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Compaq-AMD Alpha plans take Linux shape

Documents show Alpha will enter sub-$1,000 level

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Further details have emerged about a joint strategy between AMD and Compaq to leverage the Alpha platform. And the companies are including the Linux OS as part of their plans. As reported here last week, both companies are embarking on a motherboard strategy where high-end Alpha machines will drop to around the same price as top notch Intel boxes at present. (Stories: Cunning AMD-Compaq plan takes shape and Compaq boots 64-bit NT on Alpha server) Last week, Shannon knows Compaq exclusively revealed benchmarks and other details of Alphas to be launched over the next few weeks. But now documents seen by The Register give clear details about how Compaq, and by implication AMD, will position their products again Intel Slot IIs, the Willametee platform and, eventually Merced. According to the documents, there is now a good opportunity for the Alpha to fill the $0-$20K segments of the market with uni- and dual versions of the 21264 processors. The assumption, according to Compaq and its partners, is that there will be a gradual penetration of the NT space from 10 per cent currently to 30 per cent by the year 2001. But it is not just at the server level that Alpha could win, according to the documents. Desktops, too, will be targeted by Compaq and its partners. Later this month, the market will see dual 21264 Alpha processors in the 600/650MHz range, with designs aimed at the $1.5K to $2.5K level using a PCA 57 design and running at 600MHz. In the second quarter of this year, Compaq and its partners will go further and introduce 700MHz versions of the 21264, with 667MHz designs aimed at the lower end of the market. According to the documents, in the second half of this year we will see Tsunami motherboards, followed by AMD Uni designs and then Poseidon dual designs. While AMD refused to comment on its future plans, one source close to the company said: "Alpha and AMD do share the same bus and there will be, at least, dual capability in the future." Futher, the documents say that more 264 based motherboard information is being shared between Compaq and AMD, with a daughter card strategy en route. This will include 2Mb late write cache, an Alpha 21264 and two options -- one with 1Mb and 2Mb cache, similar to Slot One, while the other will use DDR cache of 2Mb and 4Mb, similar to the Xeon platform. In the second quarter of this year, the Iron-Gate chipset will be introduced, which will have a 100MHz bus, use the 2x implementation of AGP, and with a price of around only $200. The Alpha 21264 will be priced for volume this year, while the companies will offer the PCA57/RX for Linux and also for the sub $1,000 market. The EV6, EV67 and EV68 iterations are, according to the documents, the best solution for enterprise servers, workstations and desktops. ®

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