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November 2, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:18pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Whatever Intel Corp does with DEC’s Alpha RISC in the foundry, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has picked up the performance baton for now, delivering samples of a 700MHz Alpha KP21264 ‘A’ CPU done in the 0.25 EV67 manufacturing process. DEC’s own 21264, done in the 0.35 micron EV6 process, isn’t due until year-end. Samsung’s 15m transistor part is said to perform some 50 SPECint95 and 70 SPECfp95 fitted with a aggressive cache and memory subsystem. In its initial guise it’s also devoid of any kind of optimization which will propel the thing faster. The part, said to offer twice the performance of the current 533MHz Alpha, will ship in volume next year, some six to 12 months ahead of the first Alphas that Intel can roll out of the Hudson, Massachusetts fab it has bought from DEC and will re-tool for EV-67 manufacturing when its settlement with DEC is given the green light by US regulatory authorities. The chip’s destined for use in high-end workstations but Samsung’s also developing new versions of the low-end 21164PC. Samsung will try and keep ahead of Intel by moving to a 0.18 micron process as soon as it can. The suggestion is the part could reach clock speeds of more than 1GHz when chilled with supercooling technology provided by Kryotech Inc (CI No 3,122). Samsung’s has already said the 4,000 Alphas it will produce this year isn’t enough to meet demand and will produce 110,000 units next year and 1m in 1999. It’s supposedly thinking about a plan to use the Alpha as the core of a low-cost multimedia processor, to replace its MSP-1 multimedia chip project, abandoned back in May (CI No 3,263). Observers say Samsung will ensure Alpha remains on the top the performance curve even if Intel attempts to screw up Alpha manufacturing and point to the role it played in killing Intel in the DRAM market long ago. However the Korea Herald says Intel settlement has put the whole future of Alpha on the block at Samsung. Mitsubishi Electric Corp is DEC’s second source for the Alpha chip. Meantime Aspen Systems Inc’s already showing off its $2,000 Montrose box running a 533MHz 21164PC, more 21164PC stuff is expected to be shown at Comdex this month.


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