by Anton Shilov
10/04/2007 | 10:35 PM
Even though without much hype, Intel Itanium is still here and will be in the coming years. However, the evolution of the family may just take a little bit different route than other microprocessors of our times, says Intel.
Intel Itanium was not widely presented at Intel Developer Forum last month, but this does not mean that the IA64 micro-architecture is fading away. During a dedicated Intel Itanium conference principal engineer of Itanium processor architecture at Intel said that the company continues to work on improvements for its 64-bit chips. But rather than quickly increase the number of cores, Intel aims to boost single-thread performance of each core for the Itanium.
“We have not abandoned single-core performance and we’re looking to increase that with each generation (of the Itanium processor) as we go forward, some with greater transitions than others,” said Cameron McNairy, principal engineer of Itanium Processor Architect at Intel at Gelato Itanium Conference and Expo held in Singapore, reports Cnet News.com.
Intel is now working hard to deliver the code-named Tukwila processor in 2008. The new Itanium 2 will be made using 65nm technology process and feature four physical processing engines with Intel Hyper-Threading technology. The new chip will have onboard memory controller and will support Intel Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) bus (previously known as common serial interconnect or CSI) in order to be compatible with platforms developed for Intel Xeon processors.
But despite of rather significant platform architecture change, Intel stresses its intentions to boost single-thread performance of the forthcoming Itanium 2 microprocessors as there are still certain applications that mostly rely on single-threaded execution.
“There are some workloads that you just need to have single-core performance in order to carry and to get the job done, and those are the kinds of things we are targeting. Not everything can scale and, truth be told, if you don't address the single-core performance segment, you’re going to miss out on some opportunities,” said Mr. McNairy.
Given that Itanium was developed specifically for multi-processor systems, putting more cores on a single chip may not be a crucial task for Intel as those who need multiple processing engines can obtain more processors. Therefore, increasing the efficiency of each core may lead to higher performance boosts overall.