RIP Alpha

Story: Dell Ditches ItaniumTotal Replies: 6
Author Content

Sep 16, 2005
8:30 AM EDT
Back in 96-97, the majority of so called IT analyst and professional kept saying Itanium is the future. They distanced themselves from Digital Alpha and kept waiting for Intel Itanium. Even Compaq dropped the Alpha when they acquired Digital. What a mistake! We could have had back then the technology we have or still waiting for now. The Alpha was an outstanding engineering marvel that came way before its time. What a shame. I guess that is what we get when we listen to those type of analysts. I hope this will be a lesson to wake up and abandon MS technolgy.

Sep 16, 2005
8:37 AM EDT
The alpha was a lovely piece of work, no two ways about it. Whatever failing Digital had as a company, lack of engineering prowess was not one of them. It's abandonment borders on the criminal, although, as I understand things, it's abandonment is not complete. Supposedly, Intel is sneaking bits and pieces of Alpha technology into its other lines.

So...Three cheers for Opteron? While Intel was killing off a beautiful chip and creating a dog, AMD built itself a winner.

Sep 16, 2005
9:51 AM EDT
Apparently there is a new CPU by former Alpha designers waiting to be announced.

Sep 16, 2005
10:55 AM EDT
When the Itanium was first announced, all the "tech" "press" and fawning analysts greeted it like the Second Coming. But anyone who read the Talkbacks and other reader forums would have seen a bazillion posts all saying "we need 32-bit support. Duh. We're not buying a chip that forces us to port our applications." I'm quite amazed that Intel pulled such a blunder- a few phone calls to their customers would have told them the same thing, even if they couldn't see it for themselves. Let this be a lesson to folks who think that the people who run businesses are smart and logical and do their homework- it ain't so.

Eventually Intel added a 32-bit software emulation layer, but it sucks rocks, and AMD already had superior offerings.

Sep 16, 2005
11:53 AM EDT
tuxchick -

The amazing thing is that it's the second time that Intel has pulled nearly the same screwup.

Remember 1995? The new "32-bit" Windows 95?

Yeah. Neither do I, but Intel does.

That's the OS their killer Pentium Pro was made for. Except.... Windows 95 had SOME 32 bit code and lots of 16 bit code.

Pentium Pro sucked wind running 16 bit code, and especially reeked at a mix of 16 and 32 bit code. Though quite powerful for pure 32 bit operation, the faster Pentiums of the day could knock it dead on the real code most people ran.

Intel went back to the drawing board and came up with the Pentium II, a re-design of the Pentium Pro that gave up a little bit of ultimate performance for the ability to run 16 code without wheezing.


Sep 16, 2005
12:18 PM EDT
Tuxchick: The Alpha ran the whole NT 4.0 OS plus applications in 32 bit mode even though the whole system design was based on 64 bit. I had couple 2 tier clusters running for few years and life was good. With all the reliability issues and constant patching on Windows, we hardly had any services down. I even ran Intel 86 instruction set based application on those Alpha using FX32 because vendors didn't have the applications for Alpha and we had no problems. FX32 was a utility by Digital to convert 386 based images, on the fly, to Alpha processor instruction set. Digital made the mistakes and AMD avoided them. Intel didn't learn.

Sep 16, 2005
12:19 PM EDT
Re: The alleged new CPU designed by the Alpha guys:

I have definitive proof that this CPU cannot possibly exist - I just did a "make menuconfig" in my kernel source and I see no mention of such a thing. Since the mere blasphemous thought that there could be a CPU out there that Linux didn't run on is plainly preposterous (say THAT three times, fast) I reject this scandalous notion as pure vaporware!

Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!