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Desktops

New HP AlphaServer the omega of the line

Hewlett-Packard plans to begin selling the last and most powerful model in the AlphaServer line, a series of servers that stretches back to a very different era in the computing industry.

Hewlett-Packard plans on Monday to begin selling the last and most powerful model in the AlphaServer line, a series of servers that stretches back to a very different era in the computing industry.

The 64-processor AlphaServer uses EV7 processors, the company said Friday. Previously, the top-end system was the 32-processor GS1280, released in July.

The 64-processor model will be the last in the AlphaServer line, an HP representative said. However, HP plans to update it with a faster processor in 2004, the EV79, which the company said would be the final processor in the Alpha family.

The AlphaServer line began at Digital Equipment and outlasted that company's 1998 acquisition by Compaq Computer. Compaq, though, decided to phase out the Alpha processor, adopting instead Intel's Itanium processor family.

Alpha was respected for its speed, but the chip never caught on widely, despite temporary support from powerful allies, including Microsoft. It competed with chips from HP, Sun Microsystems, IBM and Intel.

HP took over the AlphaServer line when it acquired Compaq in 2002.

One major feature of the AlphaServer line will live on: the OpenVMS operating system. That software, born more than 25 years ago as VMS (Virtual Memory System), .

Another operating system that runs on Alpha, the Tru64 version of Unix that also came from Digital Equipment, is being phased out in favor of HP-UX. HP engineers are working to bring some features of Tru64 to HP-UX, however.

HP plans to announce improvements to Tru64 and OpenVMS on Monday. The company will also release a new entry-level AlphaServer that uses the EV7 processor, the company said.