Pentium Pro is projected to be available to the mainstream PC marketplace."
Featured as the Forum's "mystery guest", Greg Favor, NexGen's Director of Nx686 Processor Development, highlighted some of the processor's primary goals. Among these are low cost sixth generation performance on both existing 16-bit and new 32-bit code, acceleration of multimedia algorithms, low power for portable applications, and configurability for cost/performance tradeoffs.
NexGen focused on speeding up both 16-bit and 32-bit "real code" in the market. Performance estimates for the processor are up to twice the performance on 16-bit applications than those announced for Intel's Pentium Pro, and up to 33 percent higher on 32-bit code.
The Nx686 processor is a single-chip x86-compatible superscalar processor with approximately six million transistors. Targeted to be initially available at 180MHz, it will be manufactured using IBM Microelectronics advanced 0.35, 5 layer metal CMOS production process.
The Nx686 processor builds upon the RISC86 Microarchitecture pioneered in NexGen's Nx586 processor. The Nx686 processor extends this RISC86 microarchitecture by decoding multiple x86 instructions per clock cycle which are fed into seven execution units. These consist of two integer execution units, one floating point, one multimedia, one memory load, one memory store, and one branch execution unit. Advanced computer architecture techniques of speculative out-of-order execution and two-level branch prediction are used for increased performance.
In order to feed the high speed execution units, the Nx686 processor incorporates the industry's most advanced cache. The on-chip L1 caches consist of a 16KB instruction cache and a 32KB data cache. Like the Nx586 processor, the Nx686 processor has an integrated L2 cache controller with a private bus to off-chip SRAMs, allowing the L2 cache memory to operate at the same speed as the Nx686 processor. The L2 cache size can be as large as 2MB.
TARGETED AT MAINSTREAM PC MARKET
From the onset, the Nx686 processor is targeted to be used in high volume mainstream PCs in both commercial and home markets. The Nx686 processor will incorporate a multimedia execution unit for acceleration of multimedia algorithms and low power system management features for portable PCs.
The die size is projected to be smaller than Intel's announced die size for the Pentium Pro, offering the potential for significantly lower costs. In addition, the L2 cache is designed to be used with off-the-shelf synchronous pipelined burst SRAMs. Such SRAMs are commodity products, with wide availability, and thus have the potential to be lower in cost than Pentium Pro's announced internal, single-chip SRAM which has an expensive dual cavity package. The L2 cache was designed to offer system designers programmable configurations which allow for a range of price/performance PCs.
The Nx686 processor is supported by the same NxPCI/NxMC chipsets that are currently used in Nx586 based systems.
NexGen, Inc. (Nasdaq: NXGN) develops and utilizes industry-leading processor technologies to deliver high performance x86 processors to mainstream PC users. The Milpitas, California-based company currently holds many patents for its leading-edge x86 processor technology and has several more patents in process. For product information, call 1-800-8NEXGEN (1-800-863-9436) or (408) 435-0202, or you can reach us on the Web at http://www.nexgen.com.