Tag Archives: CISC

Intel’s “Atom” is unlike Acorn’s “Atom”

SOMEWHERE in this murky brown study I have an Acorn Atom – really it was a prototype for the BBC Micro, which Acorn also made.
The Acorn Atom was an early personal computer and had some nightmare qualities – the microprocessor got so hot that I had to use a hacksaw to stop the plastic casing melting onto the chip.
Interesting chip design, the Intel Atom. Wouldn’t it be better, though, if Intel used an ARM chip rather than basically producing something which seems to be rather close to the Via C7 family?
But it’s got hyperthreading, and my Acorn Atom could barely run a single thread successfully, although must say the BBC Micro was a vast improvement and did some very nice RISCy things.
Still this whole semiconductor market isn’t anything to do with chip design these days, is it? The Alpha is the undead while the Itanium lingers on like the ghost of Christmas Past.