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  1. Technology
January 27, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Trying to put on a brave face in the light of yesterday’s Compaq- DEC news Samsung Semiconductor Inc – Alpha’s heir apparent given Mitsubishi Electric Co doesn’t, according to our sources, seem to have much anything to offer in the way of chip-level products – unveiled what it said was a roadmap for its Alpha plans through 1998. Although there was nothing much of any roadmap we could figure out that Samsung does at least appear to have a couple of new OEMs on board. One is Hypertechnologies, an August 1997 start-up out of Cary, North Carolina, which is readying some new Alpha-based embedded system designs for 3D work on Windows NT. The six-person, privately-held concern is run by president Ken Boyette, and will next quarter deliver embedded Alpha Power engines for Compact PCI and VME plus a bus-less Node Box which uses a custom design. They’re being pitched at factory automation, medical imaging and other high-performance applications, although Boyette recognizes the lack of a real-time Microsoft Windows NT component is holding up the market despite the best efforts of third-party suppliers. All of its designs use 533MHz or 600MHz Samsung 21164 Alphas – it expects to get its hands on Samsung’s 0.25 micron, 700MHz hot-rod EV67 21264 next week – and support 2Mb L3 cache and up to 256Mb RAM. The rackmount Node Box includes four PMC I/O Slots for I/O. The Alpha Power for CompactPCI includes a 128-bit cache and system memory interface, onboard PCI UltraSCSI controller, SVGA video, 6Ux8HP CompactPCI and two 32-bit backplane PCI buses. The Alpha Power on VMEbus is identical except for VME64 support. Key to the success of its venture is Hypertechnologies’ use of some custom third party logic which provides the differentiation. It’s sure not getting the logic from DEC – concerned, like others have also heard, that DEC’s Alpha OEM business isn’t long for this world – but won’t say until launch where the work is coming from. Boyette hails from Intel VME board company Logical Design Group Inc which he sold to acquisitive New Mexico defense and industrial market specialist SBS Technologies Inc last August. A no-compete cause meant he couldn’t do Intel/VME work at Hypertechnologies so figured on using Alpha to achieve two and four times better performance than other CISC and RISC offerings. The company is looking for European distribution.

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