The Alpha RISC chip’s backers were strutting new performance high watermarks for the RISC chip at PC Expo this week, along with new packaging they hope will make it easier and more attractive for companies to adopt. Who knows, maybe there will even be more Alpha-based systems on the show floor next year.
Samsung Electronics Co’s Alpha Processor Inc, effectively the marketing arm for Compaq Computer Corp’s Alpha chip, demonstrated a system running a 1GHz Alpha chip this week as well as announcing a 750MHz version of the 21264 which will ship next month. The 1GHz, 0.18 micron EV68 has previously been identified as due for deployment mid-2000, reaching 65 SPECint95 and 95 SPECfp95.
The souped-up 750MHz, 0.25 micron 21264 EV67 will power a new high-end line of Compaq AlphaServers called WildFire due by year- end. It should be up to 833MHz by then and reach 1GHz as it moves to an EV68 0.18 micron process. The 1GHz part shown at PC Expo doesn’t require the kind of supercooling other computers with 1GHz CPUs from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices require.
API also announced a standard module and slot architecture for servers processors that it calls Slot B, after Intel’s Slot 2 – the idea being that it’s easier to design and build system that use standardized components. API has a UP2000 motherboard which supports two Slot B processors, such as 21264. It uses the chipset from Compaq’s recently-introduced DS20 server. The UP2000 is described as an extended ATX form factor supporting SCSI, PCI and USB. With a 750MHz Alpha 21264 it’s not a cheap ticket item though; the $6,600 tag is hardly likely to attract volume business although it offers significantly more performance than a 500MHz Slot 2 Xeon board, which costs $3,700.