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· Life: Comedy or Tragedy?
38,226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No surprise, but just for you Intel lovers...


Intel's new Itanium on hold


By Dean Takahashi

Mercury News

Hurting its prospects in the market for high-end server chips, Intel said Monday that it has delayed the launch of its newest Itanium microprocessor until the middle of 2006.

The world's biggest chip maker said the chip, code-named Montecito, had to be delayed from early 2006 until mid-2006 to ensure it fixes quality problems.

""I don't see this as a crushing delay, but it certainly is embarrassing,'' said Jonathan Eunice, an analyst at market analyst firm Illuminata. ""It sounds like a four- to five-month delay, and that's not a disastrous day for Intel.''

The delay is reminiscent of 2004, when Intel canceled a number of chips because of chip design problems. Those delays tarnished the company's reputation and forced it to redouble its focus on chip design.

Server customers are much more particular than home users because they use chips such as Itanium in servers that are part of corporate data centers that handle millions of transactions a day. Servers are the large computers that run networks, power Web sites, and store massive amounts of data.

Intel spokesman William Giles said Montecito would still deliver twice the performance over Intel's current-generation Itanium chip. Montecito is one of the most complicated chips ever made because it has two processors on a single chip and uses 1.8 billion transistors, compared with 169 million transistors in Intel's fastest Pentium 4 for consumers.

Eunice said the delay would help Intel's rivals, including IBM's Power family of microprocessors and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron chips. Intel has aimed Itanium at challenging the highest-end server chips from IBM and Sun Microsystems.

Lisa Graff, general manager of Intel's high-end server line, recently said Itanium is on schedule in terms of Intel's strategy to compete against its high-end rivals. More than half of the Fortune 100 companies use Itanium servers, up from less than 20 percent about 18 months ago, she said.

Many rivals have called Itanium a failure because Intel and Hewlett-Packard originally had much bigger ambitions for the jointly designed project. Intel acknowledges the chip has taken off more slowly than anticipated, but it contends that competitors are disappearing.

But AMD's Opteron chip, launched in 2003, has stolen a lot of momentum from Itanium, Eunice said. He interpreted another move Intel made Monday as a response to AMD. Giles said Intel is canceling one Xeon server chip, code-named Whitefield, due in 2007. Intel is replacing that chip with Tigerton, also due in 2007, with features that make it more competitive with AMD's Opteron, Eunice said.

Giles said Tigerton will exploit a new method of connecting chips together in servers that use multiple microprocessors.

In other news, Intel will invest $650 million in a chip factory in New Mexico. Part of the reason is a tax break Intel received by bringing back $6 billion in cash from overseas sales. The investment will create 300 manufacturing jobs.

· Life: Comedy or Tragedy?
38,226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, because the Itanium processors have been a near disaster for Intel. The performance of the chip isn't where it should be in comparison to the other 64-bit processors in native 64-bit mode. Not to mention the embarassment of trying to process 32-bit code, and how it runs slower than a native 32-bit processor. :fact

Add in that Intel has had more delays with these processors being developed and shipped, they really are behind the times.

I work on a number of Itanium processors at work, and they are almost an embarrasment. Nice idea at the time, but they have fallen by the wayside.

:2bitchsla to Intel for making the Itaniums
:2bitchsla to HP for discontinuing the Alpha processors

:thumbup to AMD for making 64-bit processors that :rock in both 32 and 64 bit mode.

· Life: Comedy or Tragedy?
38,226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
R1_RX1 said:
Sorry, couldn't pull that info from the article you posted....
No worries. It's general knowledge about the Itanium processors if you are familiar with them or do a little bit of research. 32-bit code on an Itanium processor is super degraded because they route that code through an emulator within the processor. AMD does it via a physical part of the chip, and not relying on software.

As to 50% of the market, I disagree. The article said that over half of the Fortune 1000 companies use them. Not half of the market. Most shops that use Intel chips for servers are using Xeon processors, or P4's, on newer systems bought within the past year. Although, most servers I've seen are Xeons.

Most shops, from my understanding, have at least one or two Itanium based systems in house to do development work or so forth. Very few use them in a production environment to my knowledge.

Here at work, we have about 8 Itanium systems. 7 are running HP-UX 11.23, and one is running Windows server. None are in a production role. :fact
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