Subject: RE: 2nd Announcement: cheap fast Alpha PC164 boards available
To: Edwin Foo <>
From: Laine Stump <>
List: current-users
Date: 04/16/1999 14:26:03
(Getting lots of messages on this topic. Perhaps we should narrow it to
port-alpha? Or create a new list just for the purpose? ;-)

Memory specs - I just looked in the AlphaPC 21164 motherboard manual and
these are the only requirements it states for RAM:

	* All SIMMs must be 36 bit and have a 70ns or faster access time
	* All SIMMs must be of equal size.

It doesn't say anything about FPM (Fast Page Mode) anywhere (although it's
possible that would make performance slightly better). Or is maybe all
modern ECC RAM FPM anyway? (it doesn't cost anything extra to manufacture
it, so it would make sense)

At 01:35 PM 4/16/99 -0400, Edwin Foo wrote:
>Don't flame me for having wrong numbers. Just correct me)

Righto. No flame intended here - just taking a quick trip through pricewatch.

>It's still a decent deal though, compared to buying a Pentium II-350 +
>motherboard + SDRAM. Here's the numbers I worked out:
>AlphaPC164 + CPU = $200
>128 MB ECC FPM 72-pin SIMMS (8*32MB) ~= $650
>Total = $850

Uh, 8*32 is 256MB. For 128MB you only need 8*16.

You can get 16MB ECC FPM sticks for $39 off a company on
(sticks that don't say FPM are $36), so the actual code of RAM would be
$312 (or $288).

my Total $512  ($488 if you buy ECC ram that isn't marked FPM in the ad)

(Oh, I forgot shipping, so add another $20)

>Pentium II 400 MHz ~= $275
>Slot 1 Motherboard ~= $150
>128 MB PC100 SDRAM ~= $200
>Total = $625

Well, today's price on 128MB PC100 DIMMs looks like around $120, so this
estimate is a bit conservative too. Also, you can get a nice motherboard
(Abit BH6) for max of $120 including shipping, and 400Mhz PIIs are now
about $235 (+ $15 for a fan).

my Total $490 (plus $20 or so for shipping)

So they're just about neck to neck. But you gotta admit it's much cooler to
have an Alpha! ;-)

>excluding the business with the ATX power supply. 

BTW, I just talked to someone who owns one of these boards (running NT on
it though) and he says that you really need to have a 300 watt PS - he said
it wouldn't even boot with a "standard PC" supply (I'm assuming he meant
one of  the 235W or so supplies that comes with a midtower case) and "might
even damage the board" (not sure how it could do that - I'm just the

Another thing I'm curious about - will this purchase of boards include the
fan with motion-sensing output that the manual says is required for proper