By John Geralds, VNU
Intel engineers and partners including Dell and Microsoft
gathered in Las Vegas this week to test and tweak new products
based on the chip giant’s forthcoming Itanium processor.
The so-called plug fest followed interoperability demonstrations
in June. This week’s session included input from vendors such as
Fujitsu, NEC, Hewlett Packard (HP), Red Hat, IBM and 3Com, which
showcased devices, components and operating systems based on the
Itanium, previously codenamed Merced, has been under development
for seven years.
An Intel spokeswoman claimed the plug fest, attended by 200
hardware and software engineers, offers a solid test bed for
developers to try out the platform.
“Even after the processor has been launched, we continue testing
and validating as we do for all our processors,” she said.
The latest processors are based on Intel’s explicitly parallel
instruction computing (Epic) architecture and include parallel
execution of instructions, the ability to address large memory
loads, error detection correction and high bandwidth. They offer
between 2Mb and 4Mb Level 3 memory reservoir cache.
Intel executives said the company has so far shipped 6000
prototype servers and workstations, including almost 30,000
processors in single and multi-processor configurations.
Beta versions of Itanium processor-based systems running
Windows, HP-UX, Linux and AIX are scheduled to ship to end users in
the fourth quarter of this year.
Intel disappointed some industry observers at its recent
developer forum when it revealed that Itanium would initially run
at 733Mhz and not at the 800Mhz speed originally promised.
At its launch for its PA Risc-based Superdome servers earlier
this week, HP said an Itanium-ready version of the system would not
be available until the second half of 2002.