Accelerator boards - no future? Bad business?

Eric Smith spacewar at
Sat Apr 23 00:16:49 CDT 2016

On Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 9:29 PM, Sean Conner <spc at> wrote:
>   One major problem with adding a faster CPU to an SGI is the MIPS chip
> itself---code compiled for one MIPS CPU (say, the R3000) won't run on
> another MIPS CPU (say, the R4400) due to the differences in the pipeline.
> MIPS compilers were specific for a chip because such details were not hidden
> in the CPU itself, but left to the compiler to deal with.

Having written a bunch of R3000 and R4000/4200/4300/4400/4600 assembly
code in the 1990s, my (possibly faulty) recollection disagrees with
you. There are differences in supervisor-mode programming, but I don't
recall any issues with running 32-bit user-mode R3000 code on any
R4xxx. The programmer-visible pipelline behavior (e.g., branch delay
slots) were the same.

That's only considering the CPU itself, which I used as an embedded
processor; I never used IRIX so I don't know whether IRIX on R4xxx
might have somehow prevented use of IRIX R3xxx binaries (e.g., by
different system call conventions or the like).

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