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Compaq kicks Intel's Merced butt while it’s down

Alpha better than Merced, company says

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In a move which will send shock waves through the industry, Compaq said yesterday that it prefers the 64-bit Alpha processor to Merced as it offers better performance and is 50 per cent cheaper. Richard George, who runs the Alpha business in the UK, said: "The Alpha chip is better than the Merced chip. It has more applications than the IA64." George revealed that when Compaq releases the 600MHz EV6 later this year, it will have FX32 embedded into its kernel. Microsoft will access this 32-bit backward compatibility when it releases NT 5.0, he claimed. According to Compaq, the Merced carries too much baggage. That baggage, said George, includes the IA32 architecture and a close relationship with bitter rival Hewlett Packard. He said that even if Intel released the Merced on time, the Alpha will offer two and a half times its performance. "By that time, the Alpha will be 50 per cent cheaper than Merced," he said. Meanwhile, Hugh Jenkins, the enterprise director in charge of the consolidated Compaq-Tandem-Digital triumvirate, said that his company was still fully committed to Windows NT and Intel was still its partner. He said: "Ninety per cent of servers will run on Intel." But he said that the Alpha processor could displace Intel as a platform for Windows NT over the next few years. A source close to the company said: "Craig Barratt (Intel’s CEO) never talks to Eckhard Pfeiffer." That has a historical basis, he suggested. Four years ago, The Register exclusively reported a spat Pfeiffer had with Hans Geyer.

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