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DEC Alpha processor
In 1992, DEC had one final burst of genius — the DEC Alpha processor.
Although the company had had considerable success with the single-chip versions of its minicomputers, the architectural limitations had made them obsolete in any format. The Alpha chip was designed on RISC principles and was intended to support a thousandfold increase in performance over its projected 25-year lifespan.
There is evidence that the Alpha would have succeeded. The first versions, the 21064 line, produced unparalleled performance for the CMOS process on which they were built, foreshadowing Intel's later success in pushing that technology. Later versions introduced on-chip secondary caches, high-speed out-of-order execution and on-chip memory controllers. They would have supported simultaneous multi-threading, had the design not been cancelled after Compaq's 1998 purchase of DEC.
Although the Alpha continued as a server chip for some time, software and hardware support dropped off and it was finally killed when Intel persuaded its customers that the Itanium was going to be the muscle chip of choice.
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