Intel Launches Eight-Core Itanium 9500 “Poulson” Mission-Critical Server Processor

Intel Upgrades Mission-Critical Servers with Itanium 9500 “Poulson” Chip

by Anton Shilov
11/08/2012 | 12:02 PM

Intel Corp. on Thursday introduced its new-generation Itanium 9500 microprocessor code-named Poulson. The new Itanium chips represent the biggest performance leap for one generation Intel had ever made for its mission-critical servers. The latest Poulson chip will be ideal for today's most demanding workloads, including business analytics, database, and large-scale enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications.


"Built on a new micro-architecture and providing breakthrough performance, the Intel Itanium 9500 processor family signals Intel's ongoing commitment to deliver unparalleled reliability, availability and scalability to meet the critical application demands across all industries," said Diane Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intel's datacenter and connected systems group.

The Itanium "Poulson" 12-wide issue microprocessor has eight multi-threaded cores with new micro-architecture and a new version of Hyper-Threading technology (with Dual Domain Multithreading, which enables independent front and  backend pipeline execution to improve multi-thread efficiency), a ring-based system interface and combined 54MB cache on the die, including 32MB last-level cache as well as complex L2 cache: 2MB+512KB for instructions+256KB for data per core. High speed links of the new chips allow for peak processor-to-processor bandwidth of up to 128GB/s and memory bandwidth of up to 45GB/s. Clock-speeds of Intel Itanium 9500-series processors range from 1.73GHz with a power level of 130W to 2.53GHz at a power level of 170W.

Intel Itanium 9500 delivers a big leap of performance, up to 2.4x performance scaling over the previous Intel Itanium 9300 and provides massive scalability for efficient data warehousing and processing. The monstrous chip contains 3.1 billion of transistors and is among the most complex chips Intel has ever made. Poulson’s architectural advances include new data and instruction pipelines, new floating-point pipeline, new instruction buffer and double max execution width (6-12).

Poulson also adds new instructions in four key areas: new integer operations (mpy4, mpyshl4, clz); expanded data access hints (mov dahr) to support the higher parallelism and multithreading capabilities; expanded software  prefetch (ifetch.count) and thread control (hint@priority). These new instructions lay the foundation for the Itanium architecture to grow with future needs.

To make Itanium 9500 “Poulson” even more reliable than its predecessors, Intel also implemented several new resiliency features, including:

Intel Itanium processors continue to maintain strong industry support among systems makers such as Bull, Hitachi, HP, Inspur and NEC. Servers based on the new Itanium 9500-series “Poulson” central processing units from Intel’s partners will be available in the coming months.

Operating systems that support the new Itanium chips include HP-UX 11i, HP OpenVMS I64, HP NonStop, Bull GCOS, NEC ACOS and some others. Enterprise applications are available from multiple vendors, such as, Oracle, SAP, SAS, Sybase and Temenos, among other vendors.

The Intel Itanium processor 9500-series chips is available now and is priced from $1350 to $4650 in quantities of 1000 units.