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Quad-core Intel Itanium processor code-named “Tukwila” is again delayed. The chip, which was once promised to be available “towards the middle of the decade” will now be released only in the first quarter of 2010. The company states that the postponement will allow it to further boost performance of the solution.

“End-users choose Itanium-based servers for their most mission-critical environments, where application scalability is paramount. During final system-level testing, we identified an opportunity to further enhance application scalability. As a result, the Tukwila processor will now ship to OEMs in Q1 2010,” said Patrick G. Ward, a spokesperson for Intel.

This is by far not the first delay of the Tukwila processor. Intel once stated that the first quad-core Itanium processors would be released “towards the middle of the decade” (which should probably mean 2005 - 2007) and then an executive from Sun Microsystems said that in 2007 Intel would present a platform that supports both IA32 and IA64 microprocessors (Tukwila will be the first chip to share infrastructure technologies with Xeon). However, in 2007 Intel itself said that it would launch the Tukwila in late 2008. Still, in early 2009 the world’s largest maker of chips said that Tukwila faces further delay till mid-2009 because Intel decided to add DDR3 support and change form-factor so that to ensure compatibility with future generations of Itanium chips.

This time Intel claims that the delay of the introduction of the new quad-core Itanium chip will allow the company to boost scalability and better compete against proprietary RISC solutions, such as IBM Power or Sun/Fujitsu SPARC.

“In addition to better meeting the needs of our current Itanium customers, this change will allow Tukwila systems a greater opportunity to gain share versus proprietary RISC solutions including Sparc and IBM Power. Tukwila is tracking to 2X performance versus its predecessor chip. This change is about delivering even further application scalability for mission-critical workloads,” added Mr. Ward.

Intel said that according to an IDC recent report, Itanium continues to be the fastest-growing processor in the RISC/Mainframe market segment.

What is important to note is that if previous-generations Itanium 2 chips – both dual-core and single-core – were compatible with the original Itanium 2 infrastructure, the new Itanium “Tukwila” will utilize entirely different platform architecture, which needed to be validated by actual solution providers.

Tags: Intel, Itanium, Tukwila

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