Intel and Microsoft have begun work on a quad-processor standard based on the Deschutes architecture, prompting speculation that Microsoft will withdraw NT support for Digital's Alpha processor in less than two years.
The companies plan to couple the processor with the forthcoming AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) design, which supports a throughput of up to 1Gbps, making the Alpha a poor second choice.
The chip, which would be targeted at the high-end graphics/CAD markets, is being supported by several vendors including Intergraph, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM. It will take on the Alpha in the NT arena sometime in 1999, when many analysts believe NT will be the leading server OS.
Microsoft recently pulled NT support on both the PowerPC and MIPS platforms because of commercial reasons, leaving Intel and Alpha as the only platforms left supported by NT.
An Intel spokeswoman told PC Week the new design will be 100% faster than a current Pentium Pro 200Mhz and would be a serious threat to Digital's Alpha designs. "This performance is very likely to sway Microsoft into pulling NT support away from the Alpha," she added.
Microsoft declined to say whether it would be swayed, and said as long as the Alpha keeps selling strongly there was no chance of Microsoft going "Intel only".
But at least one industry source sees it differently. The source, who runs a leading UK graphics design company, said: "This is just another example of Microsoft and Intel getting it together to launch an attack on another competitor. In a year or so, NT will be even stronger than it is today and Microsoft could well switch all support (for NT) to the Intel platform."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago