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Why, what, and where.

Ok I have been lurking for awhile and thought that I would ask the above
questions. I am not trying to start a war, I just can't seem to find "real
and practical" answers. So I go to those who actually use alphas for real
answers. Also keep in mind that I am asking these as a i386 debian user
who is unwilling to consider other OS as an answer. (Homogenious OS
environment is a nice concept)

Why alpha arch? If relating only to network/internet server use is there
any real advantage to alphas? My understanding (I am not an engineer) is
that alphas are better number crunchers. But net IO is so slow that
multiple nics in a P3 seems to be adaquate for "normal" organizations. 

If this is true would an alpha serve beter as a cross platform conpiler
for an i386 network as opposed to a net server? Example would be each
i386 machine needing custom kernels that would be compiled on a regular

What is a good non-archaic alpha to start with? My only alpha experiance
is with AS100a and DUnix4.0d. This would be a debian only, experimental,
learn why I want to envest in alpha box. I don't want to be bleeding edge,
but something made in the last generation or so would be nice. Also what
would be a good comparison to a P3 500, 256MB RAM, 10GB hd. Aprox price?

Lastly, where to look for reputable dealers? If there are any here please
speak up :) Are there any evaluation programs available via vendors, etc.  


Now just one "complaint" from a non-alpha guy who is interested in the
arch. Why is information so hard to find? What info I was able to find
seems to be at such a high level that it is almost not understandable by
those of us who are fairly clueless. I sm not a genius but I am not an
idiot either. 


Had to get that out. 

TIA for help/info


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