There is a new Dec Alpha emulator out there…

EmuVM‘s AlphaVM!

Currently it emulates an AlphaServer DS20, with up to 4 disks, a CD-ROM, two serial consoles and pcap’d ethernet.


The UI is pretty self explanatory, however I was unable to boot either OpenBSD, nor Digital UNIX 4.0b (no wonder they support .e onward…) on it. I suspect it’s mainly targeted to VMS users as the Itanium is inching towards a silent death.

The requirements for this version are;

  • The emulator runs on x86 or x64 architecture. The appropriate build is chosen by the product installer. We recommend an x64 system. On x86 the performance is lower. Some features are supported only in x64 (for instance SMP trial ). These limitations arise due to the fact that Alpha AXP is itself a 64-bit system.


  • On x64 host system the CPU must support the instruction CMPXCHG16B. Note, that this instruction is not supported by older AMD CPUs, which are rare.



  • There must be at least two cores. There must be at least 3 cores for the SMP trial.
  • We recommend at least 2GB memory.
  • OS is Windows7, or later. The product may run on Vista x64, but it has not been tested there yet. The product will definitely not run on earlier versions.
  • The installer installs .NET framework client profile. The .NET framework is not included in the installation package of AlphaVM, but rather the downloader is included. You can download and install the framework prior to the product installation. The framework is used for the launcher GUI implementation.
  • The ‘tested’ installed OS’s are…
  • OpenVMS (starting from 7.1-2)
  • DigitalUNIX/Tru64 (starting from 4.0e)
  • Linux (tested with Debian Linux 5.0.6)


18 thoughts on “There is a new Dec Alpha emulator out there…

  1. Actually, Itanium is still going strong despite Oracles attempt to push more people towards it's newly acquired x86-64 and Sparc offerings from Sun. Intel and HP both confirmed continued development. Oracle is the bad apple here!

  2. Well it'll apparently support Linux. But I'm talking from a guest side, since it's a .net application you'll need Windows, and since it's .net 4.0 it'll have to be a recent version.

  3. Only the user interface is in .net. The virtual machine itself is written in C++.

    The user interface will have to be redone or ported to mono, which is available on Linux.

  4. Only the user interface is written in dot net. The virtual machine itself is C++.

    The user interface will have to be redone or ported to Mono, which is available on Linux.

  5. AlphaVM is supported on Linux with no GUI, only with command line interface. We have tested OpenVMS (ffrom 7.1-2 onwards), Tru64 (4.0e onwards, except 5.0) and Linux Debian for Alpha. We have not tested other guest systems.

  6. Can someone pick up the ES40 emulator so that we can have a SIMH like, open source, free, Alpha emulator. It’s kinda frustrating seeing how that project was run aground and left for dead.

    • Hi,
      I recently returned back to my three year old ES40 enhancement project.
      I made some patches and added/repaired support for the Tulip network card (only in promiscous mode)
      I was able to install and run Tru64 4.0D and E and was also able to transfer data via ftp from some LinuxBox.
      Also there is someone at, who integrated patches
      to let ES40 run on NetBSD and improved the CPU interpreter (added threading algorithm) as far as I understood, but I haven’t tried yet.
      However there are plenty of problems left in my ES40 branch:
      – Remote install does not work,
      – tried to add cirrus graphic card support, but system hangs while booting into X
      – debug version locks up in some semaphore stuff
      – crash after termiation (via CTRL-C)
      ES40 uses the cirrus code from bochs and bochs recently did a major rewrite of it, so I’m thinking of porting the new bochs code into ES40, this was the reason I crossed this site.
      So if there is interest I can upload my changes to github, probably after merging with veprbl and removing some nasty debug statements 😉
      Just let me know.


      • Hi Tim,

        The “threading” patch is just a rehash of the main switch so it has next opcode handler branching point in the end of each switch case instead of one branching point in the head of the switch. This supposed to enhance performance by spreading host processor’s instruction cache, so it will kinda predict the next emulated opcode. My benchmarks didn’t show that huge difference with running gzip/bzip2. But I was able to do a proper hdd install of NetBSD with these changes, so they should be working.

        I have little interest in all DEC Alpha stuff, but it still would be interesting to see your work.


  7. This emulator support linux but is slow and free version
    has serious limits: one for all: no idle cpu release( only avaliable in commercial version),so when it run 100% of cpu is used(sic!).
    Is a useless emulator imho.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.