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Alpha Is Launched Into the Volume Windows NT PC Market With Low Cost 21164PC Microprocessor

...Under-$300 High-Performance Chip to Enable Alpha PCs Under $2,600...

MAYNARD, Mass., March 17, 1997 -- Digital Equipment Corporation today announced the low-cost, high-performance Alpha 21164PC microprocessor, designed to enable Alpha PCs for less than $2,600 in the volume Windows NT desktop market.

The Alpha 21164PC, co-designed with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, will be marketed and sold by Digital Semiconductor, Mitsubishi and Samsung Electronics. The processor will run at 400MHz, 466MHz and 533MHz and deliver estimated performance ranging up to 14.3 SPECint95 and 17.0 SPECfp95, twice the performance of a comparable Pentium Pro processor. The Alpha 21164PC-400MHz, -466MHz, and -533MHz will be sold by Digital for $295, $395 and $495, respectively, in quantities of 1,000.

"This low cost, high-performance chip is a dramatic milestone for Alpha," said Ed Caldwell, vice president, Digital Semiconductor. "We are delivering on our key strategic advantages: leadership performance, Windows compatibility and now, competitive PC market pricing. For PC OEMs, Alpha provides critical differentiation in the market -- OEMs can build outstanding graphics and multimedia systems at PC prices. For end users, they can enjoy the benefits of high-performance computing at PC prices."

Windows NT Volume Opportunity

With the growing market acceptance of the Windows NT operating system, strong Microsoft commitment to Alpha, more than 1,800 native Alpha Windows NT applications, and 32-bit Windows compatibility through Digital FX!32 translation technology, Alpha is well positioned to be a leading contender in the Windows NT market. Industry analysts view Windows NT as a volume market, topping 40 million units by the turn of the century.

"We are extremely pleased to bring the Alpha 21164PC to market with our Alpha partners, Mitsubishi and Samsung. We believe the growing Windows NT market will provide volume opportunities for each company." said Ed Caldwell. "This is the first Alpha product that will be marketed and sold by all three companies."

"Alpha is now the only alternative processor for running Windows NT, and the 21164PC offers Alpha-class computing at PC prices," said Martin Reynolds, vice president of technology assessment application performance at Dataquest. "Coupled with its workable FX!32 strategy for running x86 applications and a growing number of native Alpha applications, Alpha is a viable choice for NT computing on the desktop."

"The new Alpha 21164PC chip gives Digital a great opportunity to broaden its system offerings to include the best of both RISC and CISC worlds for Windows NT applications at competitive prices," said Jesse Lipcon, vice president, Systems Business Unit. "Our customers will be able to choose among Intel and Alpha clients and servers from Digital based entirely on their application requirements, and be assured of getting the industry's best price/performance. You can expect Digital to announce Alpha 21164PC-based systems in the near future."

Application Performance

To extend Alpha's tremendous lead in multimedia applications, the Alpha 21164PC includes new motion video instruction (MVI) extensions. These instructions, added to the base Alpha architecture, accelerate the performance of video data compression algorithms that implement MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video and prevailing video conferencing standards. MVI will be offered in all future generations of Alpha products.

Alpha's unsurpassed processing power delivers broadcast quality and real-time multimedia to applications at lightning speed. These applications include: creating and rendering 3D images, creating and processing Web content, video conferencing and video authoring, as well as electronic and mechanical computer-aided design. Alpha-based applications will provide a higher level of performance in terms of speed and quality. For example, 3D images that can take two-and-a-half minutes to render on a Pentium Pro system can be executed in less than 50 seconds on Alpha.

Customers Announce Support

Alpha customers announcing their intention to use the Alpha 21164PC in future products include: Vobis Microcomputer and Enorex Microsystems, Inc.

"The Alpha 21164PC chip presents a great opportunity for us to complement our Highscreen PC line with an Alpha PC for Windows NT that will offer very good price/performance," Dr. Gert Hügler, president and CEO of Vobis Microcomputer AG. "Systems based on the Alpha 21164PC chip that are both price-competitive and excellent performers in visual computing are sure to attract much interest in European markets."

"Enorex is aggressively bringing Alpha systems into the PC marketplace, and the results are very positive," said Peter Dolan, Sales and Marketing Manager, Enorex Microsystems, Inc. "The new Alpha 21164PC chip greatly enlarges our opportunity to put Alpha's superior performance onto PC desktops."


Manufactured in a 0.35-micron process, the Alpha 21164PC contains an 8KB data cache and a 16KB instruction cache. It supports from 512KB to 4MB of off-chip, level 2 cache through a high-speed interface. The 21164PC chip is sampling now and will be available in volume in the summer of 1997.

New AlphaPC Motherboard

The AlphaPC 164SX motherboard, also announced today, is a cost-focused motherboard designed to enable production of richly featured, sub-$2,600 Alpha PCs. This ATX-form-factor motherboard supports the Alpha 21164PC processor and the 21174 core logic chip. The board, which will be available early third quarter, features a 128-bit memory bus, 1MB of SRAM cache, six I/O slots (two 32-bit PCI, two 64-bit PCI, two ISA), and DIMM memory slots which support up to 512 megabytes of memory.

Digital Semiconductor, a Digital Equipment Corporation business headquartered in Hudson, Massachusetts, designs, manufactures and markets industry-leading semiconductor products including Alpha microprocessors and PCI chips for networking, bridging, and multimedia, plus low-power StrongARM microprocessors under license from Advanced RISC Machines Ltd. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Samsung Electronics Company Ltd. are alternate sources for Alpha microprocessors. Web site: http://www.digital.com/semiconductor

Digital Equipment Corporation is a world leader in open client/server solutions from personal computing to integrated worldwide information systems. Digital's scalable Alpha and Intel platforms, storage, networking, software and services, together with industry-focused solutions from business partners, help organizations compete and win in today's global marketplace.

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