has put off the release of its
first Alpha-processor-based workstations until the fourth quarter, and may push it
back further, to clear up performance issues with the system.
The Alpha processor is one of several high-end
technologies Compaq acquired when it bought Digital this past February.
Although Alpha-based XP workstations are expected initially to constitute a
relatively small number of unit sales for Compaq, the delay is a symbolic
defeat for the company. With Digital, Compaq said that it was poised to become one of the leading, full-fledged
The acquisition of these technologies also meant
that Compaq would no longer strictly be manufacturing computers based
around Intel processors.
The delay effectively means that Compaq is having more trouble than
expected in building workstations around the new architecture.
Compaq spokesperson Gary Frazier pointed out that the XP workstations will
not merely be old Digital systems with the Compaq name slapped onto the
side of the box. While a great deal of input for system design is coming
from Digital, Compaq is incorporating its own technology into these Alpha
systems. The XP workstations, for instance, will embody the Higher Parallel
System Architecture found in other Compaq workstations.
Internally, Compaq targeted to have the workstation out by September,
although Compaq executives publicly said that the first Alpha workstations
would come out in the fourth quarter. "The goal currently is now Q4,
possibly Q1 (of 1998)" said Frazier.
Compaq announced the XP workstation family in July. The XP family, which
will constitute Compaq's top of the line product segment, will be based
around the Alpha processor, Compaq said at the time. The middle tier of
Compaq's product family, the SP line, will be based around Intel's Xeon
processor, while the bottom segment, the AP workstations, will be occupied
by Pentium II systems. SP and AP systems are currently available.