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Intel and HP Commit $10 billion to Boost Itanium

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the throwing-money-at-it dept.

HP 272

YesSir writes "Support for the high-end processor that has had difficulties catching on is coming in from its co-developers Intel and HP. 'The 10 billion investment is a statement that we want to accelerate as a unified body' said Tom Kilroy, general manager of Intel’s digital enterprise group."

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Last Gasp for Big Iron? (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576384)

Last Gasp for Big Iron?
So as I'm reading this there's a big plug for AMD Opteron just below the article. This would appear to me to be the threat to the Itanium, the same which effectively has killed big iron -- inexpensive commodity hardware. Sink a few thousand into Opteron systems and run what you already have, or sink far larger amounts into some gobble-de-gook system which won't run, except under software emulation, what your multiprocessor system does. Sorry HP/Intel and everyone else dumping money down this rabbit hole, I think you've lost the plot. Today's super computers are parallel computing down with 64bit Gen x86 processors, like the AMD Opteron. The glue is in the software, not in big fat chunks of expensive silicon.

if still not convinced, i might have a few meg of core to sell you

Re:Last Gasp for Big Iron? (3, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576424)

In the words of The Gambler. "You gotta know when to fold em."

Re:Last Gasp for Big Iron? (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576448)

In the words of The Gambler. "You gotta know when to fold em."

It smacks of prior business arrangement HP, et al, agreed to back in days of yor, while Itanium was supposed to be "the next big thing", when Intel was telling everyone they wouldn't need the 64 bit CPU's AMD was gearing up to peddle. Intel's calling in all those promisory notes after making compilers and stuff available for so long. Having their druthers, I think everyone else would rather not.

Re:Last Gasp for Big Iron? (3, Funny)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576455)

This aint time for Intel to fold em.

This aint time for Intel to walk away.

This is time for Intel to RUN RUN RUN!!!

This is NOT it's last gasp. (4, Funny)

Chas (5144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576465)

This is more along the lines of post-mortem muscle contractions.

I'm sure that SOMEONE out there is willing to pour money down the toilet for this platform. And they'll make HP/Intel very very happy.

Then again, there's people who're into snorting drain cleaner too...

Re:This is NOT it's last gasp. (3, Funny)

Cloud 9 (42467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576893)

Then again, there's people who're into snorting drain cleaner too...

Please.

Fortune 500 companies mainline.

Re:Last Gasp for Big Iron? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576496)

I would have to agree with this, HP is now to tied into the chip to pull out. I think if they had the choice they would drop it but there have put so much money in and now they are going to dump more money into a CPU that is really quite far away from been what Intel said it would be.

What Intel and HP need to do is admit that the chip is a waste and just let it die, like dumpy the waste man from Drawn Togehter you can hear the Itanium say "KILL ME"

Re:Last Gasp for Big Iron? (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576579)

Last Gasp for Big Iron?
No, they must be planning to force it into the mainstream. They'd never recoup $10e9 just selling big-iron processors. Maybe they think a smaller manufacturing process will finally make Itanium affordable, or that more investment in compilers will make it work better.

Re:Last Gasp for Big Iron? (1, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576752)

Last Gasp for Big Iron? [...]
Today's super computers are parallel computing down with 64bit Gen x86 processors, like the AMD Opteron.

Clusters are only really good for embarassingly parallel problems. The interconnects just can't be as fast as a local bus.

How's this for an alternative: "Commodity Big Iron"?

Why can't a supercomputer be based largely on off-the-shelf CPUs, RAM, Drives, etc.? I know important pieces are missing, but it should be possible to open this stuff up, and have it become a commodity.

Re:Last Gasp for Big Iron? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576864)

Itaniums big benefit is it's floating point performance. This makes it's target audience the financial and scientific communities. Most of the types of applications which are worth throwing itanic amounts of money at (data analysis, decision making, forcasting, monte carlo simulations, etc) tend to work well in parralelized computing platforms such as grids and clusters. It's going to be much cheaper in terms of hardware, cooling and power to set up a grid rather than some phantom mega cpu itanium machine.

I think Sun actually got it right this time with their chip multi threading approach. The US T1 is great for applications that run multithreaded such as DB's, webservers, java app servers, etc. Floating point operations aren't great since there's only one floating point unit between the 8 cores. Rock is coming out soon and will have 8 fpu's and better i/o proccessing. If Rock is as energy efficient as the T1 itanium is toast. A cluster of opterons will even do a better job than itanium much cheaper and you'll have a wider variet of applications to run on them.

Alpha (4, Funny)

linguae (763922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576387)

Too bad HP won't spend $$$ to bring back the Alpha.

I miss architecture diversity....

Re:Alpha (4, Interesting)

MADCOWbeserk (515545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576497)

Couldn't agree more. Alpha was a great platform leaps and bounds above any of it's contemporaries in terms of speed. They were running at 125mhz when pentium 66mhz came out and got more done per cycle. The Compaq DEC merger hurt it badly, then the HP Compaq merger killed it. Itanic has always been a ponderous mess. Had Alpha gotten one tenth the R/D budget that Itanium got it would be server king.. Itanium (please don't try to prove me wrong with benchmarks) gets wiped by Power and Sparc, will die a lame duck kicking and screaming death.

Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?

Re:Alpha (3, Funny)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576670)

I also agree. I love my DEC Multia -- it does a great job of heating my room.

More seriously, though... The Alpha was kicking ass and taking names back in the day. 64-bit and ran at 200 MHz when the Pentium was barely able to fart out 66 MHz.

The funny thing is that most places just don't run Itanium chips - they use Xenon chips instead.

Re:Alpha (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576707)

Too bad HP won't spend $$$ to bring back the Alpha.

I miss architecture diversity....

It seems to me, just about all the huge advantages that alternative architectures (like the Alpha) held over x86, have been washed away in the past few years.

64-bit memory space. Insanely large cache. Very low-latency access to RAM. Incredible memory throughput. PCI-X/PCI Express slots on cheap motherboards. Seriously high-end graphics. DMA. SMP. Built-in 1000Mbps NICs. RAID. etc.

What advantages could something like Alpha have over x86 now? A few years ago, I was anxious to jump ship to another platform, but with the introduction of the Opteron and kin, I'd say I'm quite happy with x86 now.

The only feature I really want now is a new way to handle interrupts... Then simple things like copying CDs, or a little network traffic won't bring PCs to a crawl. Perhaps add a socket for an FPGA or other simple processor to specifically handle those tasks, like the math coprocessors of the old days.

Re:Alpha (4, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576740)

Well...my work (scientific computing) put a premium on sheer scalar speed, and for that the RISC architecture was great and the x86 CISC paradigm a drag. Once you learned how to write code in a certain way, DEC's compilers could make amazingly fast code out of it for the Alpha.

In case you're wondering, no, parallel computing was never a good option. There's a large class of scientific problems that just don't work very well in parallel, because of large-wavelength correlations that make it painful in the extreme to write a parallel algorithm, if you can do it all.

Re:Alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576804)

I'm curious, which classes of scientific problems require a lot of scalar horsepower and don't scale with additional processors? I'm not doubting you, I'm genuinely curious because it's outside my experience -- molecular modeling and quantum chemistry problems appear to scale very well.

Re:Alpha (2, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576829)

MD or MC simulation for systems with long relaxation times. My particular target was solution macromolecular conformational relaxations, e.g. polymer backbone twists and turns.

See, with that big polymer backbone you can't break the system up into cells or anything, and you can't divide up the problem in the time domain, because of course what happens at t+dt depends very much on what's happened at t. So you're stuck, you've just got to do the simulation in a single thread.

You can use multiple processors to better your statistics. That's just running the simulation over and over again from similar initial conditions, and since every simulation is fully indepedent you can just run them on multiple machines or whatever -- there's no advantage to any finer-grained parallelism. This is nothing to sneeze at, but it's still mostly just making nice smooth graphs for the publication.

The kinds of stuff I was trying to do involved up to multiple millions of timesteps, to the point where I started to worry (in the MC case) about the random-number generator, ha ha.

Re:Alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576799)

There are plenty of reasons to prefer a true RISC or EPIC core to an x86(CISC) core. Continually the most important of these is in the processor itself. Right now the Pentium 4s and Athlons invest a huge number of transistors to coming up with useful microcode (RISC instructions) to be executed in their pipelines. RISC and EPIC both eliminate this piece of real estate. The removal of such transistors allows for one of several options:
1) decreased die size
2) increased cache
3) increased functional clock speed
4) improved look-ahead projections
5) lower power consumption
6) better heat dissipation
7) shorter functional pipelines
8) other things I'm not immediately recalling

Many of these are not mutually exclusive, and many of them require their own full explaination as to why they are included on that list (e.g. shorter functional pipelines), but all of them would be an improvement.

Also with a move to full RISC this multi-core/multi-thread chaos becomes a lot easier to deal with because the microcode generator doesn't get in your way.

Of course these are the same advantages one gets with an ARM core (RISC), and explains why all our phones basically have an ARM core.

Re:Alpha (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576713)

I miss architecture diversity....

Come to the other end of the spectrum, we've still got ARM.

hear hear (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576722)

Man, that was a sweet processor. I recall comparing my spanking new DEC Alphastation to the Cray down at San Diego Supercomputing Center in 1995, and there was just about no difference. That machine flew.

Funny thing how Digital's hardware dominance seemed to just dry up and blow away, tho'. I seem to recall in the 80s and 90s it was the place to be if you were a hot and ambitious hardware hacker. Wonder what happened?

Re:Alpha (1)

cciRRus (889392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576808)

Too bad HP won't spend $$$ to bring back the Alpha.
Does that mean that HP is now concentrating on Beta instead?

tisk tisk (5, Insightful)

sardonic2 (576701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576393)

seems just a bit too late. they should donate to help feed some starving children not starving platforms.

Re:tisk tisk (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576467)

I'm sure the shareholders would love that!

Tsk Tsk Tsk.. (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576605)

seems just a bit too late. they should donate to help feed some starving children not starving platforms.

How do you know they aren't planning this as some method of helping bring an end to wars? If they get the pentagon buying Itanium equipped missiles, just think what they could do!

AFGHANISTAN - YBN Today it was confirmed that Osama Bin-laden was killed as a Cruise Missile, manufactured by Strongbad Industries asploded near his hideout. The Cruise Missile was equipped with an HP computer guidance system which employed an Intel Itanium processor. The missile missed the target, but Mr. Bin-laden was struck in the head by the processor's heatsink and died later from the injury.

Re:Tsk Tsk Tsk.. (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576859)

> The missile missed the target, but Mr. Bin-laden was struck in the
> head by the processor's heatsink and died later from the injury.

Wetting your pants on that one is such a fine way to start the day...

Re:tisk tisk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576680)

I can save them $9B. Instead of spending $10B (more) on Itanium give me $1B. They will get exactly as much out of this billion as the $10B they are planning to waste.

The stockholders will be happy to save all that dough, the future of Itanium will be unchanged, and I'll be very happy indeed!

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576394)

Am I the only one who doesn't see the point in this?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576423)

No, you're definantly not the only one. What is the value of a 64 bit single core, non 32bit backwards compatible procesor that generatates more heat per mip than a jet engine? I know Intel bet the bank on this architecture but good god, it's dead Jim.

Re:Why? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576528)

Indeed. You think they'd be smart enough to spend that $10B on R&D and marketing for their desktop chips, and just give the thing up with servers. I'm sure with that chunk of funding arriving overnight, they could whip together an 8-core desktop/laptop monstrosity by Q3'06. And as nice as my X2 is, I'd convert for some eight-way lovin' (oh, that's just so wrong).

Or just give everyone in the US $40. Even if they make everyone promise they won't use it towards their new AMD system.

Re:Why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576884)

"non 32bit backwards "
Huh?, IA64 is a new architecture.
It is good that the x86 hardware unit is out of the die now.
It has hampered the design and speed of the CPU.

It's interesting to note that AMD will be close by (3, Interesting)

Nihilist Hippie (905325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576409)

Disclaimer: I'm not hyping Northern Colorado as being "the next Silicon Valley". Intel is taking over the old Celestica plant next to the HP campus in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and AMD is looking to open up about 200 jobs in the same area (being Ft. Collins). Interesting move... http://circuitsassembly.com/cms/content/view/2709/ 94/ [circuitsassembly.com]

Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (2, Interesting)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576414)

Itanium has been taking share from both IBM power and Sun Sparc.

True but can they compete with the UltraSparc T1 [sun.com] (which has 32 threads compared to Intel Itanium's 2 threads)?

Re:Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (2, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576477)

but can they compete
Of course they can.

Dual Core = 4 threads
Hyperthreading = 8 threads
Quad Processors = 32 threads

Ta Da!

Re:Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576533)

Last time I checked hyperthreading wasn't enabled on the Intel dual core chips. Even if it is enabled on the latest Intel chip, that is only 4 threads total. That's nowhere near the 32 threads in the UltraSparc T1. Sun's next generation is Rock which will have 64 threads in a single chip! By the time Intel gets to 8 threads per chip, Sun will be at 64.

Re:Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576502)

Itanium is so low volume, how could it possibly put a dent in SPARC and POWER? When a person looks for a new computer to buy, Opteron is on the short list, followed by PPC and SPARC. Itanium? Okay, for physicists, perhaps.

The UltraSPARC T1, if Sun can market it well, is the ultimate webserver, database server, and J2EE CPU. I'm extremely interested to see how many T1 servers Sun sells.

Re:Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (1)

jayslambast (519228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576745)

Well, maybe to answer your question: If you have a heavy cart to need to be moved do you?: A) Use a hurd of chickens to pull it (Sun T1) B) Use a couple of oxen (Itanium) I'm thinking B, but those chicken are 'eco friendly' so maybe some greenpeace people will help pull the cart with them.

Re:Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576840)

While a T1 thread is a little slower than an Itanium thread, I would hardly say that it's a chicken compared to an ox. But to go with this, the T1 runs at 1 Ghz while the latest Intel chips run between 3 and 4 gHz. I know you cannot extrapolate performance directly from frequency, but it does give some idea of how fast these threads run. So, say your Intel chip is about 4 times faster. Since there are only two threads running, your performance is 2 X 4 = 8 generic performance units. For the UltraSparc, you've got 32 threads running at 1 generic performance units. That means 32 generic performance units. So, you get WAY more throughput and use less power as you've pointed out. Now, some people have argued that it's better to have a single (or a few) blazing fast cores. Sun has taken the view that it's better to have a LOT of somewhat fast cores. Since these high-end chips are mostly used for servers that handle many many users, it's clearly better to have many somewhat fast cores that use less power and on a performance basis are MUCH cheaper.

Re:Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (2, Informative)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576790)

Itanium has been taking market share from Power????

"Sales of IBM's Unix systems, called the pSeries, grew 15% in the first quarter and 36% in the second quarter--far outpacing Sun and HP. The trend should continue in the fourth quarter--historically, industrywide Unix sales have spiked 25% during this period--and into 2006, when IBM introduces a new high-end chip called Power5+."

Re:Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576855)

The T1 has terrible FP performance and middling integer performance. It's basically an I/O processor. If that's what you need, then you don't want an Itanium 2. If that isn't what you need, you don't want a T1. Can you imagine doing CFD computations on the T1? Hah. That would be something.

Re:Itanium vs. Ultrasparc T1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576890)

Does anyone out there actually know how the latest power 5 chips compare to itanic/T1/opteron? I understand the price of > 4 processor systems becomes more competitive.

They can't not do this (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576420)

I saw a documentary on TV a while ago about the impact that Moore's Law has had on the world economy.

Essentially it stated that:

. The big economic powerhouses of the world are based largely on IT
. A key driver for the developemnt of IT is the continual improvement in computer power (and corresponding drop in price)
. When Moore's Law hits the basic physics of silicon, and they can't make any more faster chips, then this economic driver stops

If Intel and so on don't keep on pushing Itamiums then unless AMD can keep ahead we are all in trouble

Re:They can't not do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576856)

Not really, once silicon has reached its limits they will find something new to make chips out of. To say that is like whoever it was in the early 1900's who suggested closing the Patent office because "everything that could possibly be invented already has been." Go figure.

Didnt I read in wired a couple years back about artificial diamonds and how they could replace silicon in chips?

Re:They can't not do this (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576881)

If you believe Moore's Law is the end of computing performance increases, yes this would pose a problem. Although, according to the roadmaps for the major chip manufacturers it's not going to happen for more than 10 years. But since Silicon is not the first substrate that we've continously increased computing performance with, I don't think it will be the last. Before we were improving performance with Silicon, we were using Vaccuum tubes. Before that, relays. If we use very conservative estimates for the power of Carbon Nanotubes, which are being researched extensively at many universities, we can extend the improvements in computing power out until 2060. I haven't even mentioned quantum computing.

Here is the problem (4, Insightful)

IntelliAdmin (941633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576425)

The chip was made to compete with "Big Iron" servers - the only problem is that it is marketed to the windows consumer market, and that is who looks at it when making purchasing decisions. AMD has really started to eat up this space, and if Intel does not start to turn this boat around fast they could really get hurt when 64bit CPUs are commonplace.

Re:Here is the problem (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576812)

The marketing certainly has been a problem. I attended this Itanium press event, and correcting the marketing is certainly high on the agenda for the Itanium Solutions Alliance.

What they want you to know now is that Itanium is not, repeat not a competitor for Xeon, Opteron, or the x86 architecture. Itanium's market is in high-end "mission critical computing" and as a replacement for RISC chips (meaning Power and Sparc).

Where once they pushed the 64-bitness of the chip, the x64 extensions have muddied the waters somewhat, so they're not really talking about that anymore. What they are selling are the high-availability features that make Itanium competitive with the aforementioned RISC chips.

The advantage they are touting vs. the competition is openness. If you want a Sparc system you have to go to Sun, and you have to choose from the Sparc systems that Sun offers and the support packages that Sun offers (or maybe Fujitsu, just to blur the point a little bit). With Itanium you have several suppliers -- including Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, SGI, Unisys, and the other companies in the Itanium Solutions Alliance. Each of those is free to provide its own support packages and terms of service. You also have a few choices of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and HP/UX, while the only OS that currently runs on Sparc is Solaris.

Believe it or not, it's actually not that bad of a product story. Sooner or later, everybody who's on RISC chips right now is going to want to upgrade their hardware. If they're dead set against the x86 platform then they have three options. One option is to buy the latest version of whatever they're already using. A second option is to jump ship -- Sparc to Power or vice versa. Itanium gives them a third option, with the backing of Intel and a bunch of other prominent hardware vendors.

And then there's always the other, more established Itanium market: running great big SQL Server databases. Believe it or not, there's a fair amount of people who want to do that.

Short Intel now (4, Insightful)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576426)

>"Itanium has been taking share from both IBM power and Sun Sparc."

Uhh, it could hardly lose share could it? If it lost any share the product wouldn't exist. What, did they double their share from 1 to 2 users?

Ten billion is an awful lot to throw away on this loser chip.

I mean, few people actually WANT to run a different chip (and thus a different OS and versions of apps) in their data centre, compared to their desktops. They used to do it, because it was necessary. Now it isn't necessary, so people don't want to do it. Intel's only hope is to try and get people to use it EVERYWHERE, on their desktops too. But there aint no hope of that either.

The point is? (3, Insightful)

Sensi (64510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576427)

What's the point of running "Big Iron" and/or Itanium if we have to deal with hacks/patches and headaches to run real world production applications like SharePoint, SQL and other Office collaboration suites?

Itanium == Xbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576428)

The similarity of the two marketplace failures is amazing.

AMD64 (1)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576434)

Are there any advantages to using the Itanium over an Opteron or Athlon 64?

Re:AMD64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576495)

if you want perfromance you get to trow your legacy code away, a great oportunety to sack all those loyal hard working middel aged expensive programers who held your busines afloat for all those years.

think of the savings!

Re:AMD64 (1)

linguae (763922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576522)

Well, you won't have to worry about being cold in the winter....

Re:AMD64 (1)

corngrower (738661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576594)

For certain few people, yes. It's faster, but considerably more costly (at present). It's great for people doing advanced research on compiler technology.

Re:AMD64 (2, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576820)

Well, that really depends on your perspective. It's great for people interested in doing advanced research on compiler technology, that runs our existing crappy C programs at the same speed on an architecture that makes life harder on the compiler. It sucks for people who are interested in doing research on compiler technology to make higher-level languages more competitive with low level ones.

I don't see the point of writing a super-compiler that can schedule C code at compile time, when processors can do that just fine at runtime. I think its far more interesting to focus on writing super-compilers that can make high-level languages perform better.

Re:AMD64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576622)

Short answer: no. Long answer: uh, no.

Re:AMD64 (4, Informative)

demachina (71715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576663)

Its pretty good for vectorizable Fortran codes like those typically run on supercomputers, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, crash codes, and 3D molecular modeling. These kinds of codes can be scheduled by compilers to take full advantage of the instruction parallelism in Itanic's EPIC instruction set. Itanic is a dog on most of the C and C++ codes most of the rest of the world uses on their computers because compilers have a pretty hard time scheduling four instructions in parallel at compile time on C and C++ codes.

There is a market for Itanic in some traditional supercomputing applications but it is a relatively small market and never been a big growth market. I really doubt Intel and HP will ever recover the billions they've already sunk in to Itanic, let alone another $10 billion.

I imagine the people at AMD are dancing in the streets at this news because Intel and HP are going to keep throwing even more good money after bad trying to salvage this dog. Its money that they wont be investing in R&D in markets that really matter.

AMD can continue their push to dominate servers, workstations and desktops. If they could crack laptops, phones and embedded apps Intel would be in serious trouble.

Re:AMD64 (1)

wakim1618 (579135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576751)

Previous costs are SUNK costs. The correct line of thinking would be asking something like whether $10B can result in an increase of $10B in revenue over that period - then do the adjustments for interest costs and opportunity costs.

Re:AMD64 (4, Informative)

jayslambast (519228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576689)

Well, not in a small processor system, but once you start building larger and larger systems, Itanium (or Power5+) have the extra 'features' for error handling and reporting that an x86 don't have. Xeon and Opteron have the error handling of a fleet of 1950's cars. Sure they have alot of horsepower, but when they break down it stops running. You might have to drive the car a couple of more times to determine whether the car needs to be replaced. In a large computer system, this increases the down up time of a system. Itanium is like a BMW X3. Sure its a gas hog, and maybe a little less horsepower, but when it breaks down, you have tons of status lights to tell you what's wrong, and which processor is broken and whether the part is still good (a cache single bit correctable error) or needs to be replaced (mbe error on the fsb.) In large system, you can determine the source of the problem, whether it was an ignorable or replacible the processor error or a chipset problem.
If any of you have ever put together a computer that has a bad part, its sometimes really hard to figure out what caused the problem. Systems that Itaniums usually go in have the error detection and error logging to exactly pinpoint where problems lie. This is the reason oracle DBs use these type of processors. It doesn't make sense for the common user to use Itanium, but companies like Amazon and Visa want these systems more for the reliability features than the speed.

Re:AMD64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576777)

You're about as likely to get an unbiased answer here to that question as you would be if you were to ask "What's better, Linux or Windows?"

Re:AMD64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576819)

performance

10 billion??? (-1, Flamebait)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576435)


Is that the number of oversees programmers hired to fix the cpu's microcode??

For retirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576800)

No, no, no. It is, of course, retirement money for the original designers and even bigger money, or golden rain as I prefer to see it, for the big-honchos who financed it. They must be acknowledged for the untrodden highway they made.

When the golden rain stops pouring over the decision makers, they might use the remainder to hire new designers.

This all according to my own belief and superstition.

Jokes aside, of course there will be overseas prgrammers! Even the CPU flagship Alpha was to a large extent made overseas; in Barcelona for that matters. No, don't be fooled by Fawlty Towers. Que?

Even Rolls Royce are made overseas nowadays! Goddammit.

Stock Tip: Short INTC and HPQ now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576438)

This appears to be an utter waste of capital (to the tune of $10 Billion) in a feeble attempt to rescue something from nothing. Yes, the Itanium costs are sunk costs, but there's absolutely no way that any of the companies involved will see any resonable ROI on this route.

Itanium missed its window of opportunity--it's time to move on.

Intel just removed 32bit hardware support (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576454)

http://www.digit-life.com/archive.shtml?2006/0125 [digit-life.com]
an Intel spokesperson confirmed that the Montecito platform, which will premiere the company's next-generation 64-bit Itanium architecture, will dispense with executing all 32-bit instruction set applications on-die, prompting customers to opt instead for software-based emulation which Intel promises will be faster anyway.
The rest of the article is quite interesting. They claim that 32bit software emulation will outperform by "[greater than a factor of three]" their old hardware implementation.

Anyone want to tie this into their $10 billion push?

Re:Intel just removed 32bit hardware support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576853)

No. That has already been developed since 2001.

Ah, capitalism. (1)

Paperweight (865007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576472)

Competition In Action!

"This is a $140 billion opportunity on hardware. It's dwarfed by the opportunity in software and services on top of that," Kilroy said. "There's a reason there's $10 billion of investment in play."

And 1400% profit, too! Nice.

Re:Ah, capitalism. (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576762)

This is a $140 billion opportunity on hardware.

Is there really a $140 billion dollar opportunity here? Does Itanium really offer something so superior to other available platforms that its creators are justified in believing they can acquire a large fraction of the market?

Itanium, a high-end processor, was once expected to sweep the server world. But because of delays, initial performance issues and software incompatibilities...

No mention of cost. Itanium is expensive. This fact obviates most of the server market that is well served by cheaper platforms. Why pay a premium for performance you don't need? Dollar for dollar, Itanium is slow. Until that problem is fixed they are throwing good money after bad. The market that was once willing to fund large margins for business hardware is gone.

In business computing performance is fungible. Today, I can adequately run most business software on Intel x86, Itanium, SPARC, PA-RISC, Opteron and POWER. It's understood my servers must be production grade equipment. Once that is assured the remaining question is simple; who provides the most performance per dollar? Itanium, as far as I can tell, has never even attempted to compete in that space.

There certainly are customers that need as much performance as possible from every core, damn the cost. This, however, is merely a niche. For typical business applications cost is an imperative with every purchase. Until Itanium is cost effective relative to the competition it will remain in a niche. A small, dwindling niche.

BTW, I think Sun may have a winner on its hands with the UltraSPARC T1. 8 cores with 8GiB of RAM in 2U for $13k. That could handle a lot of SIP streams with Asterisk. Anyone tried this?

Re:Ah, capitalism. (2, Interesting)

Gwala (309968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576894)

Is there really a $140 billion dollar opportunity here? Does Itanium really offer something so superior to other available platforms that its creators are justified in believing they can acquire a large fraction of the market?

Yes. Absolutely killer parallel performance.

For certain tasks (such as matrice operations), it can do one operation, simultaneously on 100 registers (the Itanium has around 300 registers), it's pretty specialised, but for certain tasks, it can be a speed demon.

A lot of the performance griping was caused by either, the 32-bit X86 emulation, which was always ridiculously slow, or, using it as a general purpose processor, not the specialised one it is.

I always thought of it as a niche architecture however, I'm not quite sure why Intel's throwing so much money at it.

/CUM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576474)

contri3uted code [goat.cx]

Bring out yer dead. (0, Offtopic)

stox (131684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576476)

Large Man with Dead Body: Here's one.
The Dead Collector: That'll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I don't want to go on the cart.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, don't be such a baby.
The Dead Collector: I can't take him.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel fine.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, do me a favor.
The Dead Collector: I can't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
The Dead Collector: I promised I'd be at the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, when's your next round?
The Dead Collector: Thursday.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I think I'll go for a walk.
Large Man with Dead Body: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Isn't there anything you could do?
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel happy. I feel happy.
[the Dead Collector glances up and down the street furtively, then silences the Body with his a whack of his club]
Large Man with Dead Body: Ah, thank you very much.
The Dead Collector: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
Large Man with Dead Body: Right.

Let me get this straight (4, Insightful)

dgrgich (179442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576478)

Intel and HP spend untold sums of cash developing and rolling out a chip that comparatively few use. Thus, the market has effectively told them that there is not a large need for this behemoth. So how do they respond? A pledge to spend $10 billion more? How does this make sense again?

I bet IBM shareholders love the decision % (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576546)

. ..

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576576)

Intel and HP spend untold sums of cash developing and rolling out a chip that comparatively few use. Thus, the market has effectively told them that there is not a large need for this behemoth. So how do they respond? A pledge to spend $10 billion more? How does this make sense again?

Poor wage-slave peons like me call this "throwing good money after bad", but in business it's "an investment."

perhaps if we glue enough feathers to this boat anchor it will fly!

What are they thinking? (0, Troll)

Slimy Devil (856530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576480)

Itanic is dead. RIP. Game over. Hasta La Vista (no pun intended).

Game, set, match. Etc., etc., etc...

what the f@#%& (1)

NoGuffCheck (746638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576492)

Seems to me that HP are better off keeping their piece of the $10 billion. You gotta spend money to make money but I fear this isnt the best way to improve their bottom line in the short term. Which is exactly what needs to be done since Carly got the shaft. I think they're taking their eye of the prize.

In a (hazel)nutshell (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576588)

Seems to me that HP are better off keeping their piece of the $10 billion. You gotta spend money to make money but I fear this isnt the best way to improve their bottom line in the short term. [...]

You also have to spend money to lose money. The trick is getting something to come back. HP are already doing things with AMD processors so you gotta figure there's some real head-scratching going on among the workforce at HP.

Throwing good money after bad... (1)

DoctorSVD (884269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576517)

The Itanium admittedly has great FP performance _per clock cycle_, but that's about the only nice thing anyone can say. $10bn?!? Talk about throwing good money after bad!

Apple (2, Interesting)

apt_user (812814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576520)

Has anyone wondered what relationship Apple may now have with the Itanium? I understand they're liscensing some nice semiconductor IP from the now-defunct PowerPC G6 to Intel for future designs? Could this relationship be the breath of fresh air that the Itanic needs to float?

"The history of science is cluttered with the relics of conceptual schemes that were once fervently believed and that have since been replaced by incompatible theories." -Thomas S. Kuhn

Re:Apple (2, Informative)

be-fan (61476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576809)

The G6 would've been a POWER5 derivative. The POWER5 is a massively out-of-order RISC. Itanium is an in-order VLIW. They share nothing in common. The IP would've been useless.

An open letter to Intel and HP's board (0, Redundant)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576523)

Tell you what.
You give me a billion dollars and I'll kick each of you as hard as I can in the balls.
Ten times.
I'm pretty sure that in 5 years each and every one of you will look back and wish you had taken my option.

I'm trying not to be a jerk about this, but the person who posted the "bring out your dead" monty python skit hit the nail right on the head.

who wants a WinCPU? (1)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576545)

so what's the point? Lack of 32-bit support nearly killed it out of the gate. Then they added software 32-bit emulation that sucked, and no one wanted it. Then they added 32-bit support in the hardware. Still nobody wanted it. Now they're going back to software 32-bit emulation. Sooo...how many enterprise servers really want to be running a WinCPU?

I'm just a dumb IT droid, but this makes no sense. Unless the $10 billion is going for bribes.

ha, I was right, it's a WinCPU (1)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576593)

"IA-32 EL is OS-based and is only available after an OS has booted,"
http://www.digit-life.com/archive.shtml?2006/0125 [digit-life.com]

Betcha money it's not any form of Unix.

It is rather uninspiring to see all the negativity (3, Informative)

Superfarstucker (621775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576629)

Sure, it is a huge sum of cash and perhaps the 'shareholders' might get more short term benefit out of investing the same sum of money into commodity microprocessor R&D but the itanium could eventually pay off in a big kind of way. It seems that most people posting here are just as impatient as shareholders when it comes to results, they want them NOW! Good things can't always manifest themselves in a short period of time and I think it is impressive that Intel & HP continue to invest money into something that has yet to produce any tangible benefits over existing architecture. I'm willing to bet that x86 isn't the omega to processor design ideology, and itanium may not be either, but Intel & HP seem to believe it is a step in the right direction. Very few people that post here have the knowledge necessary to even begin assessing whether such a design may ever pan out and it appears the jury is still out among those who have the capacity to decide. Meanwhile Apple continues to recieve gratuitous praise for releasing shiny white computers with chamfered corners. Maybe if Intel & HP invested 10 Bn into cosmetic processor design they would be recieved more favorably with the press.

Itanium isn't dead yet (2, Insightful)

cyberjessy (444290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576662)

In spite of all the negative publicity, Itanium is quite far from dead. The recent corrections in path make a lot of sense. What really put Itanium out of orbit was Intel's decision to use Itanium in even the small and medium systems. This meant lost marketing focus, and some lame architectural decisions for x86 compatibility. Itanium has nothing in common with x86 except its made by Intel.

It seems the finally found the market:
Last week Intel went back on x86 compatibility, only software emulation [com.com] . Makes sense, the market for Itanium is big iron. It is way to expensive for anything less. And the users better run 64-bit Itanium optimized code to get their money's worth.

Microsoft trashed all Itanium plans for the small and mid segment. They will support Itanium only where it makes sense in their product line, just Windows Server, .Net Framework 64-bit and Sql Server 2005. (Not in Exchange Server, Biztalk Server etc. Earlier we even had Windows XP running on Itanium. Sigh!).

Intel's Motherboards supporting both Xeon and Itanium have now been postponed to 2009. This makes sense too, Itanium customers won't be interested in saving a few thousand bucks on commodity motherboards.

And finally 10 billion $ pumped in; good news. I'd think Itanium will be back, by 2008. Architecturally, it is nothing to laugh at atleast. It is just that it lacked everything else, platform-compiler-apps support.

I hope this works. (3, Informative)

megabeck42 (45659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576692)

Truth be told, IA64 is a fantastically better architecture than IA32 or x86-64. Some of it's current caveats, for example, suboptimal software support and high costs, are not due to it's technical qualifications or drawbacks. Once the architecture reaches a critical mass and reasonable market acceptance, these issues should disappear. (more chips -> more people will target software for it, more chips produced in volume -> less cost per chip, etc.)

It's other caveats, for example, poor compiler support, are issues that need to be considered carefully. I'd like to specifically address the poor compiler support. I am not concerned about this issue for the following reasons:

1. Compilers can improve easily, with a recompile. If the architecture achieves a critical mass, then more people and organizations will justify the time and effort to improve compilers on the architecture. Not only can they improve, but taking advantage of such improvements would not require replacing hardware, which makes it an issue of time.

2. The architecture is much more realistic about the guarantees that it's willing to make as a processor. One of the early complaints, was that initial generation of compilers for IA64 would generate, on average, 40% NOPs. It's important to consider a few details when regarding that statement.
    A. First, each clock cycle could allow the execution of up to 3 concurrent operations.
    B. Second, the architecture is not inserting extra NOPs transparently into the pipeline, as almost all modern processors do in the event of a pipeline data hazard. This fact can be viewed different ways.
          i. Most modern processors have to evaluate wether to insert a pipeline stall every single time that an instruction is executed. This is, essentially, wasted work because such a computation could be done by the assembler, however, it does spare the processor the burden of loading useless NOPs into the pipeline and the cache. On the other hand, minimizing the logic that a processor has to complete per cycle generally decreases the minimum amount of time necessary per clock (meaning that it could scale to higher clock speeds.)
          ii. The immediate question is, does reading all these NOPs out of memory cause a bigger hit to performance, than making the processor calculate the data hazards? Personally, I don't know. But, let's consider the idea for a moment. On both processors, let's assume that the instruction cache is fast enough to deliver data without wait states, assuming the cache has the data. When your processor is prefetching well, then the NOP issue shouldn't be a big issue. (Except for the fact that the NOPs will now be in the binary, making the binaries larger. I consider this a moot point given the inexpense of modern storage.) When your prefetcher can't anticipate correctly, though, I think the IA64 loses. Both IA64 and other modern architectures have branch predictors, so I suspect unanticipated branches which cause a pipeline flush (unavoidable) and unanticipated cache fills (unavoidable) will be mitigated roughly equally, But because the IA64 has longer instructions that aren't quite as dense, the IA64 will stall longer. Btw, I'm ignoring data stalls, to simplify my argument and because I don't think the architectural differences in the IA64 will significantly impact it. I'd enjoy being corrected on this point.
                  The IA64 includes a predicate register, which stores the results of comparison instructions. Instructions in an IA64 'bundle' can be qualified to be executed conditionally, based on the condition of a certain bit in the predicate register. This allows the IA64 to avoid some branches. The compiler/assembler can pack a bundle which includes the appropriate two instructions, each qualified to execute for different states of the predicate register. Essentially, the processor is simultaneously issued the commands for both possible conditions of the preceeding comparison. Utilizing this can prevent expensive pipeline flushes and improves the efficiency of the prefetch mechanism. Does this help all situations? No.
                  But it comes down to, how often can the IA64 take advantage of the predicate register? I, personally, don't know, but I surmise that it's quite often. If anyone has real numbers, can point out a flaw in my logic above, etc. I'd like to hear it. What am I saying? This is Slashdot, I'm sure I'll hear it.
                  Oh, the point of this was that the 40% NOPs are a feature, not a problem. With IA64 the compiler/assembler has explicit control over pipeline data-hazard stalls, instead of wondering how the processor will handle them. I also wanted to expound on how IA64's approach may well be better than letting the processor worry about it.
    C. The instruction set has been designed with a lot of consideration for modern computing problems. I think a marvelous example of this is the ADMULT instruction, that can add and multiply in a single clock. Furthermore, I think you can pack two of these instructions in a bundle. This is an incredible boon for many DSP and math algorithms. Once major libraries start including consideration for the itanium, I would expect remarkable improvements in apps depending on them.

3. Check out the SPEC scores for Itanium 2's. They're insane. A 1.6 ghz Itanium2 can match a 3.06 ghz Xeon for integer performance, and has double the scores for floating point.

4. If I was writing a paper and not a slashdot comment, I'd probably flesh out some of my earlier statements and I'll also expand on things such as the fact that IA64 doesn't include all the bad decisions of IA32's 20 years of "improvements." No more variable-width instructions, no more useless memory management features (let's hear it for those descriptor tables!), task gates, relics like the Adjust ASCII After Addition command.

I guess we'll see how things pan out in a few years.

Cheers.

Re:I hope this works. (2, Insightful)

boner (27505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576774)

Let me disagree with you on a few points:

ad 1: Compilers can improve easily, with a recompile. this remark I consider extremely naive and it really, really hurts your credibility. The fact that a compiler can be recompiled does not mean it also automatically improves its logic. The problem with all the compilers for Itanium is in the logic, not in the execution. Recompiling the compiler without improving the logic might give you a faster compiler, certainly not a better one.
In order to improve compilers for Itanium the prefetch and scheduling logic in the compilers and assemblers needs to be vastly improved. Especially optimization for data-dependent branches requires a lot of additional work.

ad.2
A ... each clock cycle could allow the execution of up to 3 concurrent operations. Not if the compiler does a bad job, as many of them do now. Look at Itaniums performance on data dependent branches, it is underwhelming...
B huh? Are you mixing up RISC and VLIW (EPIC) designs?

ad.3 The only reason Itanium has good SPEC performance is because the benchmark is completely deterministic in its execution. Itanium greatly (like: insanely) benefits from repeated compile-execute-profile iterations of the benchmark. Real world performance doesn't come close. Only numerical codes with very well understood branches can hope to approach those SPEC rates.

ad.4 I suggest the following literature first: Hennesey and Patterson, Computer Architecture (Morgan Kaufmann); Patterson and Hennesey, Computer Organization and Design (Morgan Kaufmann); Sima and Fountain and Kacsuk, Advanced Computer Architectures (Addison Wesley); Lilja, Measuring computer performance (cambridge); Jain, the art of computer systems performance analysis (wiley)

$10 billion? I don't think so (2, Insightful)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576710)

Something smells fishy to me. $10 billion is alot of money for a marketing campaign.

Assuming that each Itanium chip retails for roughly $1,000, Intel/HP could simply give away 10,000,000 chips for the investment they're making. Do they really think that there will be enough demand for these chips between now and 2010 to make up for that kind of marketing expense?

I have a hard time believing they will actually spend anything near this amount on marketing, even if the campaign is successful.

Re:$10 billion? I don't think so (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576843)

Something smells fishy to me. $10 billion is alot of money for a marketing campaign.
You misunderstand the nature of the investment. $10 billion is the amount of money currently on the table from all of the members of the Itanium Solutions Alliance combined, in terms of commitments to produce Itanium hardware, software, and support options. Probably some fraction of that amount will be spent on marketing, but most of it is going to be spent on R&D and manufacturing.

Re:$10 billion? I don't think so (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576869)

Read the article. It's not for marketing, but for continuing research and development. They are making such a large investment, because they believe a 140 billion market is a stake, claim they are being successful at pushing out Sun and IBM but want to accelerate the rate, and also, with their Itanium Alliance, believe there is a lot of money to be made on top of Itanium software solutions....

How many chips have they sold so far? (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576724)

Here's a quick bit of math for thought:
Let's say that Intel contributes half, so USD 5 000 000 000.
Let's say that Intel nets USD 5 000 per chip (probably WAY overestimating sales price and underestimating costs)
Intel would need to sell 1 000 000 chips to make this additional investment break even.

This excludes opportunity cost, cannibalism of existing Xeon sales (though, it's probably the other way around), and probably a host of other things.

It looks like sketchy math to me. To me, it seems obvious that the Itanium will be increasingly pushed into niche processing markets -- and even there, the few benefits that the Itanium presents will be continually reduced as x86 moves up market. Faster FP? Better RAS features? Better scaling? Those can and will be bolted onto Opterons (and probably even Xeons) over time.

In other news .. flogging a dead horse.. (2, Funny)

flyingace (162593) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576738)

In other news .. flogging a dead horse, to cost 10 billion dollars.

Somebody has faith in Itanium ... (1)

sierra077 (949923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576772)

It's fairly obvious that the Itanium has been a failure. But then why so much interest from so many companies? From TFA, it's not just HP and Intel. I've heard that the architecture is good in theory, but bad in practice - and my own experience supports the latter. Maybe this is a desperate push to finally turn the theory into practice. Perhaps they should invest that 10 billion in a compiler that can actually support the Itanium's architecture.

In any case, it's an uphill battle now - the Itanium is not looked upon favourably by most people I know. Right now, AMD has the most rational offerings for general-purpose computing and I wonder if IBM will market the cell (or a variant thereof) to the HPC market. Interestingly, both those designs are not dependent on the high-end market to survive. Anything recent that was dependent on that market seems to have failed - even the beloved Alphas. In that context, this investment does seem dubious.

Re:Somebody has faith in Itanium ... (1)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576824)

"and I wonder if IBM will market the cell (or a variant thereof) to the HPC market"

Products are already on the market from Mercury Computer Systems:

"Mercury's first Cell BE processor-based product is available for industrial, medical, and military markets. The Dual Cell-Based Blade offers outstanding performance for high-performance computing (HPC) applications. Performance scales dramatically when the application is distributed across multiple Dual Cell-Based Blades in IBM's industry-leading BladeCenter® platform or across the network."

Re:Somebody has faith in Itanium ... (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576882)

Itanic isn't the only recent attempt to move chip design forward and leave x86 behind, its just the highest profile. Mainly cos its been such a commercial failure. Remember not too long ago Transmeta unveiled a similarly radical design, also heavily compiler dependant. As with Itanium, part of the problem was that good compilers are hard to write. Sun are now heading down a similar road, marketing a cpu optimised for core applications. The world is changing here, and it may well be that Itanium was just too far ahead of its time.

Personally I find it hard to believe that Intel would throw so much good money after bad if there wasn't a reasonable chance of payoff. And remember, the Itanium doesn't need to be a success - if significant aspects of the chip design make it into the next gen desktop CPU's, it'll pay for itself in a week.

$10 billion all itanic chips ever sold?? (2, Insightful)

Devistater (593822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576786)

For some reason I'm thinking that $10 billion is probably more than they've ever made on the Itanic.

Get organised (0, Offtopic)

thsths (31372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576821)

> I work a lot of overtime in a high-stress, tight deadline job. Once you get into that kind of downward spiral, how do you find another job?

That's an obvious one: you quit this job before looking for a new one.

> I'd quit if I had a choice, but I really need the money

I wonder what you do with all the overtime pay? Sometimes a good career has to be organised, and this starts with having some money in the bank for situations like this.
Proper planing can also reduce the level of stress you are experiencing...

Performance (4, Interesting)

velco (521660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576823)

Itanium2 systems are among the top in transaction processing
http://www.tpc.org/tpcc/results/tpcc_perf_results. asp?resulttype=all [tpc.org]
and THE top one for clusters.

It makes sense for such an inventmen to go to
  a) improving the fabrication facilities - achieving lower defect rates
        and reducing price;
  b) improving the fabrication process - aiming at higher clock rates

Remember also the recent announcement that an Itanuim CPU will no longer contain essentially a whole IA-32 CPU.

~velco

ITER? (3, Interesting)

Xoknit (181837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576847)

10 Billion? That means it is just as important to humanity as nuclear fusion? WTF?

Makes sence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14576871)

Apple will buy Intel and make it's own CPU's

AAAARRRRRGGHHHH!!! (2, Interesting)

wjeff (161644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576879)

This just makes me insane, I know it was already mentioned several times that people wish HP would put this kind of effort into reviving the Alpha. But to read about them putting this much money into a piece crap like that Itanium after the way they chucked out the Alpha, is expecially galling when you consider that in HP's own internal testing, Alpha EV8s and 9s consistently wipe the floor with even the latest Itaniums.

Wow, that's a lot of money. (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576905)

I'd have thought that it was possible to rearrange the deck chairs for a lot less than that. Maybe it includes the musicians' salaries as well, though.
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