Friday, February 13, 2009

DEC Alpha

Alpha, originally known as Alpha AXP, was a 64-bit reduced instruction set computer (RISC) instruction set architecture (ISA) developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), designed to replace the 32-bit VAX complex instruction set computer (CISC) ISA and its implementations. Alpha was implemented in microprocessors originally developed and fabricated by DEC. It was used in a variety of DEC workstations and servers, eventually forming the basis for almost their entire mid-to-upper-scale lineup. Several third-party vendors also produced Alpha systems, as well as PC compatible form factor motherboards.

Alpha supports both the OpenVMS (previously known as OpenVMS AXP) operating system and Tru64 UNIX (previously known as DEC OSF/1 AXP and Digital UNIX). Open source operating systems also run on the Alpha, notably Linux and BSD UNIX flavors (FreeBSD support ended as of 7.0). Microsoft supported the processor in Windows NT until NT 4.0 SP6 but did not extend Alpha support beyond RC1 of Windows 2000.

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