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75

The Alpha team set out to create a high-performance architecture, planned to last for 25 years and allow for 1000-performance increase over those 25 years. So they placed some long bets, starting with the 64-bit design (which cost performance but ensured long-term viability). It wasn’t designed to compete with x86 (which wasn’t perceived as a viable long-...


51

Stephen Kitt has done what seems to me an excellent job of outlining features and when they were introduced. I'll take a slightly different tack, instead picking a single point in time, and pointing out differences between the two at that time. I'm going to choose the 21164 as the Alpha to compare. It came out in January of 1995. It had a 266 MHz clock ...


13

Prepare hardware Gather hardware Get or make a serial cable from HP48 to DB9 (most common) or DB25 (instructions on https://www.hpcalc.org/hp48/docs/faq/48faq-12.html, the core of it being: looking at the calculator socket from left to right, pins are shield,tx,rx,ground ). Get a USB-to-Serial adapter with matching DB connector, or add an adapter. Beware, ...


11

Alpha fizzled in the face of the HP/Intel partnership pushing their Itanium 64-bit architecture I think it's important to note that during this period, there was a widespread belief that the VLIW approach was "the next RISC". Existing RISC approaches were growing into the millions of transistors and the outright performance gap that existed in the 1990s ...


10

I don't know what environment they installed to run their software on the HP. The vendor did all the work. For all I know it was just raw COBOL with an IBM compatible runtime running on top of HP-UX. The most notable thing was that it require 3270 terminals (mostly unheard of in the Unix world). Recall a couple of things. All the IBM machines are, and have ...


8

There were a number of companies offering IBM 'compatible' mainframes - Hitachi, Fujitsu and Amdahl come to mind. IBM got slapped with an anti-trust suit when it tried to limit their operating systems for their machines only. There was also a lot of business in after-market terminals, printers, tape and disk drives etc. Amdahl was particularly successful in ...


6

I was at HP when the Alpha cancellation decision was made. In fact I was part of a team that ran comparative HPC benchmarks on Alpha and x86. The fact was that by 1999 the x86 Pentium-II was matching the Alpha in floating point performance. This was reported by objective groups, e.g. Dongarra et al. Unfortunately the Alpha ecosystem was 10x more ...


5

The original Pentium, which succeeded the i80486, was indeed the original definition of the i586 instruction set - and not x86_64. But the Pentium was introduced in 1993, and your HP machine is much newer than that. Intel has continued to use the Pentium brand for almost every x86-compatible CPU line they've made since then, to great confusion among people ...


3

Micro Focus COBOL will emulate at least 20 different COBOL dialects, and can compile and run on various platforms, including HP/UX (at least in older versions). It even has a CICS emulator. It's possible that the vendor was using this tool, or some other mainframe COBOL porting tool to move the application to the HP.


3

The HP1000 (family) was extremely register poor by today's standards - only A and B accumulators (having B was an improvement over other machines which just had A!) - and the only addressing modes supported by the instruction set were register, memory address, and indirect-through-memory address. It didn't even have the magical auto-increment memory ...


2

My personal experience with the Alpha AXP was when I attended a presentation in the Detroit area during the introduction of the product many years ago. It was a video presentation and it showed the president of DEC on a stage demonstrating the capabilities of the system. He had a projection display screen that was attached to the computer, and the computer ...


2

One little known fact is that what become PostgreSQL was done on Alpha workstations with 64MB of RAM. I forget the model number of the workstations but they were small desktop machines. I was the system manager for the Postgres Research Group at UC Berkeley. We also had a couple of Alpha servers. The Alpha hardware (and software) worked quite well. We were ...


2

Maybe it is a feature, not a bug. Many keyboard manufacturers have models with a bigger resistance (you have to press it with a slightly bigger force). Some people with "heavy fingers" appreciate it. The "small rubber things" are the "cheap springs" alternative. Those give the resistance against pushing and provides the proper reaction to pushing (force and ...


1

Gentoo is a source-based distribution, where everything is built from the source. You can tune GCC to build for i586 like this: COMMON_FLAGS="-march=i586 -mtune=pentium -O2 -pipe" in your /etc/portage/make.conf Changing -O2 to -Os will decrease executables size a bit. Another thing you need to worry is to build correct kernel. If the build process ...


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