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Intel cuts back Itanium plans, raising questions about chip's future

James Niccolai | Feb. 14, 2013
Intel has scaled back plans for the next version of Itanium in a move that raises questions about the future of the 64-bit server chip, used primarily in Hewlett-Packard's high-end Integrity servers.

But it's unclear what the cost will be in performance. The latest Itanium chip released in November, known as Poulson, included significant architectural changes, and Kittson was expected to benefit primarily from the new manufacturing process, which produces faster, more energy-efficient transistors.

Intel won't discuss details of Kittson, noting it isn't due for release for two to three years. "It's going to be better, obviously, but we haven't discussed how much better," the Intel spokesman said. Manufacturing improvements can be made, even within the context of the current process, he said.

Brookwood said Intel and HP could go on tweaking Kittson's architecture for years, giving customers a stream of minor improvements. But he was disappointed to see both the process shrink and the Xeon socket compatibility being shelved.

"This clearly suggests some backing off," he said.

 

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