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Intel Corp. this week announced that it had initiated shipments of the quad-core Intel Itanium processor code-named Tukwila. The chip that was delayed by years will be formally unveiled sometime in the first half of the year.

“The newest Itanium processor has begun revenue shipments. The most advanced Itanium processor yet, ‘Tukwila’ more than doubles the performance of its predecessor and adds a range of new scalability, reliability, and virtualization features. […] The launch of this Itanium mission-critical processor is part of a major push Intel is making into the server processor arena, with several announcements slated for the first half of the year,” an official statement by Intel reads.

The new Itanium 2 is made using 65nm technology process and features four physical processing engines with Intel Hyper-Threading technology. The new chip has onboard memory controller and supports Intel QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) bus (previously known as common serial interconnect or CSI) in order to be compatible with platform elements developed for Intel Xeon processors. It is unknown whether quad-core Intel Itanium “Tukwila” chip is compatible with octa-core Intel Xeon “Beckton” 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.

Tags: Intel, Itanium, Tukwila, Beckton, 65nm

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