88000

88000

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The 88000 is a RISC instruction set architecture (ISA) developed by Motorola
Motorola
Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

. The 88000 was Motorola's attempt at a home-grown RISC architecture, started in the 1980s. The 88000 arrived on the market some two years after the competing SPARC
SPARC
SPARC is a RISC instruction set architecture developed by Sun Microsystems and introduced in mid-1987....

 and MIPS
MIPS architecture
MIPS is a reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by MIPS Technologies . The early MIPS architectures were 32-bit, and later versions were 64-bit...

. Due to the late start and extensive delays releasing the second-generation MC88110, the m88k achieved very limited success outside of the MVME platform and embedded controller environments.

Though sometimes referred to as A88k, the Apollo PRISM
Apollo PRISM
PRISM was Apollo Computer's high-performance CPU used in their DN10000 series workstations. It was for some time the fastest single-chip CPU available, a high fraction of a Cray-I in workstation...

 is not related to the Motorola 88000.

History


Originally called the 78000 as a homage to their famed 68000
Motorola 68000
The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor...

 series, the design went through a tortured development path, including the name change, before finally emerging in April 1988.

In the late 1980s several companies were actively watching the 88000 for future use, including NeXT
NeXT
Next, Inc. was an American computer company headquartered in Redwood City, California, that developed and manufactured a series of computer workstations intended for the higher education and business markets...

, Apple Computer
Apple Computer
Apple Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad...

 and Apollo Computer
Apollo Computer
Apollo Computer, Inc., founded 1980 in Chelmsford, Massachusetts by William Poduska and others, developed and produced Apollo/Domain workstations in the 1980s. Along with Symbolics and Sun Microsystems, Apollo was one of the first vendors of graphical workstations in the 1980s...

, but all gave up by the time the 88110 was available in 1990.

There was an attempt to popularize the system with the 88open
88open
The 88open Consortium was an industry standards group set up by Motorola in 1988 to standardize Unix systems on their Motorola 88000 RISC processor systems...

 group, similar to what Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems, Inc. was a company that sold :computers, computer components, :computer software, and :information technology services. Sun was founded on February 24, 1982...

 was attempting with their SPARC
SPARC
SPARC is a RISC instruction set architecture developed by Sun Microsystems and introduced in mid-1987....

 design. It appears to have failed in any practical sense.

In the early 1990s Motorola joined the AIM
AIM alliance
The AIM alliance was an alliance formed on October 2, 1991, between Apple Inc. , IBM, and Motorola to create a new computing standard based on the PowerPC architecture. The stated goal of the alliance was to challenge the dominant Wintel computing platform with a new computer design and a...

 effort to create a new RISC design based on the IBM POWER
IBM POWER
POWER is a reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by IBM. The name is an acronym for Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC....

 design. They worked a few features of the 88000 into the new PowerPC
PowerPC
PowerPC is a RISC architecture created by the 1991 Apple–IBM–Motorola alliance, known as AIM...

 design to offer their customer base some sort of upgrade path. At that point the 88000 was dumped as soon as possible.

Architecture


Like the 68000 before it, the 88000 was considered to be a very "clean" design. It was a pure 32-bit load/store architecture, using separate instruction and data caches (Harvard architecture
Harvard architecture
The Harvard architecture is a computer architecture with physically separate storage and signal pathways for instructions and data. The term originated from the Harvard Mark I relay-based computer, which stored instructions on punched tape and data in electro-mechanical counters...

), and separate data and address buses. It had a small but powerful command set, and, like all Motorola CPUs, did not use memory segmentation.

A major architectural mistake was that both integer instructions and floating-point instructions used the same register file
Register file
A register file is an array of processor registers in a central processing unit . Modern integrated circuit-based register files are usually implemented by way of fast static RAMs with multiple ports...

. This required the single register file to have sufficient read and write ports to support both the integer execution unit and the floating-point unit. The connections for each port is an additional capacitive load that must be driven by register memory cell. This made it more difficult to build high frequency superscalar implementations.

Implementations



The first implementation of the 88000 ISA was the MC88100
MC88100
The MC88100 is a microprocessor developed by Motorola that implemented 88000 instruction set architecture. Announced in 1988, the MC88100 was the first 88000 implementation. It was succeeded by the MC88110 in the early 1990s....

 microprocessor
Microprocessor
A microprocessor incorporates the functions of a computer's central processing unit on a single integrated circuit, or at most a few integrated circuits. It is a multipurpose, programmable device that accepts digital data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory, and...

, which included an integrated FPU
Floating point unit
A floating-point unit is a part of a computer system specially designed to carry out operations on floating point numbers. Typical operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square root...

. Mated to this was the MC88200 MMU
Memory management unit
A memory management unit , sometimes called paged memory management unit , is a computer hardware component responsible for handling accesses to memory requested by the CPU...

 and cache
CPU cache
A CPU cache is a cache used by the central processing unit of a computer to reduce the average time to access memory. The cache is a smaller, faster memory which stores copies of the data from the most frequently used main memory locations...

 controller. The idea behind this splitting of duties was to allow multiprocessor
Multiprocessor
Computer system having two or more processing units each sharing main memory and peripherals, in order to simultaneously process programs.Sometimes the term Multiprocessor is confused with the term Multiprocessing....

 systems to be built more easily; a single MC88200 could support up to four MC88100s. However, this also meant that building the most basic system, with a single processor, required both chips and considerable wiring between them, driving up costs. This is likely another major reason for the 88000's limited success.


This was later addressed by the superscalar
Superscalar
A superscalar CPU architecture implements a form of parallelism called instruction level parallelism within a single processor. It therefore allows faster CPU throughput than would otherwise be possible at a given clock rate...

 MC88110, which combined the CPU, FPU, MMU, and L1 cache into a single package. An additional modification, made at the behest of MIT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

's *T project, resulted in the MC88110MP, including on-chip communications for use in multi-processor systems. A version capable of speeds up to 100 MHz was planned as the MC88120, but was never built.

An implementation for embedded applications, the MC88300, was under development during the early 1990s, but was eventually canceled. Ford was the only design win, and they were offered a PowerPC design as a replacement, which they accepted.

Products and applications



Motorola released a series of single-board computer
Single-board computer
A single-board computer is a complete computer built on a single circuit board, with microprocessor, memory, input/output and other features required of a functional computer. Unlike a typical personal computer, an SBC may not include slots into which accessory cards may be plugged...

s, known as the MVME
Motorola Single Board Computers
Motorola Single Board Computers is Motorola's production line of computer boards for embedded systems. There were three different lines : mvme68k, mvmeppc and mvme88k. The first version of the board appeared in 1988...

 series, for building "out of the box" systems based on the 88000, as well as the Series 900 stackable computers employing these MVME boards. Unlike tower or rack mount systems, the Series 900 sat on top of each other and connected to one another with bus-like cabling. The concept never caught on.

NCD
Network Computing Devices
Network Computing Devices was a company founded in 1987 to produce a new class of products now known as a "thin client". It was founded in Mountain View, CA, and when it closed it was headquartered in Portland, Oregon....

 used the 88100 (without the 88200) in its 88K X-Terminals. The 88110 made it into some versions of a never released NeXT
NeXT
Next, Inc. was an American computer company headquartered in Redwood City, California, that developed and manufactured a series of computer workstations intended for the higher education and business markets...

 machine, the NeXT RISC Workstation
NeXT RISC Workstation
The NeXT RISC Workstation, or NRW, was an unreleased computer workstation designed by NeXT during the early 1990s as a successor to the m68k-based NeXTcube and NeXTstation...

, but the project was canceled along with all NeXT hardware projects in 1993. The 4-processor OMRON
OMRON
is a Japanese electronics company based in Kyoto.Omron was established by Kazuma Tateishi in 1933 and incorporated in 1948. Omron's primary business is the manufacture and sale of automation components, equipment and systems, but it is generally known for medical equipment such as digital...

 luna88k machines from Japan used the m88k, and were used for a short time on the Mach kernel project at Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States....

. A number of similar smaller systems were also built, but none are widely known.

In the embedded computer space, the "Tri-channel VMS Computer" in the F-15 S/MTD used three 88000s in a triply redundant computer.

Major users were limited. The only widespread third-party computer use would be in the Data General AViiON
Data General AViiON
AViiON was a series of computers from Data General that were the company's main product from the late 1980s until the company's server products were discontinued in 2001. Earlier AViiON models used the Motorola 88000 CPU, but later models moved to an all-Intel solution when Motorola stopped work on...

 series. These were fairly popular, and remain in limited use today. Encore Computer
Encore Computer
Encore Computer was an early pioneer in the parallel computing market, based in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Although offering a number of system designs beginning in 1985, they were never as well known as other companies in this field such as Pyramid Technology, Alliant, and the most similar...

 built their Encore-91 machine on the m88k, then introduced a completely ground-up redesign as the Infinity 90 series, but it is unclear how many of these machines were sold. In the early 1990s Northern Telecom used the 88100 and 88110 as the central processor in its DMS
Digital Multiplex System
Digital Multiplex System is the name shared among several different telephony product lines from Nortel Networks for wireline and wireless operators...

 SuperNode family of telephone switches. All of these users were forced to move to other processors when Motorola later gave up on the m88k; DG went to Intel, Encore to the Alpha
DEC Alpha
Alpha, originally known as Alpha AXP, is a 64-bit reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by Digital Equipment Corporation , designed to replace the 32-bit VAX complex instruction set computer ISA and its implementations. Alpha was implemented in microprocessors...

.

GEC Computers
GEC Computers
GEC Computers Limited was the computer manufacturing company under the GEC holding company.-History:Starting life as Elliott Automation, the data processing computer products were transferred to ICT/ICL and non-computing products to English Electric as part of a reorganisation of the parent company...

 used the 88100 to build the GEC 4310, one of the GEC 4000 series
GEC 4000 series
The GEC 4000 was a series of 16/32-bit minicomputers produced by GEC Computers Ltd. of the UK during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.- History :...

 computers, but issues with memory management meant it didn't perform as well as their earlier gate array
Gate array
A gate array or uncommitted logic array is an approach to the design and manufacture of application-specific integrated circuits...

 based and Am2900 based GEC 4000 series computers, and no more GEC systems were design using the 88000 family.

The BBN Butterfly model TC-2000 used the 88100 processor, and scaled to 512 CPUs.

Linotype-Hell used the 88110 in their "Power" workstations running the DaVinci
Linotype-Hell DaVinci
Linotype-Hell DaVinci was an image manipulation program targeted at the repro and print shop markets. It originally ran on proprietary hardware, but was later ported to Silicon Graphics workstations. The first version was released in 1993, and it continued to see regular releases until Heidelberg...

 raster graphics editor
Raster graphics editor
A raster graphics editor is a computer program that allows users to paint and edit pictures interactively on the computer screen and save them in one of many popular “bitmap” or “raster” formats such as JPEG, PNG, GIF and TIFF....

 for image manipulation.

Dolphin Server, a spin-off from the dying Norsk Data built servers based on the 88k. Around 100 systems were shipped during 1988-1992.

Alpha Microsystems
Alpha Microsystems
Alpha Microsystems is a computer company founded in 1977 by John French, Dick Wilcox and Bob Hitchcock. The first Alpha Micro computer was the S-100 AM-100, based upon the WD16 microprocessor chipset from Western Digital...

 originally planned to migrate to the 88K architecture from the Motorola 68000
Motorola 68000
The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor...

, and internally created a machine around it running UNIX System V
UNIX System V
Unix System V, commonly abbreviated SysV , is one of the first commercial versions of the Unix operating system. It was originally developed by American Telephone & Telegraph and first released in 1983. Four major versions of System V were released, termed Releases 1, 2, 3 and 4...

, but it was later scrapped in favour of later 68K derivatives.

Operating system support


Motorola released its own UNIX System V
UNIX System V
Unix System V, commonly abbreviated SysV , is one of the first commercial versions of the Unix operating system. It was originally developed by American Telephone & Telegraph and first released in 1983. Four major versions of System V were released, termed Releases 1, 2, 3 and 4...

 derivative, System V/88, for its 88000-based systems. There were two major releases: Release 3.2 Version 3 and Release 4.0 Version 3. Data General AViiON systems ran DG/UX
DG/UX
DG/UX was a Unix operating system developed by Data General for its Eclipse MV minicomputer line, and later the AViiON workstation and server line ....

. OpenBSD
OpenBSD
OpenBSD is a Unix-like computer operating system descended from Berkeley Software Distribution , a Unix derivative developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It was forked from NetBSD by project leader Theo de Raadt in late 1995...

 ports exist for the MVME systems, LUNA-88K workstations, and Data General AViiON systems. At least one unofficial experimental NetBSD
NetBSD
NetBSD is a freely available open source version of the Berkeley Software Distribution Unix operating system. It was the second open source BSD descendant to be formally released, after 386BSD, and continues to be actively developed. The NetBSD project is primarily focused on high quality design,...

port exists for the MVME systems.

External links