The processor, an upgraded member of the Madison line, boosts high-speed cache memory from 6MB to 9MB--thus its nickname: Madison 9M. In addition, Intel is expected to update the rest of its Itanium 2 family, adding a lower-end model for dual-processor servers and a low-voltage model for servers that are packed densely together.
Intel's plain-spoken CEO
says that if the United
States wants to stay on
top, it's time to rev the
The launch is expected to dovetail with the release of the Top500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers., a top contender for the No. 1 spot, includes the newer chips as part of server.
SGI had said Columbia could perform, or 42.7 teraflops. But an unpublished test that included the new Itanium 2 9M processors clocked the machine at .
The newer chips in Columbia boost software performance significantly, Richard Dracott, general manager of Intel's enterprise platforms group, said Tuesday at the unveiling of the supercomputer. "We're seeing a 30 to 40 percent improvement in some of the codes," he said.
Intel declined to comment on the schedule beyond reiterating that the chip will arrive by the end of the year.
SGI had planned to unveil its Altix 3700 Bx2 on Nov. 1, but the company advanced the announcement after executives released details. Hewlett-Packard, the co-developer and biggest booster of Itanium, is staying mum until Nov. 9 about its new Itanium servers.
HP is expected to announce a new entry-level dual-processor Itanium server. The move comes as Intel works to drive down Itanium costs; the current lowest-end Itaniums are priced at $530 each when purchased in quantities of 1,000.
Itanium has had its lumps, including years of delay and. The chipmaker no longer hopes to double its shipments of Itaniums this year; previously, the company had sought to go from 100,000 shipped last year to 200,000 this year, said Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron.
But Itanium has given Intel a competitor to high-end chips such as IBM's Power5 and Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc IV. "It's been a slow-growth product, but it certainly has expanded the markets Intel is participating in," McCarron said.
Intel had hoped to launch the Itanium 2 9M product in September at the Intel Developer Forum, according to sources familiar with the plan. However, McCarron said the slip isn't significant. "These are going into very high-end servers with a very long qualification cycle," he said.
The Itanium 2 9M is built on a manufacturing process with circuitry dimensions of 130 nanometers, or 130 billionths of a meter, Intel said.
Next on Intel's agenda is a successor called Montecito due by the end of 2005 and built with a 90-nanometer process that lets more circuitry fit on a single chip. Montecito has dual processing engines, called cores, and each core can run two instruction sequences, called threads.
After that comes Montvale, the first Itanium to be built using the 65-nanometer manufacturing process.