CHIPMAKER Intel is finally due to launch the next iteration of its 64-bit Itanium processor, after a year of delays and two years after specification leaks in 2008.
Chipzilla claims the quad-core Itanium processor codenamed 'Tukwila' is its most advanced to date and doubles the performance of its predecessor, adding a range of scalability, reliability, and virtualization features. The company touts it as the world's first 2-billion transistor microprocessor and says it's designed to provide highly scalable and reliable performance for mission-critical enterprise server applications.
We awarded Intel the Duke Nukem Forever crown in May of last year for its long-delayed production cycle.
Intel had cited delays to allow for greater application scalability. "As you know, end users choose Itanium-based servers for their most mission-critical environments, where application scalability is paramount. During final system-level testing, we identified an opportunity to further enhance application scalability. As a result, the Tukwila processor will now ship to OEMs in Q1 2010," it said at the time.
As if that wasn't enough, Intel also claimed that production was on hold so it could wait for DDR3, and it did not forget to add the traditional ode to "enhanced customer experience" that companies like to recite when production hits a snag.
Chipzilla has thrown everything including the kitchen sink into the Itanic and it just hasn't ever taken off. Support from original OEM partners like Sun and IBM has not only slowed to a painful crawl but IBM stated last year that it expects the Itanium will go the way of the Dodo in five years. Ouch. Of the large systems builders only HP has a full Itanium enterprise portfolio, but then you would expect nothing less from the company that co-developed it with Intel.
Intel must still be hoping that Itanium will finally take off one of these years, if only to justify the mountains of cash and years of work it put into the thing. µ