Intel i960 evaluation board

From: Eric Smith <>
Date: Fri Apr 21 19:56:48 2000

I wrote:
> The i960 family was the stripped-down commercial version of the ill-fated
> Gemini (P7) 33-bit (not a typo!) processor, a collaboration between Intel
> and Siemens. The two companies created a workstation company called BiiN
> to sell the workstations, and although they shipped some prerelease
> machines, AFAIK they never offered any for sale.

Allison wrote:
> It also grew from the 8089 (20 bit) and the 8751(8bit) for embedded
> processing
> tasks like engine controls.

Perhaps you're thinking of the 8096. The i960 has no architectural or
design similarity to the 8089 or 8751, was not designed by the same
engineering organization, and was not originally intended for the
embedded market. As I stated previously, it was originally developed
for high-reliability workstations and servers.

Intel's ended up pushing the i960 for embedded use only after it failed
to be accepted as a workstation-class product.

The 8089 was not particularly intended for embedded applications; it was
supposed to be a channel controller, i.e., a smart DMA controller able
to perform functions similar to the channels on IBM mainframes. It is
very poorly suited to general purpose (non-DMA) use, even for embedded
systems (unless the embedded system needs a fancy DMA controller).
The only thing 20-bit about the 8089 is the address, but at least it was
a flat 20-bit space unlike that of the 8086.
Received on Fri Apr 21 2000 - 19:56:48 BST

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