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Encyclopedia > Clipper architecture

The Clipper architecture is a 32-bit RISC-like instruction set architecture designed by Fairchild Semiconductor. The architecture never enjoyed much market success, and the only computer manufacturers to create major product lines using Clipper processors were Intergraph and High Level Hardware. The first processors using the Clipper architecture were designed and sold by Fairchild, but the division responsible for them was subsequently sold to Intergraph in 1987; Intergraph continued work on Clipper processors for use in its own systems. Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), is a microprocessor CPU design philosophy that favors a smaller and simpler set of instructions that all take about the same amount of time to execute. ... An instruction set, or instruction set architecture (ISA), describes the aspects of a computer architecture visible to a programmer, including the native datatypes, instructions, registers, addressing modes, memory architecture, interrupt and exception handling, and external I/O (if any). ... Fairchild Semiconductor introduced the first commercially available integrated circuit (although at almost the same time as one from Texas Instruments), and would go on to become one of the major players in the evolution of Silicon Valley in the 1960s. ... A Lego RCX Computer is an example of an embedded computer used to control mechanical devices. ... Intergraph was founded in 1969 as M&S Computing, Inc. ... The Orion was a series of 32-bit minicomputers designed and produced in the 1980s by High Level Hardware Ltd. ... 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Clipper architecture used a simplified instruction set compared to earlier CISC architectures, but it did incorporate some more complicated instructions than were present in other contemporary RISC processors. These instructions were implemented in a so-called Macro Instruction ROM within the Clipper CPU. This scheme allowed the Clipper to have somewhat higher code density than other RISC CPUs. A Complex Instruction Set Computer (CISC) is an instruction set architecture (ISA) in which each instruction can indicate several low-level operations, such as a load from memory, an arithmetic operation, and a memory store, all in a single instruction. ... Read-only memory (ROM) is a class of storage media used in computers and other electronic devices. ...

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Versions

Intergraph Clipper C4 (C400) CPU
Intergraph Clipper C4 (C400) CPU

The initial Clipper microprocessor produced by Fairchild was the C100, which became available in 1986. This was followed by the faster C300 from Intergraph in 1988. The final model of the Clipper was the C400, released in 1990, which was extensively redesigned to be faster and added more floating-point registers. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (796x796, 52 KB) Description: Intergraph Clipper C4 (C400) Microprocessor Source: http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (796x796, 52 KB) Description: Intergraph Clipper C4 (C400) Microprocessor Source: http://www. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year. ...


Intergraph started work on a subsequent Clipper processor design known as the C5, but this was never completed or released. Nonetheless, some advanced processor design techniques were devised for the C5, and Intergraph was granted patents on these. These patents, along with the original Clipper patents, have been the basis of patent-infringement lawsuits by Intergraph against Intel and other companies. A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a person for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which is new, inventive, and... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is an American multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ...


Unlike many other microprocessors, the Clipper processors were actually sets of several distinct chips. The C100 and C300 consist of three chips: one central processing unit containing both an integer unit and a floating point unit, and two cache and memory management units (CAMMUs), one responsible for data and one for instructions. The CAMMUs contained caches, translation lookaside buffers, and support for memory protection and virtual memory. The C400 consists of four basic units: an integer CPU, an FPU, an MMU, and a cache unit. The initial version used one chip each for the CPU and FPU and discrete elements for the MMU and cache unit, but in later versions the MMU and cache unit were combined into one CAMMU chip. A floating point unit (FPU) is a part of a CPU specially designed to carry out operations on floating point numbers. ... Look up cache in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Memory management is the act of managing computer memory. ... A Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB) is a buffer (or cache) in a CPU that contains parts of the page table which translate from virtual into real addresses. ... Memory protection is a system that prevents one process from corrupting the memory of another process running on the same computer at the same time. ... The memory pages of the virtual address space seen by the process, may reside non-contiguously in primary, or even secondary storage. ...

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Intergraph's Clipper Systems

Intergraph sold several generations of Clipper systems, including both servers and workstations. These systems included the InterAct, InterServe, and InterPro product lines and were targeted largely at the CAD market. In information technology, a server is a computer system that provides services to other computing systems—called clients—over a network. ... A computer workstation, often colloquially referred to as workstation, is a high-end general-purpose microcomputer designed to be used by one person at a time and which offers higher performance than normally found in a personal computer, especially with respect to graphics, processing power and the ability to carry... CAD is a TLA that may stand for: Cadiz Railroad (AAR reporting mark CAD) Canadian dollar – ISO 4217-code Capital Adequacy Directive Card Acceptance Device Children of the Anachronistic Dynasty Computer-aided design Computer-aided detection (medical) Computer-aided diagnosis (medical) Computer-assisted dispatch Computer-assisted drafting Coronary artery disease...


Fairchild promoted the CLIX operating system, a version of UNIX System V, for use with the Clipper. Intergraph adopted CLIX for its Clipper-based systems and continued to develop it; this was the only operating system available for those systems. Intergraph did work on a version of Microsoft Windows NT for Clipper systems and publicly demonstrated it, but this effort was canceled before release. [1] Intergraph decided to discontinue the Clipper line and began selling x86 systems with Windows NT instead. A brand of pre-painted miniatures game by WizKids featuring rotating statistics dials in the base of the figures. ... It has been suggested that Traditional Unix be merged into this article or section. ... A brand of pre-painted miniatures game by WizKids featuring rotating statistics dials in the base of the figures. ... The Microsoft Corporation, (NASDAQ: MSFT, HKSE: 4338) is a multinational computer technology corporation with global annual sales of US$44. ... Windows NT is a family of operating systems produced by Microsoft, the first version of which was released in July 1993. ... x86 or 80x86 is the generic name of a microprocessor architecture first developed and manufactured by Intel. ...

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References

  • Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation (1987). CLIPPER 32-Bit microprocessor: User's Manual. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-138058-3.
  • Walter Hollingsworth, Howard Sachs, and Alan Jay Smith (1989). "The CLIPPER Processor: Instruction Set Architecture and Implementation". Communications of the ACM 32 (2): 200-219. [2]
  • Howard Sachs, Harlan McGhan, Lee Hanson, and Nathan Brookwood (1991). "Design and Implementation Trade-offs in the Clipper C400 Architecture". IEEE Micro 11 (3): 18 - 21, 74-80. [3]

  Results from FactBites:
 
Clipper Summary (1783 words)
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Clipper architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (555 words)
The first processors using the Clipper architecture were designed and sold by Fairchild, but the division responsible for them was subsequently sold to Intergraph in 1987; Intergraph continued work on Clipper processors for use in its own systems.
The Clipper architecture used a simplified instruction set compared to earlier CISC architectures, but it did incorporate some more complicated instructions than were present in other contemporary RISC processors.
The final model of the Clipper was the C400, released in 1990, which was extensively redesigned to be faster and added more floating-point registers.
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