Digital has introduced a new generation of its Alpha Risc processor, the Alpha 21264, which it claims will attain clock speeds of more than 1GHz or 1,000MHz by 2000.
The announcement comes despite widespread speculation that the Alpha chip architecture will be put on the back burner, following the sale of Digital's chip factory to Intel and the proposed merger of Digital with Compaq.
"Digital is fully committed to developing future generations of the Alpha architecture and extending its performance leadership for the most demanding applications", said Harry Copperman, senior vice president and group executive of the Digital Products Division, in a statement.
Digital intends to use the chip in servers and in high end desktops. The first Alpha 21264 chips will deliver performance of 40SPECint95 and 60 SPECfp95, reaching 100 SPECint95 and 150 SPECfp by 2000. SPECint95 and SPECfp95 are industry standard benchmarks of integer and floating point performance, respectively.
The fastest current Intel chip, a 333MHz Pentium II, attains 12.70 SPECint95 and 9.25 SPECfp95, while the 266MHz PowerPC 750 performs similarly.
The new Alpha chip will be fabricated initially in 0.35 micron, six-layer Cmos, moving to .25 micron and .18 micron later. The chip is sampling now. The first systems using the new processor are expected to ship this summer.
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