The Alpha chip was a 64-bit RISC processor that replaced Digital Equipment's 32-bit CISC VAX computers. The first version of the Alpha processor was clocked at 150 MHz and claimed a maximum performance of 150 MFlops and 200 MIPS. The Alpha 2, released in 1993, clocked in at 299 MHz and 400 MIPS/200 MFlops. It was a highly prestigious and costly product that was handed down when Compaq acquired DEC in 1998 and when HP bought Compaq in 2001. It was especially a problem for Intel, which needed the Alpha intellectual property and patent base for its Itanium processor. Intel acquired all rights to Alpha from HP in 2001 - which gave Hewlett-Packard an easy exit from an expensive to develop and maintain product that lacked customer base, but on the other this deal enabled Intel to produce and market Itanium.