Intel to spotlight new Itanium: 'Poulson'

Firm still has long-term plans for Itanium, despite the chip's troubles and the popularity of the company's lower-end Xeon products.

Intel will on Tuesday offer a further glimpse into the future of its Itanium processor family, shining the spotlight on a new model code-named Poulson, CNET News.com has learned.

Pat Gelsinger, Intel's former chief technology officer and now one of two chiefs of the company's Digital Enterprise Group, is expected to discuss Poulson briefly at Intel's Developer Forum in San Francisco, sources familiar with the situation said.

Poulson is scheduled to succeed Tukwila, an Itanium processor due in 2007 that had previously been code-named Tanglewood. Intel declined to comment for this story.

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What's new:
At its Developer Forum, Intel will offer a further glimpse into the future of its Itanium processor family, shining the spotlight on a new model code-named Poulson.

Bottom line:
Though Intel isn't expected to offer many details, revealing the code name sends a significant message: Intel still has long-term plans for Itanium, despite the chip's troubles and the relative popularity of the company's lower-end Xeon products.

More stories on Itanium

Though Intel isn't expected to offer many details, revealing the code name sends a significant message: Intel still has long-term plans for Itanium, despite the chip's troubles and the relative popularity of the company's lower-end Xeon products.

Intel has had difficulty getting Itanium to fulfill initial expectations by becoming as widespread in the server market as the Pentium is today among desktop computers. One of the major sticking points has been that software written for x86 chips such as Pentium runs only slowly and awkwardly on Itanium.

Intel missed its Itanium shipment goal of 200,000 in 2004. And of the four major server sellers--IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Sun Microsystems, which together generated 80 percent of the $49.5 billion in 2004 server sales--only HP is a strong supporter. That's not a surprise, since HP co-developed the chip design and only in December transferred its last Itanium designers to Intel.

But for all the difficulties, Intel isn't throwing in the towel.

One major change will come with the Tukwila generation of chips. At that point, for the first time, Xeon and Itanium chips will have the same electronic interface, making it easier to design servers that support either processor. And Intel promises that in 2007, Itanium and Xeon systems will cost the same, but Itaniums will have twice the performance.

And several second-tier server makers still have their own Itanium

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