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Compaq to ship 667-MHz computers

Compaq is the first major PC manufacturer to break the 650-MHz barrier by announcing new computers based on its Alpha chip technology.

Compaq is the first major PC manufacturer to break the 650-MHz barrier by announcing new computers based on its Alpha chip technology.

Compaq will begin shipping workstations using new 667-MHz Alpha processors, besting Intel, at least temporarily, in the chip-speed race.

Alpha Processor Incorporated (API) and Samsung, two of the chief proponents of Alpha, demonstrated in June a computer system running an Alpha processor clocked at 1 GHz (1,000 megahertz). Intel and Advanced Micro Devices have both demonstrated 1-GHz chips before but on supercooled computers.

In addition, API at that time announced a 750-MHz version of the Alpha 21264. API plans to release the 1-GHz chip by mid-2000. Intel's fastest chip currently runs at 550-MHz while a 600-MHz version is due in August.

The Compaq AlphaStation XP1000 system introduced today features a 667 MHz Alpha chip. In addition to Unix, the computer can use the Linux, OpenVMS, and Windows NT operating systems.

Compaq says the new Alpha workstations are built for designers and engineers who require the "ultimate 3D workstation application performance." Target markets include computer aided design and high-performance technical computing.

"Customer demand for Unix continues to grow as companies move more of their business operations to the Internet," said Enrico Pesatori, a senior vice president at Compaq, in a statement.

The computers won't be cheap though. The systems will begin shipping in August for a base price of $13,058. This configuration includes Compaq's Tru64 Unix operating system, 128MB of memory, and a 9.1GB hard drive.

Compaq also announced servers starting at $85,000 with two Alpha 21264 chips, 1GB of memory, 9GB hard drive, and extra cache Memory.

In addition, the company said it has cut prices up to 30 percent across the Alpha server and workstation lines.