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Samsung eyes 1,000-MHz chips

Samsung claims that its Alpha chips will deliver "twice the performance" of some 500-MHz Alpha processors.

Samsung introduced a new line of Alpha processors and also new low-cost Windows NT server hardware based on the chip.

Samsung today claimed that its Alpha chips will deliver "twice the performance" of some 500-MHz Alpha processors. Digital Equipment had previously said that the Alpha chip will break the 1,000 MHz barrier by 2000. The South Korean semiconductor company licenses the Alpha technology from Digital for use in high-end computers.

The fate of the Alpha has been up in the air since Intel acquired Digital's chipmaking plants last year. Under the terms of that deal, Intel agreed to continue to manufacture Alpha chips, in return for Digital's support of Intel's own 64-bit Merced chip.

Compaq?s planned buyout of Digital may also affect the fate of Alpha since Compaq is the largest user of Intel chips.

Samsung's Alpha 21264 chip technology is designed for high-end visual and enterprise (or business use) computing architectures. The 21264 supports real-time video-conferencing and DVD playback and recording, obviating the need for additional chips. The 21264 is also "slot" compatible with the K7 processor from AMD, Samsung said. This means that AMD's K7 will, to some degree, be interchangeable with the Alpha processor.

Also today, Samsung introduced its SMB-UX motherboards and processors for Windows NT servers. Based on the Alpha chip, the motherboards feature Alpha processors from 500 to 633 MHz, 6 PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slots, and support up to 512 MB of memory.

The motherboards have a suggested retail price from $1,099 to $3,610.