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Samsung unveils 700-MHz chip

Samsung develops what may be the fastest chip in the world, a 700-MHz Alpha processor, based on technology licensed from Digital Equipment.

Samsung Electronics has developed what may be the fastest chip in the world, a 700-MHz Alpha processor, based on technology from Digital Equipment.

Alpha chips shipping from Digital currently run as fast 600 MHz, though Digital is expected to ratchet up the clock speed of its own Alpha chips in the coming months. Samsung licenses Digital?s Alpha processor technology.

Samsung says it plans to begin commercial production of the Alpha chip in the second half of 1998, according to an article in the online edition of Nikkei Business Publications, which cited a report in the Maeil Business Newspaper of South Korea.

The 64-bit Digital Alpha is one of the fastest chip architectures in the world. Digital currently ships powerful workstations which use Microsoft?s Windows NT operating system. Digital also ships servers based on the chip.

Intel recently agreed to acquire the Digital semiconductor plant that makes the Alpha chips and to cooperate with Digital in the development of next-generation computers based on the forthcoming 64-bit Intel "Merced" processor. Intel will also fabricate future Alpha processors for Digital.

The Samsung chip is made on an advanced .25-micron production process, a state-of-the-art production technology now being adopted by many chip makers. The 64-bit chip has a whopping 15 million transistors.