Wednesday Mar 14, 2007

OpenSPARC T1 Version 1.4 Released

OpenSPARC T1 v1.4 adds significant new functionality as well as new platform support in its hardware bundle. On the design side, it adds knob to create single core, single thread implementation of the OpenSPARC T1. This, we believe, will be useful in creating multi-core designs that do not include hardware threading. Additionally, it also provides an option to create FPGA implementation from the base design. This FPGA option creates a fully synchronous design with better utilization of on-chip FPGA resources like Block RAMs and Multipliers. And finally, version v1.4 also includes an option to remove Stream Processing Unit (SPU) from the design. Since SPU is essentially an on-chip hardware accelerator for cryptographic functions, one can choose to remove it for more general purpose CPU implementations.

Although three options described above can be chosen independent of each other, combining them will create an FPGA implementation with the smallest possible area foot-print. Needless to say, we have also included verification environment for the new additions and also added, for the first time, elementary support for netlist verification through vector playback.

Together with design enhancements, OpenSPARC T1 v1.4 also supports x86_64 hardware platform.

For more details, please check the "OpenSPARC T1 Processor Design and Verification User's Guide" included under to "doc" directory of the hardware distribution.

Download it now!

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Thursday Mar 08, 2007

OpenSPARC Community Threads - March 2007

Read the OpenSPARC Community Threads - March 2007 for the latest update from the OpenSPARC community.

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Friday Feb 16, 2007

OpenSPARC Expert Exchange

As a follow-up to the Sun Net Talk on OpenSPARC, an Expert Exchange, a live Q&A chat with Sun engineers on OpenSPARC was held on Wednesday, January 31 at 10am. The transcript is now available under the Expert Exchange archive.

The Expert Exchange was excellent. Lots of questions and answers, 29 in total. The chat application was very good, started without a fuss. One textarea to submit questions and another with the ongoing Q&A. My only negative comment would be that the chat monitor should have had a welcome message or a status that the exchange had started, since it was not obvious that it had. The first Q&A didn't appear until 12-15 minutes after 10am. Overall well worth the time spent. Below are the results from a short poll offerred during the session.

Highlights:
  • 57 Live attendees (14 Sun employees)
  • 29 Online questions answered
  • 23 % of the audience completed the poll
  • 69% of the audience responding to the poll are interested in adopting course work for OpenSPARC and Cool Tools
The Polling Results are very interesting
  • 23% of the audience completed the poll
  • 21 Started the poll, 13 Completed the poll
  1. Have you downloaded the OpenSPARC source code?
       No - 58%
       Yes - 42%
  2. What is your reason for interest in OpenSPARC?
       General interest - 54%
       Education - 31%
       Product development - 8%
       Research - 8%
  3. Have you downloaded any of the Cool Tools?
       No - 67%
       Yes - 33%
  4. Which Cool Tools are you interested in?
       Developer (Sun Studio 11, GCC for SPARC Systems) - 69%
       Deployment (coolstack, consolidation tool, cooltst) - 15%
       Performance tuning (ats/bit/spot) - 15%
  5. Are you interested in adopting course work for OpenSPARC and Cool Tools?
       Yes - 69%
       No - 39%
  6. Please rate this Expert Exchange event. Specifically what did you think of the chat content?
       Above average - 46%
       Exceptional - 38%
       Average - 15%
       Below average - 0%
       Poor - 0%
  7. Please rate this Expert Exchange event. Specifically what did you think of the tool?
       Exceptional - 38%
       Above Average - 38%
       Average - 23%
       Below Average - 0%
       Poor - 0%
  8. After participating in today's Expert Exchange, are you more or less inclined to consider Sun as a vendor?
       More Inclined - 77%
       No change - 15%
       Less Inclined - 8%
  9. How often do you talk to your Sun sales representative or Sun partner?
       Do not have a relationship - 31%
       Infrequently - once per year - 31%
       Occasionally - once every 3-6 months- 23%
       Frequently - once per month - 15%
  10. Would you recommend Sun for purchase of the products and solutions discussed in this Expert Exchange?
       Yes - 100%
       No - 0%


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Wednesday Feb 14, 2007

Niagara2 Presentation at ISSCC 2007

Here's the presentation that was made on Niagara2 at ISSCC 2007, An 8-core, 64-thread, 64-bit, power efficient SPARC SoC (Niagara2)

Some basic specifications of the Niagara2 microprocessor:
  • 8 SPARC cores, 8 threads/core
  • 4MB L2, 8 banks, 16-way set associative
  • 16KB I$ and 8KB D$ per core
  • FP, Graphics, Crypto per code
  • 4 dual-channel FBDIMM memory controller @ 4.8Gb/s
  • X8 PCI-Express @ 2.5Gb/s
  • Two 10G Ethernet port @ 3.125 Gb/s
  • 342mm2
  • 503 million-transistor
  • fabricated on a 65nm process
  • dissipates 84W when running at 1.4GHz


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Tuesday Jan 30, 2007

OpenSPARC Community Threads January 2007

Read the OpenSPARC Community Threads - Januaury 2007 for the latest update from the OpenSPARC community.

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Tuesday Jan 09, 2007

Sun Net Talk on OpenSPARC

Check out the latest Sun Net Talk. This one is about, OpenSPARC: Innovation Opportunities with the World's First Open Source CPU. Join Fadi Azhari, Darryl Gove, Dave Weaver, Shrenik Mehta and Simon Phipps as they gave a great overview of OpenSPARC and the Cool Tools in a 32 minute audiovisual presentation.

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Thursday Dec 14, 2006

OpenSPARC Community Threads December 2006

Read the OpenSPARC Community Threads December2006 for an update on what is happening in the OpenSPARC community.

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Thursday Nov 16, 2006

Joomla! Wins the 2006 Open Source Content Management System Award

Packt Publishing announced that Joomla! is the the winner of the 2006 Open Source Content Management System Award.

Joomla! is the youngest CMS of the five finalists having originated by the then Mambo development team in August 2005. Joomla! was chosen due to its ease of installation and use along with the active development and community that supports the project. Joomla! narrowly beats out Drupal, which takes second place.

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Thursday Oct 12, 2006

Niagara 2 @ Fall Microprocessor Forum 2006

Robert Golla, one of the principal architects on Niagara 2, give a presentation at the Fall Microprocessor Forum 2006 this past week, October 9-11. A few more details of the design were presented including:

Niagara2 has improved performance vs. UltraSparc T1
  • Better integer throughput and throughput/watt (>2x)
  • Improved integer single-thread performance (>1.4x)
  • Better floating-point throughput (>10x)
  • Better floating-point single-thread performance (>5x)
The presentations is posted at OpenSPARC.net.

A few articles have been written too: All very exciting and 2007 is looking to be a great year.

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Wednesday Sep 27, 2006

OpenSPARC Frappr!

A few months ago Frappr! updated their mapping capability and it's much smoother. They switched to Yahoo!'s Map api and use an ajax/flash interface. It's another way to show participation in a community. Join the OpenSPARC community and put yourself on the map with the OpenSPARC Frappr!



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Tuesday Sep 19, 2006

OpenSPARC 65 nm Synthesis Contribution

A new OpenSPARC project has been created to hold contributions to the community , it's goal is to:
  • To provide a place for the community to share their contributions with other members of the community.
  • For smaller contributions that may not required the overhead of having their own dedicated project.
The first contribution is from, Professor Jose Renau from University of California at Santa Cruz who has contributed his 65 nm synthesis work. His scripts takes the OpenSPARC T1 RTL as input and synthesizes them to gates using Synopsys Design Compiler. Using TSMC technology available to Universities from Synopsys, the design can be run at 950 MHz with no caches.

Go check out this new project contribution and OpenSPARC.net

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Wednesday Sep 13, 2006

Another New Cool Tool, CoolTuner

One of the goals of Cool Tools is to make the experience of deploying Sun Fire T1000 and Sun Fire T2000 easier for our customers. With that in mind, the latest Cool Tool to be released is, CoolTuner.

CoolTuner is a software tool designed to automatically tune a Sun Fire T1000 or T2000 system, applying patches and setting system parameters to bring the system up to best practice recommendations. The tool is also capable of auto-updating itself over the Internet to take advantage of future tuning recommendations and to apply new recommended patches.

Check out all of the Cool Tools!

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OpenSPARC Community Welcomes the S1 Project

Simply RISC announced this week the release of the S1 Core, codename 'Sirocco', based on the OpenSPARC T1. Several articles have appeared in the last few days:
A new sub-project under OpenSPARC has been created: http://s1.sunsource.net/
Fabrizio Fazzino sent an annoucement about this new project.
Basically the S1 Core is a project to create a cut-down version of the OpenSPARC T1 targeted towards embedded devices. The main features of the S1 Core are:
  • only one SPARC CPU Core (capable of running 4 threads);
  • a bridge from the PCX/CPX protocol to the Wishbone bus interface supported by several cores freely available at www.opencore.org ;
  • a very very simple simulation and synthesis environment with just few short and commented scripts;
  • both simulation and synthesis should work with Icarus Verilog 0.8 (so no commercial licenses are required).
There are a forum and mailing lists on s1.sunsource.net/ so we hope to get some collaboration there; most of the work has been done but we would like to have some help from the community.

Happy hacking!

Fabrizio
Welcome to the OpenSPARC community!! Looking forward to more exciting innovation.

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Tuesday Sep 12, 2006

Computer Architecture, Fourth Edition: A Quantitative Approach

One of the best known books on computer architecture will be getting updated with a new edition. I haven't seen it yet but I'm looking forward to getting a copy and reading all the new content. There will be a focus on multi-core processors and the evolution that is occuring around the shift from single to multi-core.

Computer Architecture, Fourth Edition: A Quantitative Approach
by John L. Hennessy, David A. Patterson

It will have a whole chapter devoted to the UltraSPARC T1 (aka Niagara) processor.

It's going to be available in a few days, September 15, 2006.
Get your copy from Amazon.

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Take the Poll: What is your interest in OpenSPARC?

OpenSPARC.net has the ability to hold polls. This feature was broken, but it's working again. We would really like your input. The poll will be changing periodically, the current poll is:

What is your interest in OpenSPARC?
  • Academic interest
  • Research interest
  • Vendor support
  • Derivative work
  • Just looking

Please go take the poll!!

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