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Subject:Re: The Pentium 90 Chip From:Steve Fouts <sfouts -at- ELLISON -dot- SC -dot- TI -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 1 Dec 1994 11:07:19 CST
|} I'll be graduating in May with BS in Communication/Technical. The job
|} prospect isn't that great in this area of Florida, so I may find myself
|} contracting. I want to be able to offer potential employers the layout
|} and design and multimedia development in addition to writing.
|} I placed an order with Gateway for a Pentium 90 system with many
|} goodies (16 meg RAM, 17" screen, PCI bus, high end VRam video card,
|} 4X spin CD Rom). I ordered the Pentium even though there has been
|} much adverse publicity because a very knowledable friend of mine said
|} that the main problem Intel has is with the lower Pentiums, and there
|} haven't been problems with the 90s.
The problem, as I understand it, is that the FDIV (Floating-Point Division)
algorithm is flawed. Understand that any digital processor does mathematics
in binary, then relies on a highly complex algorithm to convert the
floating-point binary number to a floating-point decimal number. It is
impossible to completely verify the accuracy of all of these calculations,
(there are in excess of 10**18 possible separate calculations)
and it is probable that EVERY algorithm ever invented for this purpose
is flawed to a greater or lesser extent.
Unless your work depends on A) EXTREMELY precise calculations or B)
Huge numbers of cascading floating-point ops you would probably never
know that there was a problem. If you don't rely on A or B, and it
doesn't appear that you do, then enjoy your new machine.
/ ___ __/__\ \ / / _\ Steve Fouts
/___ \| | ___\ | / __\ sfouts -at- ellison -dot- sc -dot- ti -dot- com
/ / \ | \ / \
/_______/__|_______\_/________\ "She understood, as he did, that all writing
was infernally boring and futile, but that it had to be done out of respect
for tradition" --Stanislaw Lem