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IBM introduced this week its new core-logic – eServer X3 architecture named Hurricane – for the Intel Xeon processors with x86-64 technology as well as the forthcoming dual-core microprocessors. But unlike the previous generations of IBM’s chipsets for Intel-based servers, the X3 does not support Intel’s Itanium and Itanium 2 processors, which could mean that IBM is reducing support of the IA64 platform. Some even believe the Big Blue is planning to reject the Itanium processors from future servers.

IBM’s Technologies Drive Xeon Processors’ Performance Up

Hurricane, the third-generation Enterprise X-Architecture chipset, is the heart of X3, providing the x366 platform with an integrated processor and memory controller that significantly reduces memory latency, improving response times and overall system performance for customers, IBM said. The X-Architecture-64e chipset was specifically designed for xSeries by a cross-platform architectural team who has expertise from IBM’s mainframe heritage.

The third generation of IBM’s Enterprise X-Architecture design, X3 is optimized for server consolidation and enterprise application software, and uses IBM’s high-end Virtualization Engine technology to enhance virtualization capabilities. The eServer xSeries 366 can work with Intel Xeon DP and MP processors, including forthcoming dual-core chips, its platform capabilities include support for DDR2-based Active Memory and Active PCI-X 2.0, the new standard for high performance server I/O.

“This platform, combined with IBM’s chipset technology expertise, can improve overall system performance compared to the previous generation by up to 38 percent when 64GB of memory is used,” says IBM.

IBM Drops Itanium Support

Previously IBM’s server chipsets that sported Intel’s microprocessors supported both Itanium and Xeon processors. But at this time IBM decided not to support the Itanium because of the “market acceptance issues” of the platform. Furthermore, some say that IBM is likely to cease production of Intel Itanium 2-based servers in favour of its Power servers and Xeon servers.

“IBM told me they had no other plans for any other Itanium systems,” CNET quotes Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff as saying, citing a discussion with Jay Bretzmann, IBM's manager of product marketing for its xSeries line of Intel-based servers.

IBM reportedly will not use Intel’s dual-core Itanium processors code-named Montecito due later this year.

“It makes official what has really been the reality. They have made it clear...that they really are very serious about making Power into a widely used computer architecture,” Mr. Haff reportedly added.


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