Digital Equipment Corporation
Maynard, Massachusetts 01754-2571
More Than One Billion Instructions Per Second
DIGITAL AGAIN EXTENDS PERFORMANCE LEADERSHIP
WITH NEW GENERATION OF ALPHA AXP MICROPROCESSORS
Alpha AXP 21164 Chip 2-3 Times Faster Than Pentium, PowerPC, MIPS
MAYNARD, Mass. -- September 7, 1994 -- Digital Semiconductor, a Digital
Equipment Corporation business, today announced the world's fastest and highest-
-performance microprocessor for both server and client systems, the Alpha AXP
21164. The first of a new generation of Alpha AXP microprocessors, the new chip
is the first to reach or exceed one billion instructions per second (BIPS).
The Alpha AXP 21164 microprocessor extends Digital's performance lead over its
competitors and gives Digital the two most powerful single-chip microprocessors
in the industry, the Alpha AXP 21164 and 21064A (announced in October 1993).
"Digital became the microprocessor performance leader in 1992 with the launch of
the Alpha AXP architecture," said Ed Caldwell, vice president, Digital
Semiconductor. "We have maintained that lead through more than two years of
technology acceleration in the industry. The Alpha AXP 21164 microprocessor
demonstrates our continuing superiority in microprocessor design."
Sets New Performance Records, Beats Competition
Two versions of the new microprocessor were announced: the Alpha AXP 21164-
-300MHz and the Alpha AXP 21164-266MHz. Performance of the 300MHz chip is
estimated at 330 SPECint92, 500 SPECfp92, and 600 TPS (transactions per second),
all industry records for a single-chip microprocessor. Alpha AXP 21164-266MHz
chip performance is estimated at 290 SPECint92 and 440 SPECfp92.
The Alpha AXP 21164-300 microprocessor is capable of three times the integer
performance and six times the floating point performance of Intel's 100MHz
Pentium chip. It delivers more than twice the integer performance and over three
times the floating point performance of the MIPS 200MHz R4400 chip, and twice
the integer performance and three times the floating point performance of the
PowerPC 604 100MHz microprocessor.
According to Dean McCarron of Mercury Research, a California industry analyst
firm, new, high performance CPUs allow manufacturers to build systems with the
simplicity and low cost of a uniprocessor, while offering performance previously
available only with multiprocessor systems.
Commenting on the Mercury statement, Art Swift, vice president, Semiconductor
Marketing and Sales, said, "When we compared available TPS (transaction per
second) numbers, we found that a prototype uniprocessor Alpha AXP 21164 system
delivers nearly twice the performance of the Compaq Proliant 4000 server with
four Pentium-66 processors, and 1.5 times the performance of Sun's eight-
-processor SPARCserver 1000 system."
The Alpha AXP 21164 microprocessor contains the industry's first two-level,
on-chip cache memory, which enhances chip performance and eliminates the need
for an external cache for the most widely used desktop applications, saving
significant cost in many systems. A board-level cache is optional.
Target Client/Server Applications
The Alpha AXP 21164-300 MHz and 21164-266 MHz microprocessors are ideally suited
for server applications involving multiple databases, groupware for departments
and workgroups, and high-volume transaction processing. They also offer the
industry's fastest execution of demanding client applications, such as
mechanical and electronic computer-aided design (CAD), computer-assisted
software engineering (CASE), high-performance graphics and imaging, multimedia,
voice recognition, and scientific and financial analysis.
"Approximately 6,000 applications running on Windows NT, OSF/1, and OpenVMS
operating systems are now shipping for Alpha AXP systems," said Swift. "For the
external merchant semiconductor market, we are focusing on the emerging
Windows NT segment, in which more than 1,700 applications are shipping or
committed for Alpha AXP systems -- far more than for any other RISC vendor.
"We look for Alpha AXP products to complement our OEMs' Pentium-based system
offerings for the Windows NT market," continued Swift. "Alpha AXP
microprocessors take up where Pentium performance leaves off for Windows NT
client and server applications. According to International Data Corporation
(IDC), the Windows NT market represents the industry's most rapidly growing
server market segment, with a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 60 percent
through 1997." *
New PCI Chipset
Digital's new DECchip 21171 PCI Core Logic chipset is designed for use with the
Alpha AXP 21164 microprocessor in PCI bus-based systems. The chipset features a
256-bit-wide ECC memory bus for high-speed DMA (Direct Memory Access) I/O data
"Digital has championed PCI bus technology because of its high I/O capacity and
ability to enhance system performance," Swift pointed out. "With the DECchip
21171 chipset, OEMs can offer PCI-based Alpha AXP 21164 systems with high-end
client and server-class performance, and take advantage of volume-priced, off-
Digital also announced an evaluation board for the Alpha AXP 21164, the EB164,
for use by equipment manufacturers to simplify board and system design and
shorten time-to-market for products based on the new microprocessor. As part of
its worldwide sales organization, Digital Semiconductor has established a
network of field application engineers to assist OEMs with technical designs,
and technical assistance is also available from distributors of Digital
In quantities of 5,000, the Alpha AXP 21164-266MHz is priced at $1,865 and the
Alpha AXP 21164-300MHz microprocessor is $2,669. Samples of both versions will
be available in October. Volume shipments will begin in January 1995 for the
Alpha AXP 21164-266MHz and in March 1995 for the 21164-300MHz chip. Swift said
that Digital Semiconductor expects to follow an aggressive curve in its chip
pricing strategy, noting that the 5,000-unit price of the Alpha AXP 21064-
-200MHz chip is now $544, down 58 percent from its volume price just 12 months
The five-chip 21171 PCI Core Logic chipset is priced at $295 in quantities of
5,000. It will be available for sampling in October and in volume in January
1995. The EB164 Evaluation Board is scheduled for February 1995 delivery at a
price of $7,500.
Digital Semiconductor, a Digital Equipment Corporation business headquartered in
Hudson, Massachusetts, designs, manufactures and markets industry-leading
semiconductor products including Alpha AXP microprocessors and PCI-based
peripheral chips. Digital Semiconductor also operates fabrication facilities in
Hudson and South Queensferry, Scotland, and design centers in Hudson; Palo Alto,
California; Austin, Texas; and Jerusalem, Israel. A new, $450-million
semiconductor fabrication facility with sub-half-micron capability is nearing
completion in Hudson.
Digital Equipment Corporation is the world's leader in open client/server
solutions from personal computing to integrated worldwide information systems.
Digital's scalable Alpha AXP platforms, storage, networking, software and
services, together with industry-focused solutions from business partners, help
organizations compete and win in today's global marketplace.
Note to Editors: Alpha AXP, DEC, Digital, OpenVMS, and the Digital logo are
trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation.
Pentium is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation.
PowerPC is a registered trademark of International Business
Windows NT is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
OSF is a registered trademark of Open Software Foundation,
Compaq and Proliant are registered trademarks of Compaq
Computer Systems, Inc.
Sun and SPARCserver are registered trademarks of Sun
HP is a registered trademark of Hewlett-Packard Company.
* "Advanced Operating Environments, 1992-1997," IDC #8442, by David Card.
International Data Corporation, March 1994, Vol. 1, p. 39.
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