18 Facts About Alpha AXP


Alpha AXP was designed to replace 32-bit VAX complex instruction set computers and to be a highly competitive RISC processor for Unix workstations and similar markets.

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Alpha AXP is implemented in a series of microprocessors originally developed and fabricated by DEC.

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Alpha AXP architecture was sold, along with most parts of DEC, to Compaq in 1998.

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Alpha AXP emerged from an earlier RISC project named Parallel Reduced Instruction Set Machine, itself the product of several earlier projects.

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Alpha AXP asked Supnik to consider what might be done with VAX to keep it competitive with future RISC systems.

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The primary Alpha instruction set architects were Richard L Sites and Richard T Witek.

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The PRISM's Epicode was developed into the Alpha AXP's PALcode, providing an abstracted interface to platform- and processor implementation-specific features.

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The Alpha AXP chips show that manual circuit design applied to a simpler, cleaner architecture allows for much higher operating frequencies than those that are possible with the more automated design systems.

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Originally, the Alpha AXP processors were designated the DECchip 21x64 series, with "DECchip" replaced in the mid-1990s with "Alpha AXP".

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The Alpha AXP was designed as 64-bit from the start and there is no 32-bit version.

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Internally, Alpha AXP processors were identified by EV numbers, EV officially standing for "Extended VAX" but having an alternative humorous meaning of "Electric Vlasic", giving homage to the Electric Pickle experiment at Western Research Lab.

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Alpha AXP has a 64-bit linear virtual address space with no memory segmentation.

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The Alpha AXP Architecture was designed with a large range as part of the architecture's forward-looking goal.

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The Alpha AXP 21264 is the first microprocessor to implement these instructions.

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At the time of its announcement, Alpha AXP was heralded as an architecture for the next 25 years.

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Alpha AXP is implemented in the Piranha, a research prototype developed by Compaq's Corporate Research and Nonstop Hardware Development groups at the Western Research Laboratory and Systems Research Center.

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However, the figures give a rough impression of the performance of the Alpha AXP architecture, compared with the contemporary HP and Intel-based offerings .

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Fastest supercomputer based on Alpha AXP processors was the ASCI Q at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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