Alpha gets copper treatment

Alpha gets copper treatment

Starting next year, Compaq Alpha processors will get the copper circuit technology used in IBM Corp.'s high-end server chips, through a manufacturing agreement between the two companies.

IBM is new to fabricating Alpha chips, although it makes microprocessors for several other companies, IBM spokesman Michael Loughran said.

Samsung Electronics America Inc. of Ridgefield Park, N.J., will continue to manufacture Alpha chips with the earlier aluminum circuitry, according to Compaq Computer Corp. spokesman Dick Calandrella.

Copper conducts electricity better than the aluminum circuitry commonly used in microprocessors [GCN, May 8, Page 36].

IBM has made sample 1.2-GHz Alpha chips with copper circuits, although Calandrella said he was unsure about what the chips' clock speed would be when they go into volume production early next year.

Compaq will introduce the copper Alpha chips first in its high-end AlphaServer GS series and later in its Himalaya server line.

'Tony Lee Orr, Patricia Daukantas and Christopher J. Dorobek

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