The Alpha processor -- the 64-bit machine on life support for much of its tormented lifetime -- has finally been placed on death row. Its present proprietor -- the Hewlett Packard Co. -- said the final iteration of the Alpha began shipping this week.
“When it was introduced by Digital Equipment Corp. in November of 1992, it was the fastest chip on the planet,” said Terry Shannon, a computer industry consultant who watched the processor grow from conception at the Digital Equipment Corp. to its adolescence at the Compaq Computer Co. to its final resting place at HP. “The new server still goes like a bat out of hell. If you have to have an end of the line, it's better to go out with a bang than with a whimper.”
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