7/2/2001: Farewell to (better?) processor of 64 bits of the history: Intel buys Alpha
Compaq, until a few days ago possessor of the technology of the processor Alpha, has decided to sell it not any more not less than to Intel. Nevertheless, the agreement does not come down only to the technology of Alpha: Compaq has committed himself in that his next generation of professional servants will be completely based on the technology Itanium de Intel (the IA-64). It seems that the incapability of Compaq to support a competitive price for his mike might have a lot to do with the agreement.
In principle, the generation EV7 of processors Alpha yes who will see the light, as well as servants based on technology MIPS, to open way in the year 2004 for a family completely based on Itanium. As for operating systems, the current ones Tru64 UNIX, OpenVMS and NonStop Kernel, which run under Alpha, will be carried to Itanium.
Another interest point is in the intellectual property almost completely transferred to Intel; and not only they are interested in the hardware, also his inventors (who have made the best processor until now according to www.spec.org). Job will be offered in Intel to big part of the engineers, while few ones will continue finishing the EV7 and others will flee to other companies as AMD and Sparc. As for the project of Alpha EV8, perhaps it has influenced the decision of Intel, since it seems that the parallelism designed by the engineers of Alpha is better that that of the designs of Intel.
Between many heredities of Alpha we have left the bus EV6, a technology used by AMD in his Athlon, guilty to a great extent of the excellent yield of this processor; curiously, Alpha was in turn one of the first ones in using the HyperTransport developed by AMD... In any case, the Compaq clients (and of Digitalis previously) it seems that they are not so satisfied by the change how it two companies are, since he will suppose a strong investment to adapt itself to the change.
Of a pen stroke (or billetazo, as it looks), Intel has eliminated a big part of the competence in his Itanium now limited to imminent UltraSPARC V of Sun, to the multiple technologies of 64 bits of HP and IBM (so in favor of his mikes as of the Itanium), and to future Hammer of AMD. Finally, to point out that certain rumors point to that AMD has license during a time to be able to make Alpha, but the above mentioned it is not sure at all.
More information in:
Intel throws to the market his Itanium of 64 bits (finally!)
More rumors appear on the Hammer of 64 bits of AMD
API NetWorks accelerates the use of the technology HyperTransport
The market of 64 bits, more and more hard-fought
News written for: Miquel Tarazona