Kryotech Inc, the West Columbia, South Carolina based company specialising in chip cooling technology, couldn’t have been all that pleased by the recent uncertainty over the future of the Alpha chip caused by lawsuits and negotiations between Digital Equipment Corp and Intel Corp. Last week at Comdex, the company, which has been most closely aligned with the Alpha chip during its development phase, turned up with a prototype refrigeration unit containing a 266MHz K6 chip from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Through the cooling process, Kryotech claimed, the chip was running at 375MHz. The cooling process typically speeds up chip performance by between 35% and 40%, it says. Adding an estimated $500 to the cost of a computer, the technology is of interest to users who value higher performance over cost, such as graphic designers and engineers. But the refrigeration system could potentially be added as a standard feature for high-end systems, such as mainframes, and Kryotech has already been involved in a contract to supply refrigeration technology to IBM System 390 mainframes, according to a report in the Boston Globe. Meanwhile, DEC is still considering using the technology to boost its Alpha systems to speeds of 800MHz. Last month the company fielded a Kryotech-enabled Alpha workstation as a contestant in a computer chess competition held in France – and won. DEC says it’s still evaluating whether or not to bring the technology to market. Kryotech was a spin-off from NCR Corp, formed in April 1996. It now has 22 employees.
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