PA-8000 Performance Results Exceed Earlier Estimates

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 4, 1996 -- Hewlett-Packard Company, the leading supplier of RISC(1)-based systems, today announced new levels of performance for its PA-8000 chip -- the industry's most powerful microprocessor. The PA-8000, HP's latest microprocessor, surpassed performance expectations in recent SPEC95 performance benchmark tests and outperformed its competitors by up to 260 percent. HP has been shipping 64-bit PA-8000-based systems to independent software vendors (ISVs) since January and plans to ship systems to customers this month.

Processor Performance Benchmark

                     HP       IBM         SUN          DEC       MIPS
                  PA-8000  PowerPC620  UltraSparc  Alpha 21164  R10000 
                  (180MHz)  (133MHz)    (167MHz)     (400MHz)  (200MHz)
SPECint95           11.8    5.6*/**       5.6        11.0 **     8.9 
SPECfp95            20.2    5.6* /**      9.1        14.0 **    12.5

The final SPEC95 performance measurements for the PA-8000 of SPECint95 of 11.8 and SPECfp95 of 20.2 far exceed HP's earlier estimates of 8.6 and 15, repectively, and outpace all competitors. The PA-8000's SPECint95 and SPECfp95 numbers are 110 percent and 260 percent higher, respectively, than those of IBM's PowerPC620. The PA-8000's SPECint95 and SPECfp95 numbers are 110 percent and 120 percent higher, respectively, than those of Sun's UltraSparc. The PA-8000's SPECint95 and SPECfp95 numbers are 7 percent and 31 percent higher, respectively, than those of Digital's Alpha.

"These are exceptional numbers," said Richard W. (Rich) Sevcik, HP vice president and general manager of the Systems Technology Group. "Customers will clearly see outstanding performance levels and can expect productivity increases with PA-8000-based systems."

HP continues to provide leading-edge performance and technology in a broad family of system products and is a co-developer, along with Intel, of the 64-bit Instruction Set Architecture.

HP Uses Advanced Optimizing Compilers as a Function of Performance Improvement

HP's last-year estimates of a SPECint95 rating of 8.6 and a SPECfp95 rating of 15 for the PA-8000 were made prior to the completion of HP's PA-8000-focused compiler enhancements. Compiler technology is integral to the performance of all RISC-based systems.

HP designed sophisticated heuristic algorithms to perform comprehensive analysis of application source and to produce executable code that efficiently and fully exploits the features of the PA-8000.

More than ever, HP's compilers track all system elements that affect PA-8000 throughput. Instruction scheduling, instruction and data pre-fetching, branch elimination, branch prediction and conflict and dependency avoidance are just a few of the optimizations made to ensure and enhance instruction-level parallelism within the microprocessor.

Microarchitecture Features

"Intelligent execution" is a concept denoting synergistic operation of all critical elements of the PA-8000 as those elements deliver breakthrough levels of performance. The PA-8000 is the first PA-RISC(2) processor to be designed with this concept fully assimilated.

Intelligent Execution is based on the PA-8000's out-of-order execution capability. This feature allows the PA-8000 to attain peak superscalar performance via instruction execution as data dependencies are resolved -- regardless of given sequential order. This capability -- combined with the PA-8000's large number of instruction execution units, its sophisticated branch prediction and speculative execution capability -- optimized cache organization and a high-performance bus interface.

PA-RISC Background

From its inception in 1986, PA-RISC was designed to extend well into the next century. HP designed PA-RISC in a simplified, modular fashion to accommodate future technologies, decrease system-design costs and reduce time-to-market for new products. HP offers the industry's broadest line of RISC-based workstations and business systems and servers.

Demand for RISC-based computers has grown steadily since the first commercially available RISC systems were shipped in the mid-1980s. According to the January 1996 issue of the newsletter "Inside the New Computer Industry," total RISC-systems revenue for 1995 was $41.73 billion (U.S.), with PA-RISC achieving the leadership position with 30 percent market share. HP leads the industry in total RISC-system revenue for the seventh consecutive year.

Currently, PA-RISC technology spans HP systems ranging from under-$4,000 (U.S.) workstations to large-scale, 14-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems with mainframe-class performance. This demonstrates PA-RISC's inherent scalability, a primary objective of its original architecture definition, and protects customers' hardware and software investments in this architecture.

HP is the second-largest computer supplier in the United States, with computer revenue in excess of $25.3 billion in its 1995 fiscal year.

Hewlett-Packard Company is a leading global manufacturer of computing, communications and measurement products and services recognized for excellence in quality and support. HP has 105,200 employees and had revenue of $31.5 billion in its 1995 fiscal year.

Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at

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(1) RISC stands for reduced instruction-set computing.
(2) PA-RISC stands for Precision Architecture-reduced-instruction-set computing.

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