From my understanding a DEC Alpha system contained an Alpha processor. I don't know a lot about them, but I believe they are RISC based and had a portion of the chip that was programmable for the operating system to add custom instructions to. There was a windows NT 4 port to the alpha and DEC and later compaq/hp had a Unix for them as well.

Some alpha systems are still in production use. I know a college around here that uses it for a custom security system with keycards. The software they use was never ported to the x86 version (IA32 for people who hate that term) of NT4.

Lucas Holt
________________________________________________________  (Jewel Fan Site) (Free blogging)

'Re-implementing what I designed in 1979 is not interesting to me personally. For kids who are 20 years younger than me, Linux is a great way to cut your teeth. It's a cultural phenomenon and a business phenomenon. Mac OS X is a rock-solid system that's beautifully designed. I much prefer it to Linux.'
-- Bill Joy, Wired Article 2003

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