Compaq Alpha XP1000 workstation specs and pictures

A look at a game changer

Compaq Alpha XP1000

When I researched this workstation, I kept referring to it as the "DEC Alpha XP1000", reason being that product line started with Digital Equipment Corporation (AKA DEC) and survived the acquisition by Compaq and subsequently by HP.

That model was part of the AlphaStation portfolio and more specifically part of the Tsunami family according to Wikipedia, which also points out that it carried the codename Brisbane.

The XP1000 is a tower machine that comes with an Alpha 21264A (EV67) processor clocked at 667MHz with 64KB data cache, 64KB instruction cache and 4MB L2 cache. Alpha was a 64-bit RISC ISA designed to replace the 32-bit VAX ISA and was the foundation of the 21x64 processor family.

Article continues below

The enclosure housed a 400W PSU, a CDROM drive while the massive motherboard had connectors for UW SCSI HDDs up to 36GB in capacity.

Expansion capabilities

Expansion capabilities included eight DIMM slots, five slots (2 64-bit PCI, 2 32-bit PCI and one ISA/PCI), six storage bays and a diskette drive.

Compatible OSes back in those days included Tru64 UNIX or OpenVMS. It could also run Windows NT 4.0 back in the days when Microsoft supported some non-x86 architectures.

Compaq bought DEC in 1998 and the Alpha Architecture as part of the bounty. The company terminated it in favour of Intel's Itanium and interestingly enough sold Alpha IP to Intel in 2001, just months before it was acquired by HP. Some might say that this move effectively cleared the way for Itanium to survive.

A lot of technologies pioneered by the engineers at DEC survived in Intel's products. QPI for example, a point-to-point interconnect, was originally developed by members of the Alpha Development Group.