Computer Business Review

DEC ADDS ALPHAs FOR PERSONAL COMPUTERS, CONTROL

by CBR Staff Writer| 12 September 1993

Digital Equipment Corp on Friday released two enhanced versions of its existing 21064 Alpha AXP microprocessor to take it into the volume personal computer and embedded markets. It is also planning a whole new Alpha chip codenamed EV5, sometime next year. The enhanced DECchip 21066 - the EV45 - integrates 2.4m transistors compared with 1.8m on the 21064. It will initially run at up to 166MHz, although higher clock speeds are expected too. (The 21064 clocks between 150MHz and 200MHz). The 21066 also provides more libraries and more on-board cache. It also has an on-chip memory controller, phase-locked loop clock and graphics accelerator, but like its sister, the new 21068, is the first to incorporate Intel Corp's Peripheral Component Interconnect bus, which enables Alpha machines to use peripheral chips for the iAPX-86 family. The 21066 is targeted at the NT market, but will, in addition, run OSF/1, OpenVMS and DECelx. DEC says it could add Unix System V.4 to the list in future. The processor costs $385 for 5,000-up, and although samples are available now, volume ships won't start until the first quarter of 1994. The 21068 chip is, conversely, aimed at high-end embedded control and laptop markets. It runs at 66MHz, includes all the on-board features of the 21066 - with which it is pin-compatible - and runs the same operating systems. This version is $221 per chip in quantities of $5,000, and is available over the same time-scale as its sister. The new Alpha, confusingly also known as 21066 internally, will be quite different from its predecessors. It will in corporate a process shrink from the existing standard 0.68 micron to 0.5 micron. It will have six pipelines instead of the current two, run at over 300MHz, and is planned to be scalable from a laptop to a mainframe.

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