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Intel says Itanium will continue to sail for the long run

Intel this week revealed new details about where it plans to take its server processor business, specifically with the Itanium processor. As many know, Intel took a gamble on the Itanium when it was released several years ago. Intel's use of a then uncommon Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC) architecture left the majority of the industry unsure of Itanium's practicality in an x86-dominated world. Today however, the Itanium family brings in roughly $3.5 billion per annun for Intel.

Diane Bryant, vice president of Intel's enterprise group, revealed several details that indicate Intel will push forward with Itanium development for the foreseeable future.

Currently, Intel's flagship Itanium 2 processor is the Montecito core. Intel announced Montecito last July, marking the company's first dual-core enterprise and mainframe processor. Until now, Montecito ran on a 533MHz front-side bus but will soon make the transition a 667MHz front-side bus processor in Q4 2007, dubbed Montvale. According to Bryant, Montvale will consist of minor updates, improving bus speed but also improving overall stability.

Recent Intel roadmaps indicate that Montvale will consist of roughly 25 percent of Intel's Itanium business in Q4 2007. By Q1 2008, Intel guidance suggests Montvale will take up a whopping 40 percent of all Itanium 2 sales. Despite Intel's desktop processors currently seeing day light at 65nm, Itanium 2 processors will still be on 90nm manufacturing technology. Montvale will also top out at a core speed of 1.66GHz with a total of 24MB of L3 cache.

Intel's next major milestone in the Itanium family will come with the arrival of Tukwila, a quad-core processor due sometime in late 2008. According to Bryant, Tukwila will be roughly twice as fast as Montecito and feature an on-die memory controller.

This will be a turning point for Intel because with Tukwila's need for a discrete memory controller gone, the company will introduce its long waited common system interface (CSI). Tukwila's use of CSI will be a direct response to AMD's HyperTransport technology. Intel previously stated it will not restrict CSI to the Itanium family, but will eventually use the technology as the main transport bus for the Xeon family as well.

Tukwila
will also come with even larger caches and a new reliability feature called double device data correction (DDDC). DDDC acts as a failsafe mechanism to protect system memory failures from bringing down a live system. In a hardware failure where a memory chip on a memory module fails, DDDC will be able to mark that chip as unusable without compromising system stability. DDDC differs from traditional ECC and parity technology due to its capability to withstand more than one chip failure.

Bryant went on to reveal details about the future release of an entirely new Itanium architecture code-named Poulson. With Poulson, Bryant claims Intel will introduce even more cores; greater scalability and the introduction of 32nm die fabrication for its enterprise segment. The company will skip 45nm technology altogether for Itanium. Bryant did not give details on a possible release date for Poulson although Intel is expecting to introduce 32nm processors in approximately two years.



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RE: This is all a BIG SCAM
By offkey on 6/18/2007 4:09:06 PM , Rating: 1
quote:

(Although, for all its concentration on number crunching, some maybe interested to know that per CPU, an Itanium II @ 1.6 GHz is about 15% slower than an Opteron @ 2.4 GHz on the same job)


Unless you are crunching int numbers, opteron is no way to surpass itanium. The latest spec benchmark shows:

n4250QE (S4985) AMD Opteron 2222SE: 14.3 15.2
HP Integrity rx6600 (1.6GHz/24MB Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2): 17.3 18.1

Dual core to Dual core, 1.6G (Itanium) vs 3.0G (Opteron)


RE: This is all a BIG SCAM
By zpdixon on 6/19/2007 12:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:

n4250QE (S4985) AMD Opteron 2222SE: 14.3 15.2
HP Integrity rx6600 (1.6GHz/24MB Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2): 17.3 18.1
Dual core to Dual core, 1.6G (Itanium) vs 3.0G (Opteron)


This benchmark shows Opteron as being much more attractive than Itanium. They show a $3692 Itanium CPU [1] (104W) as being only ~20% faster than a $873 Opteron CPU (119W), both in roughly the same power envelop.

IOW, the Itanium is 423% more expensive but only scores 20% better in this benchmark.
IOW, if you are a potential customer with XXX dollars to spend, you'll get about 4x more processing power by buying Opteron servers instead of Itanium servers.
IOW, if you are a potential customer in need of XXX amount of processing power, Opteron will take you to that level for 1/4th the cost of an Itanium solution.

No wonder why Itanium has been such a failure. (As correctly pointed out by a previous poster, Intel designed the IA-64 architecture to eventually replace i386. This has never happened.)

[1] http://www.intel.com/intel/finance/pricelist/proce...
[2] http://amd.com/pricing


RE: This is all a BIG SCAM
By mars777 on 6/19/2007 12:48:39 AM , Rating: 2
So you said that an Itanium is faster at FPU calculations than an Opteron... wow that was promiscuous.

Now try to count 128 Itaniums killing themselves for bandwidth in a cluster environment vs 128 Opterons running together on HT and optics. (numbers are socket not core)

All that in a more mixed parallel environment and not simply/exclusively FPU calculations.

Well most of the time they will be on par, but if the calculations become more "mixed type" Opterons will surely win.

Itaniums are like a group of Elephants, Opterons like a group of Rhinoceros, but we all know that Elephants dye faster when there is no food. Yes they have bigger stomachs (cache) but they have to share it but they lack a good way of doing it (CSI).

The next itanium could be much better when they bring on the CSI and memory controller.

THe point is - SPEC doesn't mean much if considering big clusters.


RE: This is all a BIG SCAM
By Amiga500 on 6/19/2007 4:15:33 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you are crunching int numbers, opteron is no way to surpass itanium. The latest spec benchmark shows:

n4250QE (S4985) AMD Opteron 2222SE: 14.3 15.2
HP Integrity rx6600 (1.6GHz/24MB Dual-Core Intel Itanium 2): 17.3 18.1

Dual core to Dual core, 1.6G (Itanium) vs 3.0G (Opteron)


Its a 2004 vintage Itanium II (the older cluster is the Madison cores, dunno what the newer one - which I've compared is) versus a 2004 Opteron 250.

And as subsequently pointed out - in terms of bang-for-buck, the AMD is way out ahead.

Hopefully I can get a comparison with some Woodcrests sometime soon.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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