San Francisco (CA) – One notable facet of Intel technology was markedly absent from Intel’s most recent IDF: Itanium. This reality has forced more than one journalist to ask the question: Is Itanium a dying dog?
Once slated to be Intel’s pathway to 64-bits, the recent adoption of continued support for enhanced x86 architectures may be pushing Itanium beyond its current niche market, into even leaner territory. Multiple cores on an established architecture with QuickPath coming online for x86 in 2009, could address the high-end markets. It might finally be that proprietary architectures no longer hold significant merit or weight in this rapidly evolving, open-source world.
Intel has called upon the various communities to assist them in finding practical uses for WiMAX, their multi-core programming strategies and even a futuristic 3D web. Intel has even gone so far as to launch new websites devoted to providing support for such communities. And in addition Intel has Tera-scale computing, a large multi-core environment to provide massively parallel compute abilities, far more so than even Itanium’s EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing) could provide.
Itanium was almost completely absent from IDF 2007. The entire event seemed to focus around the November 12 launch of Penryn and related 2008 x86-based architecture, such as processors, chipsets, mobile devices and supportive communities. So, in reflection we must ask the questions: are we seeing the beginning of the end for Itanium? Is the 64-bit x86 architecture actually winning out?