Compaq to create 0.13 micron Intel killer

Alpha sixpence is better than Alpha penny

Fears that Compaq will ditch the Alpha processor appear to have been scotched with sources claiming the firm will produce the 64-bit processor using a 0.13 micron process and target it at Intel IA-64 processors.

But at the same time, the move to IBM copper technology seems to have thrown something of a spanner into Compaq's current plans, causing delays and slippages, with Samsung, too, encountering problems clocking the Alpha to high clock rates.

The plan to move to 0.13 micron 21264 technology is part of Compaq's EV69 project and will position the Alpha parts against Intel's Deerfield project.

Compaq has also started sampling EV68 parts although clock speeds of both its and its partner Samsung have so far only reached a max of 940MHz.

Many had anticipated that Compaq would be able to release 1GHz Alpha parts this month or early next, and there is some slippage on the development of these designs.

A 1GHz Alpha is not expected now to be available until the end of this year, although the relevance of megahertz to the platform is not particularly significant.

However, IBM, which is now fabbing Alpha microprocessors, as first revealed here in February last year, appears to be getting good clock speeds even from a 0.25 micron process technology.

The introduction of IBM's copper technology has, it appears, caused other delays. EV7 technology is now slated to appear in Q1 2001 but will intro at over 1.1GHz, the sources said. EV8 is likely to appear in Q1 2002.

Later that year we are likely to see 0.13 micron Alphas - intended to be Intel IA-64 killers. ®