Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Alpha Lives! But Who Will Market It?

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the return-from-the-dead dept.

HP 269

chriton writes "The Inquirer is running articles about HP's and new "Marvel" server which will arrive Tuesday, Jan 14th and the expectation that HP will try to keep it's performance quiet. Not because it's bad like Itanic I, but because it's too good! It's built on Alpha EV78 processors connected by a switched fabric and promises blazing performance. "Marvel has, apparently some rollickingly good benchmarks that HP wants to underplay, just in case people start comparing the performance of the Alpha Marvel architecture with the Itanium 2 it also sells, and perhaps more importantly, the SuperDome machines." Alpha offers the kind of choice and competition the processor market will sorely miss when it goes. The FTC was sleeping when they allowed HP to acquire it."

cancel ×

269 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

arcadum (528303) | more than 11 years ago | (#5069979)

If it's cheap enought, people will buy it.

Re:First Post (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5069982)

Not if HP/CPQ/DEC won't sell it.

Second post (1, Offtopic)

Knife_Edge (582068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5069983)

I will personally market it, Hemos.

fuck you long time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070054)

I claim your first post for all anonymous trolls.

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070206)

> Alpha Lives! But Who Will Market It?

Uh.. well, I guess I've got some time on thursday after uni.

I'll sell you 100 XTs (2)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070258)

for a dollar. You pay shipping and handeling charges of course.

Carly Fiora (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070277)

sucks my giant hairy veiny bent 12" cock. And she swallows.

But... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5069981)

I'd try, but I wanna wait till it comes out in at least beta form.

(DA du CH)

oh, and FP!

- cornjchob

Marvel should use what they own (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5069986)

Have Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, and all the other X-Men, using Alphas in the comic books. An endorsement from Professor X might be enough to get me to buy one. "Look! Cerebro is now 100 times more powerful thanks to this Alpha!"

Re:Marvel should use what they own (0)

Catcher80 (639611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070052)

I can see it now.. "Not even Magneto nor Apocalypse can get us now!"

Re:Marvel should use what they own (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070224)

Nah, more like, "this processor is so fast, it's computations have gone faster than the speed of light, thus sending us all back in time!"

Scary.

Intel. not HP (1, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 11 years ago | (#5069989)

Intel acquired Alpha, not HP. Now it was clearly in order to prep decpaq for acquisition by HP, but that's beside the point.

The Alpha engineers were given the choice to work on Itanic for Intel or to hit the road. Kind of like their worst nightmare...

Re:Intel. not HP (5, Informative)

Tuzanor (125152) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070028)

no, compaq sold alpha technology to intel, but they still had it for themselves and were still selling alphas. When HP bought compaq, they inherited the alpha line.

Re:Intel. not HP (5, Informative)

Burdell (228580) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070037)

Incorrect. Intel licensed some of the Alpha technology (and bought the fab that Compaq used for their Alpha CPUs), but Digital, then Compaq, and now HP owns the Alpha. This is not an unexpected release; all along Compaq and HP have said they were committed to one more full generation of Alpha CPUs (the EV7 generation). Supposedly, the third generation Itanium will incorporate some of the Intel licensed Alpha technology, and then it is supposed to "catch up" with the Alpha (so there would be no EV8 generation).

IIRC, some of the associated technologies like the switching architecture and some of the NUMA features were not licensed but held by Compaq for their Itanium servers (to give them an edge).

Re:Intel. not HP (2)

slashdot_commentator (444053) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070428)

What nightmare? They went to work for AMD, and are helping to put out Sledgehammer(?).

Marvel? Switched Fabric? (3, Funny)

DarthWiggle (537589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5069996)

Maybe they should call it the "Spider-Man"... *groan*

/me whistles his way into the night...

how can hp use alpha tech? (-1, Redundant)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5069998)

Compaq sold it to intel before the merger.

Re:how can hp use alpha tech? (4, Informative)

uncleFester (29998) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070036)

Compaq sold it to intel before the merger.

marvel was already in the works before the HpaQ merger, and it would really make little sense to take a chip all the way to fab w/o at least running SOME of them to try and recoup some cost.

Plus it will probably give Intel a good idea of which components of Marvel to rape for the next gen of the (t)Itanic.

I was a very short-lived DecpaQ Tru64 admin, but have to admit I fell in lust for the OS and architechure. Our alphas ran superb for their age and the obscene obese demands our Oracle DBA inflicted upon them. Nary a whimper. I still think it's mildly criminal Compaq threw away the horsepower farm simply because they were too stupid to market the things properly.

EV78? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5069999)

Damn, and I'm still using an EV5 :)

Re:EV78? (0)

rainman31415 (576575) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070045)

wuss. i use a beowulf cluster of 286's...50000 nodes. lemme see your precious EV5 take that! mine comp can kick your comp's ass...he he he

rainman

Re:EV78? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070178)

No, it is EV7 - 8 processor systems. EV79 is the follow up.


spec_fp will kick ass on EV7, spec_int will just be impressive.

What's the point? (-1, Troll)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070011)

Even if an IT manager were to suggest to his company that they purchase HP or other UNIX-type servers, it wouldn't happen.

The only significant computer purchases made these days by businesses and consumers alike contain the words "Dell", "Intel", and "Microsoft".

Re:What's the point? (4, Interesting)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070027)

Spoken like a true guy who doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

Companies are buying servers from Sun, IBM (their non-Intel ones), SGI, even Apple in about the same numbers that they ever were, adjusted for the total market decline. (In other words, if 1 out of 10 servers sold in 1997 was Sun, then about 1 out of 10 sold today would still be a Sun.)

There's plenty of market out there for non-Dell, non-Intel, non-Microsoft servers.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Chagrin (128939) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070048)

Don't feed the trolls.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070334)

Why not? He racked up some good karma doing it, while all you did was waste a post.

One of you is an idiot. Can you get who it is?

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070203)

Opteron and Linux will be the death of proprietary UNIX machines.

In two years, Sparc and POWER will be in the same place Alpha is right now. Sorry.

Re:What's the point? (2)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070355)

Yeah, people have been saying that same thing since, what, the late 1970's? I'm sure it's going to happen, like, any minute now.

Re:What's the point? (2)

MyHair (589485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070061)

The only significant computer purchases made these days by businesses and consumers alike contain the words "Dell", "Intel", and "Microsoft".

Somebody better tell that to IBM--fast.

Re:What's the point? (4, Insightful)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070100)

The only significant computer purchases made these days by businesses and consumers alike contain the words "Dell", "Intel", and "Microsoft".

Yeah, those 12 brand-new IBM P-series 630 servers we have sitting in our server room waiting to be installed must be an illusion.

You don't actually work in the tech industry, do you?

- A.P.

Re:What's the point? (3, Funny)

paranoic (126081) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070164)

The only significant computer purchases made these days by businesses and consumers alike contain the words "Dell", "Intel", and "Microsoft".

Othwise known as DIM

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070361)

You for got the other half DIM-WITs :p

In SOVIET RUSSIA ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070012)

HP Invents YOU.

Last few stories (0, Troll)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070029)

I see an HP icon, an AOL icon, and a Linux penguin, and lots of positive minded talk.

It's not 1999 anymore, people. HP is a has-been, AOL is slowly finishing off their downspiral into the toilet of the ISP world, and "Linux" is as taboo for a businessman to say as "fire" is in a movie theater.

Re:Last few stories (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070044)

> "Linux" is as taboo for a businessman to say as "fire" is in a movie theater.

Nice analogy! Once a businessperson gets a clue about Linux (it's known to have happened), it may well open the floodgates.

Re:Last few stories (1)

Spruce Moose (1857) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070071)

Which would presumably put out the fire.

Re:Last few stories (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070134)

I dunno, I'd imagine that Linux would equal $$$ [slashdot.org] to a business man.

WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070207)

Don't you ever take a break?

Re:Last few stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070287)

OOOOH! Oooh! Don't forget *BSD! It's dying too you know!

Re:Last few stories (1)

sirPaul (119432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070304)

I'll agree with all of that except "HP is a has-been." HP has been around since what, the 1930s? They've got assloads of money/assets, and enough R&D spending to think up all sorts of neat shit. They might not be in the best shape since the Agilent spin-off and the Compaq aquisition, but they're going to remain one of the most important technology companies for quite some time to come.

article (2)

zogger (617870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070436)

--was just reading an article on this very subject [vnunet.com] .

A big investment bank sorta disagrees, at least on the linux aspect addressed here.

Re:Last few stories (1)

Aquillion (539148) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070468)

And above those is the black-and-white Einstein icon for science. Give it up, people! Science is dead and Einstein's general theory of relativity hasn't been news for ages.

We need to change the focus of the site to football or something. Computers are just too 1999.

(New logo: "News for Jocks?")

We use some alphas at work (5, Informative)

SirTwitchALot (576315) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070035)

and while they're great machines that perform well, they're very limited. It's difficult for us to get many of the applications that we use for the Alpha, and if the app is available, the vendor usually provides poor support for it. Sure you can compile OS software on the alpha, but the commercial world overwhelmingly uses traditional closed software. HP decided to stop production of the Alpha because they had a competing product (pa/risc) that was in higher demand. They even plan to eventually lose PA/RISC in favor of itanium, as the article mentions. As far as price goes, one of our clients purchased a wildfire gs320 because of the low price. They found that while it offers acceptable performance, it's very difficult and expensive to find the expertise needed to properly maintain this equipment. We run a primarily Sun shop not because it's necessarily the best, but because it's what everyone else runs, and thus easier to maintain and cheaper in the long run.

Re: Limited software for Alpha (3, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070088)

I bet Alpha still has a larger software base than Itanium.

Re: Limited software for Alpha (2, Insightful)

Oswald (235719) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070332)

I'm completely O-fucking-T here, but look at what Slashdot moderation comes down to. This person expresses their one-line, unsubstantiated opinion (never claiming to be doing anything more--no offense to you, TeknoHog), and because he appears to be on the side of the angels, BOOM, +4 Insightful. This is stupid; what good does viewing at +3 or higher do with ridiculous moderation like this? (Well, it will save you seeing this post, I guess ;)

Re: Limited software for Alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070360)

It has gcc, what more could you want?

Re: Limited software for Alpha (2, Flamebait)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070374)

And Itanium has much greater vendor support. Not saying much, since Alpha has only slightly more vendor support than OS/2.

Re:We use some alphas at work (3, Interesting)

vondo (303621) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070144)

Do you know for sure that the demand for PA-RISC is higher than for Alpha (generally)? I'm not arguing, just questioning. In my field (high energy physics) we never went in for PA-RISC. Alphas were the greatest thing ever, until Lintel took over on the $/FLOP pricepoint.

The Alpha is still an amazing CPU line, just not cost effective compared to Intel anymore. But completely different markets, I realize.

Re:We use some alphas at work (4, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070223)

It seemed like there was only a short period of time where Alpha was cost effective compared to Intel, the rest of the time up until maybe three years ago, Alpha was often simply a heck of a lot faster and that performance was only needed in niche markets compared to today's desktop market.

Now, Alpha is just expensive. It is too bad as my Alpha is still running very strongly after five years of use.

It also took a little while for me to find an Intel based system that was faster all around AND was more reliable - I found that in an oldish XEON. I've even had a 166MHz Alpha UDB running NT - while its all-out CPU performance benchmarks were poor, its UI latency (time from clicking a button to displaying a result, such as a file list or dialog box) was still better than PIIIs twice as fast.

Re:We use some alphas at work (2, Interesting)

Merlynnus (209292) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070269)

Now, Alpha is just expensive. It is too bad as my Alpha is still running very strongly after five years of use.


Expensive, yet. Prohibitively expensive? No. We sourced pure number crunching machines about a year ago. Out of the competitors for a $300k CDN contract, Alpha (Compaq at the time) hands down. For pure single-processor number crunching, you still can't beat them. If your app can handle MPP, then of course you can't beat linux clusters...

Re:We use some alphas at work (2, Informative)

vondo (303621) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070294)

It seemed like there was only a short period of time where Alpha was cost effective compared to Intel, the rest of the time up until maybe three years ago, Alpha was often simply a heck of a lot faster and that performance was only needed in niche markets compared to today's desktop market.


For us it was waiting for Linux to reach a certain maturity and then realizing that it had. There was also the issue of g77 versus DEC's f77 which exagerated the performance difference.

Re:We use some alphas at work (5, Informative)

jpetts (208163) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070371)

It seemed like there was only a short period of time where Alpha was cost effective compared to Intel, the rest of the time up until maybe three years ago, Alpha was often simply a heck of a lot faster and that performance was only needed in niche markets compared to today's desktop market.

But the cost effectiveness which you are talking about doesn't appear to factor in stability. Alpha machines running OpenVMS were rock, absolutely rock solid. We had a machine running Oracle on OpenVMS/Alpha that was not rebooted for three years, and never once showed ua a single problem. It just ran and ran and rad, and it ran FAST, too. I for one will miss the low admin burden of those Alpha/OpenVMS/Oracle boxes...

Re:We use some alphas at work (2, Interesting)

cballowe (318307) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070278)

We also use Alphas at work -- I love the GS series, I'm happy with the ES and DS series, but the GS series is some damn nice hardware.

I've got reliable sources at HP that tell me to watch for the ES47 and ES80 series boxen as well as the GS1280. All of them should smoke the current EV68 series Alphas. The product line overall is very impressive. The pure scalability of the EV7 architechture is most impressive.

Take a look at this Document from HP [slashdot.org] and try to keep yourself from drooling.

Re:We use some alphas at work (-1)

sinator (7980) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070380)

Wildfires are garbage. We have had more reliability problems with our wildfires than could possibly imagine (no redundant power conduits? Ridiculous). Not to mention the debacle about the processors that would work their way out of their slots. The ES series is much more cost effective (fully loaded ES45 under SEWP III: about $60K, and that includes fibre channel cards to hook up to a StorageWorks SAN), and each ES45 is the exact equivalent of a Wildfire QBB, but it can be mroe loosely coupled.

A platform NEEDS THE SUPPORT (0)

The B (546495) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070376)

Yes, support for applications, standardized integration is important.

Samsung? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070038)

So samsung purchased alpha rights years ago and were selling chips they still doing so?

The should crank them out and own the market.

Hmm (2, Interesting)

buulu (580868) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070041)

It's built on Alpha EV78 processors connected by a switched fabric and promises blazing performance.
...[Marvel] So good, in fact, that our friend Jenny tells us the following: "If HP still believed the Alpha chip was worth the candle, rather than being cosy with its friends at the Intel Corporation, and marketed it properly, it might render all other server platforms into carbonised bread, otherwise known as toast".
But that will never happen. My sources claim that HP realises the EV7 is a fantastic chip and wants to stop potential buyers of the HP Itanium servers from buying EV7 instead.
And, we understand, the HP suits have now laid down a diktat saying that not one Alpha benchmark will be released until the Itanium platform(s) is/are faster.
Jenny told us that her friends at HP who understand such things, think this could be a very long time coming.
And she also said that quite a lot of people inside the corporation wondered why the senior execs wanted to "shoot itself in the foot" by driving potential Alpha customers to the competition.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070109)

In a rational world, management would own up to their mistakes (whoops, Alpha IS better than Intel) and work to make things right. When I was in a business simulations class (we were grouped into teams, and our "yearly" decisions as to the mix of funds devoted to r&d, marketing, production amounts, pricing, etc. for each of our respective companies, were fed into a sim every week), my team made the mistake of trying to eliminate an existing product line in favor of a more profitable "premium" product.

While it was more profitable, the market was actually bigger in the more mature market - something that none of the teams had taken into account. However, because our team invested heavily into reducing production costs (retooling, R&D into improving production efficiency and unit quality, strategic partnership with suppliers) we were able to shift some of our capacity back into the "classic" product, price it lower than the competition, and royally kick ass in the simulated market in the following year.

What does this have to do with HP? Well, if you have a superior product, one that will dominate for a pretty good while, and you have the sole source for it, WTF would you want to sell an inferior, lower-margin commodity product in direct competition with a whole boatload of competitors? I mean, isn't that what is killing SGI? The fact that they're trying to compete in the commodity market, but without a superior selling point (either tech, or price), they're getting hammered.

Florina was death to HP. I'm going to miss their R&D and their printer line when they go under, and only can hope that HP's board members never sit on any other company's boards in the future. Well, any company except maybe Microsoft...

Re:Hmm (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070309)

The reason why HP favors the itanium is because they spent billions of dollars co-creating it with Intel. Intel only owns half of it. HP also donated their PA-RISC technology towards the project. They want a return on their investment.

If the alpha and x86 dies and Itanium becomes the defacto standard then the sky is the limit in regards to profits for HP! It is rumoured that Intel and HP paid AMD to make the clawhammer slower then their chips on purpose to help make HP's dream a reality.

IF Dell, Gateway, and IBM were smart they would convince intel to kill the itanium project and market the alpha's instead. The OEM's in return could make servers with them and pay Microsoft to continue developing Windows2k for it. Linux is already their and the gcc is fully optimized for it. If Microsoft would port all there server apps then it might have a chance. Whats also cool about Alpha NT is the that it came with full x86 emulation that was really fast. If Linux and Microsoft's core server apps are there then other vendors would adopt to it. After compaq refused to pay Microsoft, the alpha then lost all commercial support.

Itanium is a nightmare to develop compilers for and therefor has terrible performance is is majorly overclocked just to be competive with x86 chips. It really sucks.

I have a cd-rom with Windows200 beta3 for the alpha so the code is already there and can easily be implemented. With intel behind alpha they could get all the profits rather then share with HP. Intel would make twice as much money!

HP will always be bigger then other pc makers if itanium lasts because they would get a huge profit per pc sold.

Its this competitive spirit that killed os/2. All the oems feared IBM. Now they should fear HP with their Itanium. By switching to alpha, everyone but HP wins.

Maybe if they ran Ninnle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070042)

They should use the latest Alpha port of Ninnle Linux!

Alpha rules. (3, Insightful)

MisterQ (60710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070074)

Indeed, now let me see. I could buy a PA-Risc... (Not!), or an IBM/Motorola Chipped thingie (Small market, bounded technology), or a Sparc box - small market bounded technology, arrogant supplier, single source.

Or I could buy an Alpha. A commitment of at least a Decade of support (What was I using 10 years ago, and what land fill is it in now..) A proven track record of meeting or beating the promises on performance.

Oh no, wait. I'll get an itanic. What you mean they are only available in limited quantities, and at vastly inflated prices. Oh, and the ones that everyone is raving about aren't going to me around for another 2-3 years. Hey, it takes that long to get orders through purchasing, who is worried...

And what's that. Adaptive partitioning within the box, (dynamically changable SMP and Clustering). Clustering that is more than Me and a standby mini-me. Couldn't be? When dod they get that working...

Note that the new Alpha moves the ES40/ES45 range out to GS (Big MF) nomenclature...

The one saving grace, is that scuttlebutt says that based on the intel thef acquisition of Alpha, that post-Madison Itanics will actually look more like an Alpha than a traditional Intel.

More things to file in my "I told you so" list, for later...

Re:Alpha rules. (2)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070363)

IBM/Motorola Chipped thingie (Small market, bounded technology)

Uh, POWER/PowerPC is "bounded" and "small market" but yet Alpha is not? Bounded by what? Clock speed? How is POWER bounded but Alpha not? Are you saying that POWER is going to soon hit some performance/clockrate wall? Even if you are talking pure clockrate, IBM has been able to crank out quite powerful cpu's that run at slower clocks.

A commitment of at least a Decade of support

Hey, IBM STILL supports OS/2, are you saying that they are likely to just drop support for POWER and leave their customers high and dry? I don't get where you make your comparisons? Sure PA-RISC is obviously dead end and SPARC leaves a lot to be desired performance wise, but "single source" for SPARC? Sun doesn't even make the chips, how is that single source compared to Alpha? Who else produces Alphas, are you including Intel?

The Enquirer? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070081)

I can't believe this story is coming from the Enquirer! I've always been under the impression that the type of people there wouldn't have a clue what an Alpha is, let along who HP/Compaq/DEC are.

Reminds me of compaq.... (5, Insightful)

tcc (140386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070083)

Yey, 500th post, on a subject I like :)

I remember when Compaq bought the Alpha technology. I was invited to a demo for their new workstation machine, that was back in the late 90s, I remember the workstation they were demoing in front of everyone, nice audience, people that worked on the movie Titanic were there to explain how they used the alpha technology to render those huge datasets, manipulate large 3d models, etc etc...

They were so EVASIVE when people would specifically ask them to compare the Alpha Workstation to intel workstation. I mean everything looked professionnal up to that precise moment. Why on earth are you getting yourself in so much trouble to advertise your alpha workstation, invite people to costly hotel floor, serve them good food, etc, if you don't want to address the PRIMARY concern of your target audience? What "non-alpha" people (new customers) want to know is why would they go alpha if it's not for the proprietary software?

(In this case, Lightwave was one of the tools and it was cross-platform, every Lightwave users KNEW that the alpha crushed the PC in rendering, so hiding this fact looked very suspicious for this small portion of the people that were there. Then you add the fact they they didn't want to give any comparing numbers, being evasive and all. The only positive thing they mentionned is the FX32 emulator and the fact that they could run non-native software like photoshop in their alpha workstation. Now who the hell would buy a workstation like this if it doesn't show any appeal outside from the people that already know about it? If you say "3x faster rendering, only 1.5x the price" now there's an apeal! They didn't! How on earth are they going to gain sufficient marketshare with mouth-to-ear strategy, where amiga, for example, failed. With a CPU R&D buisness, you need a LOT of sales to cover you expenses, they had a bomb on their hands, and while I understand that they had to play nice with Intel, they could have thrown the bomb at intel instead of blowing up with it.

This is another situation where Money and Monopoly is bad for evolutions and revolutions, try to find ONE SINGLE alpha user that bitched about the architecture (before it got left out dying, obviously), make a percentage (you'll probably get something close to 0%), then compare that percentage with Intel users. Not that Intel technology is bad, but it sure isn't revolutionnary, heck I'm still waiting to get that 7505 chipset board with 2 2.8Ghz Xeon on it, everything is back order or N/A yet. If compaq would have had a clue, I'd have a box probably 4x more powerful today with win2k support and good driver support for about the same price... shame.

Re:Reminds me of compaq.... (2)

wfrp01 (82831) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070444)

I don't think it's quite right to characterize the Alpha as being dead or dying. Alpha is just a brand name. The engineers who worked on it live on. Don't be surprised to see a lot of the Alpha's better architectural features resurface elsewhere.

it is sad (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070090)

As an engineer that worked on EV7 it is sad to see such a wonderful machine fall by the way-side. When the SPEC numbers do come out not only will all the world will see that Alpha is again the world's fastest processor, but that Marvel systems scale linearly. We'll all eventually go over to Intel, which a lot of us aren't looking forward to, and hope not to get laid off

Alas, poor Alpha.....I knew ye (2)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070093)

Alpha never seems to "make it" after all these 11 years, and still it seems doomed.....and two of the three operating systems introduced with it are NOT the choice of the data center, and the third dropped Alpha support! Maybe we should start a folk legend about "The Curse of the Alpha!"

Anyway, a cool kick-butt chip, it was....and if we ever see the benchmarks on this latest generation, I'll bet it still is. Too bad on this planet technical excellence and superiority of function and performance don't determine success in the marketplace.

Alpha Lives! But Who Will Market It? (1, Offtopic)

silvaran (214334) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070094)

Linux Lives! But Who Will Market It?

OK, granted, Linux is free, but it hasn't had a lot of direct mainstream publicity. A lot of stuff that's been heard about Linux has been through the Linux community itself, and the media (notoriety et al), not through marketing. I believe that administrators who are sufficiently educated will help bring this to the market, just as OS afficionados have helped to bring Linux to the market. Alpha has a loyal following, much like Linux, and while marketing will help the Alpha, without it doesn't mean that the Alpha won't gain more foothold in the server market.

Sad but true (5, Interesting)

cluge (114877) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070099)

Alpha's have always had awesome specs, hell I think slashdot started on a UDB (early alpha unit, small compact case, built in sound). The alpha processor has long been one of the best performing and worst marketed main processors in the history of computers.

The fact is that DEC wasn't in a posistion to market it, and when they COULD have sold the chip to use in apples (instead of PPC) they declined (morons). Compaq bought DEC and had NO clue what the hell to do. It took them almost 2 years to wrap their head around the fact that the alpha servers where the only profitable product they had. (See service support contracts and high margins for the high end alphas). By then it was too late, they were working on the merger with HP.

No HP's here, and doesn't want to compete with it's own inferior equipment. Lines are being drawn and you can bet that the superiour technology of the alpha will again suffer. Remember that the EV78 is an OLD alpha design and it still kicks ass. Compaq basically stopped developing the alpha series AGES ago. (the EV8 was supposed to be out early last year according to one of the early compaq alpha ropadmaps)

Too bad the alpha is dead. It is taking years for intel and IBM to come up with a chip that comes close to alpha performance. Good thing that they are competing against old alpha designs and the EV8 has been killed. Otherwise those darn pesky spec numbers would have been embarassing.

cluge

Re:Sad but true (3, Funny)

bitfoam (189527) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070136)

Who wants to run missions critical apps on an Alpha processor? No wonder it can't sell! If it's really good and been around that long, it should be at least a Beta processor by now... ;-)

Re:Sad but true (2)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070365)

Too bad the alpha is dead. It is taking years for intel and IBM to come up with a chip that comes close to alpha performance. Good thing that they are competing against old alpha designs and the EV8 has been killed. Otherwise those darn pesky spec numbers would have been embarassing.

As I said last time the Alpha was a /. story, it is still the processor in the #2 & #3 fastest systems in the world. Not to mention that it seems to have more, faster, positions on the list of the top 500 supercomputers than ony other processor.

http://www.top500.org/ [top500.org]

Everyone seems to be ignoring power requirements and heat output when talking about processors. Sure, anyone can make a processor that is faster than anything else, but you may have to soak it in liquid nitrogen just to keep it cool.

Fast processors are easy... COOL processors that are faster for their heat output is where the market goes.

Re:Sad but true (4, Interesting)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070386)

it is still the processor in the #2 & #3 fastest systems in the world

You have to be careful bringing up the SC lists. Keep in mind that those machines are multi-cpu. It takes 4096 1.25ghz alphas to hold #2/#3, it takes 8192 POWER3's, but they're only running at 375mhz, so which processor is "superior"? #5 is 2304 Xeons (I assume P4), is the Xeon superior to Alpha since for half the processors you get 80% of the performance?

Not making any statements about superiority here, just saying that the top500 list isn't exactly the best indicator.

Re:Sad but true (3, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070401)

when they COULD have sold the chip to use in apples (instead of PPC) they declined (morons)

I've never heard this, do you have any links to articles that talk about this? I don't know that I'd go as far as calling them "morons", without knowing the details, but if Apple were looking for something along the lines of their deal with IBM/Mot, I could see how DEC wouldn't want to get into such a intimate deal. Plus the monikor "morons" has to be reserved for Motorola and their handling of RISC and the cpu market in general. Makes any blunder that DEC made look small chips in comparison.

some one please buy the tech from HP (1)

f00zbll (526151) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070105)

It is really a shame to loose alpha architecture to Intel and HP. Some one please buy the tech and give it a real shot in the market place.

Sure, lets get the money... (1)

IcEMaN252 (579647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070150)

Its a nice idea, but there is a major product. Its a product that competes, and may actually be better, than what HP / Intel are offering. They want to quash the platform. So how much do you think it will cost to buy it off them?

Personally, I'd rather invest my dozen Powerball jackpot winnings elsewhere.

The FTC is not a technical group. (0, Flamebait)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070119)

They don't make technical decisions regarding the merits of a platform. Quit making inane, clueless comments implying that the FTC would have had some reason to prevent the merger because of the Alpha.

in honor (2)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070121)

NetBSD 1.5.2 (XJ6) #2: Tue Oct 29 21:04:19 EST 2002
xxxxx@alpha:/usr/src/sys/arch/alpha/compile/XJ6
D igital AlphaPC 164 400 MHz

Poor Alpha (2, Offtopic)

drmofe (523606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070131)

This has got to be the most under-rated project, at least commercially, in computing history.

The original DEC Alpha was cancelled at least twice before it was even launched. DEC never made anything of it, even though the technology was good for 20 years of expansion.

When this little portion of technological history gets written, people are going to wonder why we were so stupid as to let marketing get in the way of technological progress. HINT: There is no competition on the planet - the big stakes are for when we get out of this gravity well...

STF

Re:Poor Alpha (2)

Tailhook (98486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070253)

the big stakes are for when we get out of this gravity well...

I just wish we'd hurry that part up a bit!

Reputation in the market (2)

noz (253073) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070152)

I am priviledged to maintain a PWS600au USB machine on my desktop, and when I look at the modern alpha technology (Alpha@Samsung [samsungelectronics.com] -- only recently taken offline) it is very very expensive. The majority of new alpha product is targeted at enterprise infrastructure, but my point is I feel there is a lot of stock placed in market reputation, and much of this is due to consumer adoption.

HP is wise to flog Itanium 2 -- a lot has been invested in selling this new 64bit shit. But soon consumers will get their hands on new x86-64 machines from AMD (and maybe one day money-grubbing Intel will offer consumer-priced Itaniums) and no consumers will be adopting new Alpha machines.

I think current use by general consumers is a large contributor to the acceptance of (very expensive) machinery at the high-end. A large user-base has a lot to do with future support.

Marvel ROCKS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070156)

One of my company's customers is a Compaq/HP partner and they've been testing Marvels for many months now.
These boxes FLY, I can't overstate their performance.

Alpha sucks - memory model is intractable (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070187)

Has anyone here actually tried to program alphas ?

It's memory model is so weak (on purpose) that code can and does appear to execute out of order.

If you are fast but not correct, then you are
not fast at all.

you are so wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070215)

The branch predictors are 99.8% accurate after they get warmed up. You have no idea what you are talking about. Now, please go crawl back to you're IT hole in the ground.

Re:you are so wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070280)

Excuse me, clown, the parent post had nothing to do with branch predictors, but Alpha architecture's weak ordering of retiring memory operations. He is obviously an incompetant programmer, but correct about the architecture.

WTF do branch predictors have to do with that? Just because you had no idea what he was talking about doesn't mean you do, idiot.

Re:you are so wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070333)

To clarify, he was correct about Alpha having weak memory ordering, not about it sucking. And ignore the last sentence. Except the idiot part.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070273)

Alphas program you!!!

Re:Alpha sucks - memory model is intractable (1)

m_pll (527654) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070387)

It's memory model is so weak (on purpose) that code can and does appear to execute out of order.

Just like on Itanium and almost any other modern architecture.

If you are fast but not correct, then you are not fast at all.

It is possible to write correct multithreaded code on systems with weak memory models. You just need to use appropriate synchronization primitives (mutexes etc).

Of course some code that used to run fine on x86 might not work on Alpha (or other weakly ordered system). But it's not Alpha's fault - it's because the code is broken.

not Radio Shack (1)

Radio Shack Robot (640478) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070233)

Radio Shack certainly won't market it. We've dropped the ball on PC sales since the internet sellers took over (e.g. Dell and Gateway). Now if you want to buy a Sprint PCS phone, that's a different story.

Alpha - Suck my Ass and DIE! (-1, Flamebait)

Gigantic1 (630697) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070255)

If Alpha were REALLY GOOD, Intel would have used it to wipe out AMD! Otherwise, Alpha, SUCK MY ASS AND DIE!

Re:Alpha - Suck my Ass and DIE! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070263)

but they got Itanium, they gonna wipe uot AMD, Alpha is still faster. GO CYRIX!! DIE know FASTER. GO team!

Alpha... But Who Will Market It?--I have an idea (5, Funny)

vandelais (164490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070284)

Ellen Feiss

My school had this great server we used to play games on, but then the company that made it got bought out by this bitch named Carleton and then they stopped promoting it and it was a... (wait for it) ....

bummer.

hp is part of the tcpa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070290)

tcpa members do not get my business.

jjust a few words about HP/alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070349)

Publicity Stunt. That was two words, but I'm continuing on with more words than just a relatively "few" idealistic standards of what a few really means; but I'd like to point out the relation to the state of perfection here. That is the whole idea of communism! They want to create a perfect system, and NOTHING in the world even comes CLOSE to perfection! Look at cuba, does cuba look perfect to you? And can Linux ever fix their sound drivers? RIAA got hacked for the 7th time in 6 months! Open source is evil in that way an exploit can be underground forever. They finnally switched to IIS. Let's see how that fares, but I don't want to hear about the differences in IIS5 and IIS6.

increasing price vs return (1, Insightful)

The B (546495) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070352)

We use a DEC alpha at work great machine. The problem with a platform that is not marketed and promoted well is due to the increasing price VS return factor.

DEC equipment is EXPENSIVE. Even more so now. Itanium or AMD 64bit platform may not be quite as fast "yet". and still green and untested, but the price vs return factor compared to performance will be much higher on the newer platforms. This is why Apple Computer lost its war to Microsoft and PC's. Today, PC's with NT rival and even topple G4 performance for a lot LESS money.

For a platform to succeed it not only need good performance it needs vast support and competitive pricing. The old VHS vs Beta thing.

I have nothing to contribute (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070378)

I am tim burton. flush out my urethra.

It's.... (0, Troll)

AyeRoxor! (471669) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070398)

Hey there! Welcome to the world of the English language. I can tell that you're new. "It's" is one of those homonyms [reference.com] that gives grief to the many people just learning English. Those of us who went to school in an English-speaking country learned early on how to avoid these mistakes. I can see that you didn't have such opportunities, so let me clear this up for you. The word "it" has special rules when dealing with an apostrophe.

  • "It's going to be a rainy day."
    • Only use an apostrophe with "it" when you are making a contraction [reference.com] .

  • "HP will try to keep it's performance quiet."
    • This is not proper. The apostophe-s combination is never used with "it" to indicate posession.

  • "HP will try to keep its performance quiet."
    • This is proper.

I know it's confusing, but I'm sure that you understand its peculiarities now. :)

A good buy for some tech company? (5, Interesting)

XBL (305578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070425)

What if some company, for example Red Hat bought the Alpha technology. Just think how a premier hardware architecture could be marketed along with Linux, which has huge growth potential.

If Linux is to totally dominate, Linux vendors need to come up with some better hardware.

OS problems (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070446)

The problem with Alphas is not the CPU/hardware, it's the OS. Since the begining, the OS was badly designed and tested. Things were so bad around 1994/95 that you can't reliably restore a tar backup. The OS crash at last once a week. At that time we switched to another vendor (IBM/AIX, less performance, more costly, very reliably on both hard/soft). We are still using AIX, and paying about three times more for the same SPECbench than Sun/HP, and we are happy. No crashes.

I really don't want to say this but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070489)

it seems like Alpha is dying...

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5070490)

check it

[cyberstreet.net]

word

Dec Alpha (1)

meatplow (184288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5070492)

I love my DEC Alpha 500PC164. Too bad the only thing that will run on it is Debian.
---Not that Debian doesn't ROCK !.

If I could only get X running. I'll send $5 bucks to anyone who can point me to a driver for the video card.

"VGA compatible controller: Mitsubishi Electric Corp. AccelGraphics AccelECLIPSE (rev 03)"

Has anybody ever got one of the bad boys ? or more importantly.. every got one to run any distro of *nix with X. This thing runs great, but I wouldn't mind to see it with a GUI :)

Meatplow.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>