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VNU Net: Intel and partners test Itanium chip

Sep 16, 2000, 13:37 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Geralds)

By John Geralds, VNU Net

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 chip.

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.

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