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Linux Magazine: The Age of Itanium

Jun 03, 2000, 12:06 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Wendy Goldman Rohm)

[ Thanks to Robert McMillan for this link. ]

"After years of hype and anticipation, Intel Corp. is about to make the leap into the big leagues. In the second quarter of this year, the Santa Clara, CA chip-maker will join the likes of Sun, IBM, and SGI as a maker of 64-bit microprocessors in the hopes of penetrating the serious enterprise customer base that is the bread and butter of these companies."

"The release of Intel's first 64-bit processor, called Itanium, is expected to mark a sea change in the Unix workstation and server market, putting great pressure on other RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) processor platforms and catapulting Linux into a critical role as the key Unix operating system on a platform backed by one of the most successful high-technology companies on the planet."

"Itanium is not a RISC platform but instead a new architecture developed by Intel and Hewlett-Packard, known as Epic (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing). Most desktop computers are either 16- or 32-bit. The number of bits is the size of the basic data unit used internally by the chip, which usually determines the amount of information that can be processed at a time. The amount of memory that the chip can use is determined by the size of the address bus, which is typically also 64 bits in a 64-bit chip. The move from 32-bit to 64-bit processors increases the maximum amount of memory that can be addressed directly from 4 Gbytes to 16 Ebytes (or 16 million terabytes). Intel engineers compare this huge increase to the difference between the distance one can throw a heavy ball and the distance between Earth and the sun."

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