While searching for low-end, high-performance workstations, I
came across an interesting system. DEC makes a product called the ``Alpha
PC'' - a 100Mhz Alpha -based system with 6 EISA slots, an Adaptec 1741,
a Compaq SVGA, a CD-ROM, 400MB hard drive, monitor, and OS for $6700.
The catch is that the OS is none other than Windows NT, definitely a
negative feature. But still, from the point of view of looking for a
good, high-performance system to which Linux could be ported, this is
a potential gold mine. The 100Mhz Alpha AXP chip makes Pentiums look
sad. I would assume that the support chips on the motherboard are
custom, giving the local bus the full 64-bit width of the Alpha.
This machine would definitely deliver the EISA performance promised by
manufacturers whoose products have the bus. The EISA bus, SVGA graphics,
and Adaptec 1741 would slash porting difficulty to the system. The
price isn't exactly cheap - one could get a canned UNIX workstation for
the same price - but still, it would be a good direction to see for Linux.
(For the record - I'd be willing to help port this and buy one
of the systems to do it, but I would not dare try it on my own. But if
enough people were willing to do the same in order to get a screamer