Enterprise, Hardware

MIPS Architecture Goes 64-bit, Multi-Core and Multi-Threading


As convergence happens, more and more technologies are clashing against each other, resulting in better products for the customers alike. This year, MIPS architecture celebrates 30 years of existence. In the mainstream media, it isn’t exactly widely known that MIPS was in fact, the first 32-bit architecture, followed by one of the first 64-bit CPU architectures. In the RISC vs. CISC wars of 1990s, MIPS lost its way as Silicon Graphics lost ground and ultimately, MIPS Technologies ended up spinning out of SGI’s toxic presence and ending up with a company that is currently valued at around 550 million dollars.

Die shot of MIPS R4200, one of predecessors to "Prodigy" CPU IP CoreMIPS Technologies announced that the company developed a 64-bit IP processor architecture that supports simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) tech as well. Under the codename "Prodigy", MIPS Technologies developed processor architecture that targets advanced networking devices, storage controllers as well as mobile devices such as phones. MIPS64 doesn’t target to become the heart of your mobile phone for example – but rather reduce the number of 3rd party chips which are necessary to operate the phone and prolong the battery life.

For instance, we know that LTE switching even on 700-800MHz spectrum is going to be a significant computing challenge and one of MIPS64 uses could be to switch faster – and reduce the overall power consumption. In terms of advanced networking, as switches are migrating from 100Mbps to 1Gbps and from 1Gbps to 10Gbps fast silicon based on MIPS64 enables use of more than 4GB of memory as cache for large-scale switches.

The interest for the multi-core, multi-threading and importantly low-power "Prodigy" core resulted in a sea of design wins and who knows, your next switch/Access Point/mobile phone might use the 64-bit IP processor before your central processor, that being OMAP, Snapdragon, Tegra and others.

According to information given, the adoption rate MIPS64 is very high as it brings around 15% of overall company revenue already. Time will tell just how fast Prodigy can ramp up…