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HP Terminates Itanium Workstations

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  • by raider_red (156642) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:45AM (#10340441) Journal
    I've heard that HP actually sold both of the Itaniums they had in inventory, so there shouldn't be too much to write off.

  • x64? (Score:4, Funny)

    by suso (153703) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:46AM (#10340458) Homepage Journal
    Isn't x64 the program that runs the VICE C64 emulator? ;-)
  • How Ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:47AM (#10340473)
    HP killed Alpha in favor of Itanium. Which in turn happenh to be dead at birth.


    Makes me think about their technical vision ...

    • Re:How Ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:08AM (#10340667) Homepage Journal
      HP killed Alpha in favor of Itanium. Which in turn happenh to be dead at birth.

      Makes me think about their technical vision ...

      Intel sued by DEC for stealing Alpha technology for Pentium

      Intel agrees to buy production plant, pay undisclosed cash, continue to make Alphas for DEC

      Merced goes on for years, uses lots of Alpha technology.

      Revamped as Itanium

      Sells for huge $$$$ when it hits the market

      Still sells for $$$$

      Intel gets clubbed like a baby harp seal by AMD x64

      Seems somewhere in that long build up to the release of the Itanium they forgot how they made their money in the first place. Psst! Processors are a commodity.

      Intel may have a lot of better technology than AMD, but AMD has clearly shown they've learned a lot about getting a product out there.

    • Re:How Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mateito (746185) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:10AM (#10340689) Homepage
      Makes me think about their technical vision ...

      HP's current innovation strategy may be sumarized in the their unwritten Mission statement:

      Carly Gets Paid.

      Under Carly, the Calculator division has had the guts ripped out of it, the printer division has had the guys ripped out of it, the server division has had the guts ripped out of it.

      Um.. what else does HP make?

      And Carly gets her US$20m a year, despite the fact that none of her "innovations" have moved the company forward.

      • Re:How Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

        by joib (70841) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:28AM (#10340854)
        Yeah, HP is turning into a bunch of vacuum cleaner salesmen, just like Dell.

        Luckily some of the old HP spirit is left in Agilent.
        • Re:How Ironic (Score:4, Informative)

          by corngrower (738661) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:30PM (#10343925) Journal
          Actually, the true spirit of HP follows to Agilent.
          HP was originally in the scientific instrument business. That makes Agilent the true successor, not the current computer company HP. I'ld say what remains at HP are mostly the ruins of DEC, and Compaq. The best of those companies seems to have left for other opportunities.
      • by Rauser (631244) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:36AM (#10340975)
        What else does HP make?

        iPods... oh wait...

      • by DAldredge (2353)
        This is what happens when you hire a medieval history major to be your CEO. Look up what Carly the Butchers degree is in.
  • Could it be? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KingKire64 (321470) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:48AM (#10340475) Homepage Journal
    I AMD has caught up to intel a couple of times in the desktop market only to fall back again. Could this be the time that they leapfrog over Intel and be far and away leader in a market? One could only hope. In a tech world of dominate players (Intel, MS) its nice to see the underdog win with a superior product.
  • by hattig (47930) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:48AM (#10340479) Journal
    AMD sold around 100,000 Opterons in Q2 however. This should increase to 200,000 in Q3 given recent products from HP, Sun, IBM etc, especially with the increase in 4P systems.

    Of course, the ASP of Itanium is a lot higher, so Intel need to sell a lot fewer Itaniums to get the same money back as AMD. On the other hand, AMD haven't sunk $billions into K8!
  • Top 10 (Score:5, Funny)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <.akaimbatman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:48AM (#10340486) Homepage Journal
    Top 10 Itanic jokes:

    10. HP decided that they didn't want to go down with the Itanic
    9. Hear that flushing sound? That's billions of dollars being invested into a lemon.
    8. HP must of realized it was a 64-bit Pinto.
    7. HP's just upset that they didn't get to sit on the bow and yell, "I'm the King of Computers!"
    6. HP's Itanic line is sunk.
    5. "The Itanic is the most advanced chip of her kind. She's practically unsinkable!"
    4. HP didn't want to be compared to Leonardo Di Caprio
    3. HP Execs suddenly realized that Di Caprio dies in the end
    2. Intel assured HP that the Itanic was not sinking, despite being hit by a AMDBerg
    1. "My clock wiiilllll, count on and on!"

    Sorry, I just couldn't resist. :-D
  • by celerityfm (181760) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:48AM (#10340488) Journal
    AMD deserves the win here for pushing 32 bit backwards compatibility, Intel had to and still is playing catch-up with them in this arena.

    Good job AMD!
  • by Kazymyr (190114) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:50AM (#10340496) Journal
    I remember 5 or 6 years ago the new 64-bit chips from Intel were "hot" with everyone talking about them, and also supposedly right around the corner in terms of schedule. AMD surely stole their thunder on this.

    O tempora...
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:50AM (#10340501) Journal
    I guess because (for some moronic reason) AMD are "good guys" and Intel are "bad guys" we just have to get all giggly and rub their noses in it.

    BFD. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Some products take off, some don't.

    Itanium looks like a good architecture for transaction processing, at least on paper. Turns out the market was more interested in backwards compatibility.
    • I guess because (for some moronic reason) AMD are "good guys" and Intel are "bad guys" we just have to get all giggly and rub their noses in it.

      IA64 is proprietary and closed, AMD64 is not. That's why Intel are the bad guys as far as this Itanic thing is concerned. Also, if they are selling something you will never be able to buy to your home, it's natural to root for the solution that you might very well be able to afford yourself.
    • It's not that good.. Itanium is overdesigned and assumed the compilor will know things it just can't know at compile time.

      They shifted too many things off of the CPU and into software when that didn't preform well they started trying to optimise it. It's a situation that reminds me of NT and microkernels.

      The result is something that needs a huge die size just to preform on par with the Xeon and thanks to the huge die size it will always be priced much higher. I keep hearing that smaller transistors will
    • by roca (43122) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:16AM (#10340743) Homepage
      1) When the IA-64 design first became public, it was clear that they'd made some incredibly poor decisions. For example, the architectural design was based on the assumption that the chip would not do out-of-order execution in hardware. Such deficiences were to be remedied by a god-like compiler that would emerge at some later date. Unsurprisingly, it never has.

      2) These predictions were borne out by the fact that Itanium performance has always sucked, especially considering the enormous die size, cost and heat dissipation.

      3) It looked like Itanium might win in the market despite its technical limitations, just because of Intel's vast marketing budget, its momentum, and its monopoly leverage forcing OEMs to stay away from technically superior alternatives like AMD64.

      4) Thankfully this hasn't happened. The technically superior, open solution is winning. Thanks AMD.
      • by Animats (122034) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:44AM (#10341101) Homepage
        Such deficiences were to be remedied by a god-like compiler that would emerge at some later date. Unsurprisingly, it never has.

        Yeah. A few years ago, the compiler guys from HP came over to Stanford to speak about Itanium compilers. They didn't have a clue how to solve the problems they faced.

    • by rainman_bc (735332) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:02PM (#10341366)
      No, we're all cheering for AMD for a number of reasons.

      Their decision to support 32-bit mode in their x86 64 bit platform was a wise decisions and all of us knew that.

      Furthermore, AMD keeps forcing Intel to innovate. As long as AMD is around, CPU's will get faster and better and do more per cycle.

      Without AMD, we'd not have good competition, and Intel could comfortably cut their R&D costs to turn a bigger profit - their only rival would be PowerPC, and it's not a x86 platform. Let's not forget, Intel is first responsible to its shareholders.

      Furthermore without competition, rest assured we'd already have DRM shoved down our throats too.
    • by timeOday (582209) on Friday September 24, 2004 @01:21PM (#10342512)
      I guess because (for some moronic reason) AMD are "good guys" and Intel are "bad guys" we just have to get all giggly and rub their noses in it.
      "Some moronic reason?" Where were you when the rest of us were paying $700 for a Pentium-100 cpu? For years computers got faster but the price didn't come down at all. It didn't matter whether you wanted a fast one or not, you couldn't buy a $70 CPU, period. If we like AMD it's becase they saved us loads of cash - and "us" includes people who never bought an AMD processor!
  • bring back alpha (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:50AM (#10340504)
    Why doesn't Intel just get over the NIH syndrome and start fabbing the Alpha (proven design, existing software base, the geeks love it)... Don't they own the rights for it via some legal-fall out with Compaq?

    - Friendly A.C.
    • by perlchild (582235) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:59PM (#10342215)
      They'd have to admit they were wrong, first.

      I just don't see that happening. Plus while it may not cost them much to reopen production lines, it would take them away from where they want the market to go, Alpha, as an architecture, was a lot more than just the chip, and performed accordingly. It wasn't just a Math Machine, but also an I/O Machine, for several of the choices made(like having a daughterboard and per-cpu memory in my many configurations, kept bus traffic low, and needed basically less Mhz for the same speed as long as cpu localization was enabled) increasing that trend. Alphas and SPARCs used to be favorite workstation chips for that very reason, not just calculations, but I/O(lots of applications require both, like finite elements). Servers are also I/O hungry, and it makes sense that a chip for one would do well in the other. Now I notice that the bang for the buck department, especially if you factor in I/O and other considerations, Itanic doesn't inspire HP, which, as the people who took their PA chips and merged them with Intel's, are the ones who had the most investment in its success, I can only conclude Itanic sunk...

      With Intel selling cpus but having to license ASUS/VIA/ABIT etc... for motherboards, Intel would lose part of the profits. Itanic was a lot more than just a new chip, it was an attempt to kick competitors out, leaving HP and Intel with a dominant position. Thankfully for geeks everywhere, it mostly backfired.

      I also believe Intel had to give up the alpha somehow, to a consortium of companies interested in the Alpha chip itself, leader of which was Samsung, at the time.
  • What about servers? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lank (19922) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:51AM (#10340512)
    The article says that they killing the workstation Itanium line. What about the server Itanium line? I find it hard to believe that they would just throw up their hands and calls it quits - especially because they funded a fair portion of the development of the chip.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      What about the server Itanium line?

      I think the Itanium-based servers will continue to be sold because the strength of the Itanium CPU is specifically for large-volume server-based operations.

      AMD's Opteron/Athlon64 has succeeded because 1) they are VASTLY cheaper than Itanium CPU's and 2) incorporating the memory controller into the CPU die means that the Opteron/Athlon64 CPU's have nearly as much computing power as the Itanium CPU but does offer the advantages of keeping compatibility with most x86-base
    • by joib (70841) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:42AM (#10341072)
      Of course, they're pledging to continue selling Itanium servers.

      In the longer run, IMHO it sounds somewhat problematic, considering that all the engineers developing software will be running on x86-64. I.e. the software will first be available on x86-64, more tested etc.

      So why should the customer shell out money for an Itanium server instead of an x86-64 server which has better bang-per-buck and runs the software more reliably? In the short run HP can probably contain x86-64 in low end servers, keeping high end stuff reserved for Itanic. But in the long run, they'll have to start providing higher end x86-64 gear too, or their customers will move to a competitor that will.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:52AM (#10340525)
    Remember, these guys did have DEC/Alpha and PA-RISC.

    What the hell were they thinking.

    • by Kevin Burtch (13372) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:46AM (#10341125)

      Exactly what I was thinking.
      HP and Intel deserve this for killing off the two most powerful processor lines in history.

      Back when PA-RISC and Alpha were in production, the gap between them and the next fastest CPU lines were staggering. I used to check the CPU Info Center at Berkeley every time a new one was released, just to see how badly it humiliated the competition (sadly, the CPU Info Center is no longer maintained).

      The Athlon (before it was named such) uses the Alpha's bus... and the original slot-A design was compatible with both the Alpha and the Athlon, all you would need to sell a motherboard for the other one is a different BIOS. This was the selling point that convinced many motherboard manufacturers to actually make these boards. Unfortunately, only a tiny handful of companies actually marketed the resulting systems using the Alpha CPUs (mostly in Linux Journal & Linux Magazine as rackmount servers).

      They could have done so much more... oh well.
      My current favorites are UltraSPARC and PowerPC (with POWER close behind).

  • by Featureless (599963) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:56AM (#10340566) Journal
    What was Intel thinking?

    An architecture switch breaking x86 ISA compatibility (i.e. emulation is noticeably slower than the original item) would put it on a level playing field with other 64-bit workstation/server-class chips, yet they never seemed to offer either world-beating design improvements or substantial price benefits, or appear as though they would in the future.

    This looked like a loser from the first minute I saw it, and I obviously wasn't the only one: I mean, the chip has been "The Itanic" in Register parlance for years now.

    Intel, for all their flaws, is a smart company with a lot of smart people working for it. I must just not be seeing the whole picture. They must have had some good reason not to have flushed this project years ago, right?
    • by HungSoLow (809760) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:05AM (#10340640)
      Intel, for all their flaws, is a smart company with a lot of smart people working for it. I must just not be seeing the whole picture. They must have had some good reason not to have flushed this project years ago, right?

      If there's one thing I've learned from working in high-tech, it's that no matter how smart and capable the grunts are (engineers, etc.) you always have a dim-witted marketing guy or manager steering projects in the wrong direction (and not listening to criticism).

    • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:15AM (#10340736)
      What was Intel thinking?

      An architecture switch breaking x86 ISA compatibility (i.e. emulation is noticeably slower than the original item) would put it on a level playing field with other 64-bit workstation/server-class chips, yet they never seemed to offer either world-beating design improvements or substantial price benefits, or appear as though they would in the future.


      Intel decided to break with the past and start fresh, in hopes that they could make a large leap forward. That's a good goal. But what actually happened was a couple of things:

      1. Their experiment failed, in that they didn't get the monstrous across-the-board benefits they expected.

      2. They started this back in the days of the Pentium, when it looked like the x86 CPU architecture and instruction set were the big problems. The Itanium design team didn't forsee the crazy lengths that would be taken--by both Intel and AMD--in order to speed up the crappy x86 architecture.

      Honestly, you can't fault Intel for trying. Where did chips like the ARM and MIPS come from (two of the most popular non-desktop processors)? From designing a new architecture. That's the same kind of thinking that resulted in the amazing GPUs from ATI and nVidia.

      As a footnote, it's somewhat sad to see radical advances in CPUs come to a halt. I'd love to see someone set the industry on its ear.
      • They started this back in the days of the Pentium, when it looked like the x86 CPU architecture and instruction set were the big problems. The Itanium design team didn't forsee the crazy lengths that would be taken--by both Intel and AMD--in order to speed up the crappy x86 architecture.

        The architecture is actually rather nice now. It's only the instruction set that sucks, and that's a fairly small part of the transistor count.

        Honestly, you can't fault Intel for trying.

        Nope, but I can fault them for

    • by roca (43122) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:28AM (#10340860) Homepage
      We can only speculate.

      I've heard rumours that Intel wanted to do something radical in the architecture because it would be harder for other vendors (AMD) to clone. That could have forced them into their VLIW design.

      When IA-64 was conceived (mid 90s) some research groups (e.g. IMPACT at Illinois) were touting in-order VLIWs with compiler support as the way of the future. Their research had problems but perhaps some key Intel/HP engineers bought into it.

      Now imagine that the IA-64 project got rolling and after a few years you've aligned the company around the project and sunk a billion dollars or two into it. Maybe you've even talked it up in the press or with analysts. Many of your best and most senior engineers have staked their careers on the project. Now suppose some of your people have doubts. How hard would it be for them to persuade the company to flush it? Near impossible, I suspect.

      It's scary how close we all came to watching AMD go under and IA-64 taking over in spite its inferiority. It would have been a terrible example of monopoly power leading to bad outcomes. Fortunately at this point it's only a matter of time before IA-64 is cancelled. It can't compete with x64 chips which are essentially equivalent but ship in 10x-100x of the volume.
    • They must have had some good reason not to have flushed this project years ago, right?


      I think it's the sunk cost fallacy - "we've already spent $X billion on this, let's throw a few more billion at it until it works."

    • by e40 (448424) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:53AM (#10341235) Journal
      They were not thinking. They were being arrogant.

      I have a hypothesis: it was a power play to eliminate all competition. It would have been difficult for AMD and others to follow them down this IA64 road.

      Corrolary: Intel wanted to establish compiler dominance. I work for a compiler company that produces every part of the source to machine translation for our compiler. Intel told us we would not be able to do an IA64 port all the way to machine code and that we'd have to use their assembler. This was shocking. Upon probing this, the Intel guy would not relent. He said it was near impossible for anyone but Intel to produce machine code for IA64. For over 20 years we've done countless ports, to some really weird hardware. Our expert said it would take 2 years to do the port. The most time we *ever* spent doing a port was a year and that was for a Cray (and a lot of that was for operating system interface issues).
  • by cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:59AM (#10340590)
    The interesting thing is 3 RISC chips were killed because of the threat of Intel - MIPS (well, at least in workstations, embedded lives on), Alpha, and PA-RISC. PA-RISC even had a technology that could be seen as the opposite of EPIC, instead of moving scheduling logic to the compiler, they actually moved some of the optimization the compiler could do to the chip itself, since it knew current state of the machine and the compiler couldn't. Just shows you what a bit of monopoly muscle can do I guess.
    • Dropping Itanium is a huge blow to HP's pride and I wouldn't be suprised if it completely demoralized their processor design team, which was screwed a few items trying to tango with Intel. Digital (DEC) was screwed by Intel when they showed their designs. HP let their own successful design of the PA-RISC slide, so did SGI MIPS. One can draw parallels how Windows NT would crush all the unixes (unices), instead it was the BSDs and Linux offerings that ended up hurting the unix vendors. I kind of feel bad for
  • by necro2607 (771790) on Friday September 24, 2004 @10:59AM (#10340593)
    Yeah.. I just ordered the IA-64 linux developer's kit CD [hp.com] from HP (for free) last week! Jeez..
  • by gsasha (550394) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:04AM (#10340626) Homepage
    Architecturally, IA-64 is a very advanced architecture.
    Ok, many people don't like it. And OK, it's complex. And OK, many people are making other quite good 64-bit processors.
    If its competition was Power or MIPS, then OK, I'd say that the worse it is, let IA-64 die, but x86 (and x86-64 as well) is UGLY and laden with all kinds of OLD JUNK. Come on, it will be junked sooner or later. Granted, Intel can make high-performance x86s, but that at a price of devoting over 1/3 of the stages for decoding!
    Or, let's put it that way. It is a Good Thing (TM) to have several different architectures. If all we'll be stuck with will be x86, it'll be quite sad.
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:22AM (#10340798)
      but x86 (and x86-64 as well) is UGLY and laden with all kinds of OLD JUNK

      The old junk is a constant overhead, but processor architectures keep getting bigger and more complex with or without the old junk. Processors are now so large that the old junk is a tiny percentage of the total logic.

      All modern processors translate their user-visible instruction set on-the-fly into some other internal format anyway. The X86 ISA is just a kind of bytecode, and it's a relatively compact one at that. It's easier for compilers to generate than Itanium bytecodes, so it's not hard to see why X86 is still around.

      I kind of doubt that X86 will ever get junked. Now that X86 has 64-bit addressing, there's little reason to create any new user-visible changes to the instruction set. Processors can continue to improve and change their internal architecture without bothering the users with silly implementation details.

      • There are FEW minor issues on what you where thinking, comparing itanium to X86:
        Itanium 6 integer units shortpipeline, 3 branchunits, multiple FMAC, smaller CORE size than netburst on equal process. Yes, on same process itanium2 core is smaller than netburst. Biggest block after bus interface and L3 cache on itanium2 are block called IA32 and FP-units. Itanium brings huge execution resources with low die area costs, and then puts huge caches that have redundancy so that MFG costs wouldn't be much worse than
    • by roca (43122) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:46AM (#10341131) Homepage
      x64's 64-bit mode fixes quite a few of the problems of x86 as well as giving you 64-bit support. For example, a number of useless old instructions are no longer supported (they still work in x86 mode of course). It increases the number of general purpose registers from 8 to 16. Using SSE2 to do floating point, you get a reasonable floating-point instruction set with 16 registers. If you squint a bit it looks like a decent instruction set which just happens to have a weird instruction encoding.

      Yes, the decode stages are a pain (though trace cache helps), but in return you get significantly higher instruction density than competing RISC chips which helps with your instruction cache.

      OTOH the IA-64 architecture was designed around unfounded implementation assumptions like "we won't be doing out-of-order execution". Sorry, WRONG. Sometimes polishing up old junk gives better results than designing completely new and differently broken junk.
  • Intel outsider (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:09AM (#10340682) Homepage Journal
    Has AMD finally proven that the x86 "standard" can produce truly 100% compatible CPUs, without Intel IP, after decades of doges and ruses, including MMX?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:09AM (#10340685)
    Amazing, isn't it, that a Honda Civic would outsell such a high end car?!?!!! It just boggles the mind.

    The Opteron isn't in the same league as the Itanium, no matter how much AMDroids wish it were. AMD needs to be comparing Opteron/AMD64 sales to Xeon/Pentium4 sales. Itanium is a very high end processor and it's one of the best you can buy for certain high-end applications.

    Not to say Intel didn't make a mistake in trying to push Itanium too early as a general purpose CPU - it's clearly not.
  • TFA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperQ (431) * on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:15AM (#10340742) Homepage
    Is it just me, or does the article gloss over the fact that "EM64T" is actual a clone of the AMD64 architecture? Are intel's market-droids trying to brainwash people, or are people really that clueless to the fact that INTEL IS MAKIGN A CLONE OF AN AMD CHIP?

    Give credit where credit is due.. EM64T is clone crap, and is signifigantly slower than the AMD chips.
    • Re:TFA? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:50AM (#10341202)
      It's not a clone, at lest it's not reverse engineered. Intel has the rights to AMD64 a.k.a. x86-64, because of the old co-manufacturing agreement in the 386 days. The internals will be different, but it has the rights to that ISA and other goodies.

      From What I Remember:
      Intel had difficulties in spitting out enough 386 chips, so they drew up an agreement to co-fab the 386. By the time the 486 came out, Intel figured it could spit out enough 486es themselves. They tried the initial brand differentiation, calling it the i486, and tried to trademark the 'i'. Judge said "you gotta bekidding me, trademark a letter? If I do that, then I only need 25 other ocmpanies to trademark the english language". As an aside, he wasn't that far off, both Zilog and Datsun tried to trademark the letter Z. Anyways, they couldn't, so for the next generation, out comes a made-up trademarkable name, Pentium.
  • by ltwally (313043) on Friday September 24, 2004 @11:34AM (#10340937) Homepage Journal
    Just one little note that the author of this article fails to mention:

    The Itanium is a high-end workstation/server chip. ONLY. -- While the AMD64 architecture is AMD's entire product line right now. It's their desktop chip; it's their workstation chip; it's their server chip; hell, it's even their notebook/laptop chip.

    Whoever submitted this article seems to think that every AMD64 sold is going to be going into the high-end server market. Either that, or he thinks that home users are buying Itaniums. Funny... I don't seem to recall ever seeing a laptop with an Itanium in it.

    A more honest comparison would be the 800 series Opterons vs. Itaniums, the 200 series Opterons vs. Xeons, and Athlon64's vs. Pentium 4's.

    • by Minna Kirai (624281) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:13PM (#10341545)
      The Itanium is a high-end workstation/server chip. ONLY.

      Not anymore it's not. Delete "workstation" from that sentence.

      Whoever submitted this article seems to think that every AMD64 sold is going to be going into the high-end server market.

      No, he just thinks that disparate total sales actually mean something. The AMD64 is good for workstations, servers, laptops, email, and videogames. Itanium is now server-only. The fact that AMD64 has so many consumer sales actually makes it more attractive for high end use, because the volume drives the per-chip cost way down, and boosts R&D reinvestment.

    • The Itanium is a high-end workstation/server chip. ONLY.

      If you read older articles from the times when Itanium was still Merced, Intel pretended they wanted to replace the old x86 line with the new IA-64 processors in the long term. The big irons (and workstations) have been only the first step in this plan.

      Would be interesting to know, if Intel still hopes to see this coming true some day, or if they have already buried those hopes completely.
    • by roca (43122)
      AMD64 and Opteron are nearly the same chip and run the same software. AMD gets to share design and manufacturing costs between them. So shipping 10x-100x more AMD64 chips than IA-64 chips means that AMD's costs will be much lower per chip and the chips will be much cheaper. So it really does make sense to compare the volumes of AMD64 vs IA-64.
  • by tji (74570) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:10PM (#10341494)
    Around here, you used to find all kinds of people complaining about the old kludgy x86 architecture and how the backwards compatibility placed terrible limitations on the CPUs and on software that runs on it.

    Now, everyone jumped on the bandwagon spouting "what were they thinking? Trying to define a new architecture.. dumb asses!"

    So, which is it?? I learned architecture and assembly on a Motorola 68k processor. So, the x86 stuff has always seemed kludgy to me. Have the problems been overcome, or do people just not care anymore?
    • "what were they thinking? Trying to define a new architecture.. dumb asses!"

      No, it's "Oh my god, this thing makes CISC look simple, it makes the x86 look streamlined, and hasn't Intel tried the 'lets make the compiler scream in agony' thing a couple of times already?".

      There's also a lot of x86-emulation support, including a whole bunch of special-purpose registers, but hopefully they'll be able to drop that in future versions.

      This time compiler technology may be up to the job of generating good code fo
  • by Nelson (1275) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:12PM (#10341527)
    I'm not sure how many itaniums have shipped. According the theregister.co.uk, there have been quarters where Dell and IBM shipped 2 and 3 digit quantities of Itanium and Itanium 2 systems. This kind of talks about it. [theregister.co.uk]


    Now I was bidding on a dual itanium on ebay a while back, it seemed like a cool piece of exotic hardware with decent performance (my alpha is nearing EOL..;) 40GB of SCSI drive, 2 800Mhz IA64s, 2GB of RAM. I bailed at $800 and it went for $975; original price of the hardware was $12k to $14k. The alarming thing was when I was searching IBM's site for information, it was practically non-existant. I asked some employees to look around inside, it's a real machine the specs are correct, no info because they literally sold under 500 of them.


    There used to be all sorts of Linux on IA64 sites, they've been drying up. People are still doing stuff but it looks like some well backed projects have just dried up. Like the trillian project. Also, it doesn't seem like anybody is making an IA64 linux distribution anymore, there are some projects but all the big boys look like they have one they made back a couple years and never sold it and never updated it, SuSE has an 8. Redhat has a 7 (?!? RH 7? How old is that? Is that even a 21st century release?) and it looks like a RHEL 2.1 which is more reasonable, Mandrake has never been terribly strong off of IA32 but they have an 8.1 which is ancient and, Debian and Gentoo look like that have projects but they are kind of fossilized. I imagine that once the installer is done for most distros, it's mostly just a job of recompiling packages and then some kind of QA effort or a "beta" labeling goes on everything, not to make it sound easy or anything but once it's built it shouldn't require a huge team to maintain. Maybe Intel would kick in a few dollars too, they need Linux for IA64 internally and if they really want to sell the hardware they need some OS for it.


    So Intel has pumped a trmendous amount of money in to IA64, a huge amount of time and they have all but decaired it their future architecture so presumably that leaves them at a bit of a disadvantage should they abandon it. SGI has bet on it. HP has bet on it. It's really down to POWER/PowerPC, x86 and x86-64, and then sort of Sparc. Does Intel keep kicking this dead horse? When does it turn the corner? and how? The next gen chips are all supposed to be socket compatible between the EM64 and IA64, if Intel starts shipping $400 Itaniums then maybe it will start to get some traction but why would you buy one when you can buy an em64 that will run Windows and tons of other software? I don't see how they back out, and I don't see how they can make it win, it looks like AMD has forced their hand and what that really does is make IBM the only contender in enterprise 64bit heavy duty computing right now.

  • by bstadil (7110) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:26PM (#10341755) Homepage
    Looks like IDC need to revise down [theregister.co.uk] their "forecast" again.

    Being that wrong takes talent. Pulling something out of your ass qualifies as precision work compared to this.

  • Ouch! (Score:3, Funny)

    by David Leppik (158017) on Friday September 24, 2004 @01:22PM (#10342525) Homepage
    HP, has terminated its Itanium workstations.


    Wow. I didn't even know they included self-destruct hardware!

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