Unable to push the familiar x86 architecture from the midsize business market, Intel Corp. long ago repositioned its 64-bit EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing) Itanium processor family as a solution for only the largest enterprise servers. But that doesn't mean Intel has stopped development on the platform: Today's new Itanium 2 CPUs deliver double the performance of their predecessors with 20 percent lower power and cooling requirements. Formerly known by the codename "Montecito," the 1.7-billion-transistor Itanium 2 9000 design combines two 64-bit processing cores with Intel's Hyper-Threading technology to execute up to four instructions or threads simultaneously. Built-in Intel Virtualization Technology (IVT) enhances support and scalability for virtual-machine migration and consolidation of different software applications, while Cache Safe Technology keeps high-end systems operating even in the event of errors in the Level 3 cache -- which has nearly tripled in size compared to previous Itanium 2s.
The new CPUs start with the single-core Itanium 2 9010, a 75-watt part with 6MB of L3 cache, no IVT, and an OEM (1,000-unit) price is $696. All others are dual-core, draw 104 watts, and include virtualization technology. The model 9015 (1.4GHz) and 9020 (1.42GHz) offer 12MB of cache for $749 and $910, respectively, while the Itanium 2 9030, 9040, and 9050 share a 1.6GHz clock speed but include 8MB, 18MB, and 24MB of cache for respective prices of $1,552; $1,980; and $3,692. Intel adds that more applications were added to the Itanium's software library in the first half of 2006 than in all of 2003, with over 70 percent of the top Global 100 companies using EPIC servers. The hardware- and software-vendor Itanium Solutions Alliance will hold its first summit in conjunction with September's Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.
Related Link: Intel