October 31, 2007 5:12 AM PDT

Intel's Montvale Itanium chip arrives

Intel announced on Wednesday its line of Itanium products for high-end computing servers.

Code-named Montvale, the chip is an update to Montecito, the dual-core Itanium 2 chip that was launched in July last year, Eddie Toh, regional platform marketing manager of the Server Platforms Group for Asia-Pacific at Intel, said in an interview on Monday.

Originally due in 2006, the launch of Montvale has been held up until now. Like Montecito, the new Itanium chip is based on a manufacturing process with circuitry dimensions of 90 nanometers, and has two processor cores.

Montvale, also known as the Itanium 9100 processor series, ships in seven iterations consisting of six dual-core chips and a single-core chip, Toh said.

Comparing Montvale to the existing Itanium 9000 processor series, Toh said the new chip has three new features.

The first new feature--core-level lockstep--is said to strengthen the Itanium platform's support for mission-critical applications, as it "improves the data integrity and reliability of applications by eliminating undetected errors in the core."

Coupled with the existing socket-level lockstep technology, the core-level lockstep feature enables "greater reliability, availability, and serviceability by guaranteeing that calculation results are consistent among the cores and sockets," Intel said.

The second new feature is a power-management feature known as "demand-based switching," or DBS, Toh said. It reduces power consumption by servers during low CPU-utilization periods.

According to Toh, the third feature is an increase in the front-side bus performance by up to 667MHz, which means applications that demand greater bandwidth can run faster. In addition, the 9100 processor series has a clock speed of up to 1.66GHz.

Toh added that, based on Intel's own lab tests, Montvale has almost a 19 percent performance gain over Montecito at similar frequencies. This is due to the additional bandwidth provided by the faster system bus.

Tukwila, the next generation of Itanium chips, based on the 65nm process, is expected to arrive sometime in 2008 or 2009, while the 32nm Poulson is expected in 2010 or 2011.

Lynn Tan of ZDNet Asia reported from Singapore.

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3 comments

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The Itanium is dead... Long live the Itanium....
Bringing out newer versions of the Itanium is like giving CPR to an embalmed body, it just doesn't make sense.
If you are going into a niche Processor arena then should have a remarkable product, Itanium is no longer that remarkable compared to the likes of IBM's Cell processor.

I thought Otellini had more sense than that, I guess not.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
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Don't put the IA64 down just yet
I can imagine if you had a workstation with two dual core itanium 2 chips on board linked to two Nvidia 4 GPU tesla servers and one 4 GPU Quatro slim line server i can imagine you could do quite a lot of reaserch/development work with that compared to a cell system but Most mortals would get enough from two 4 core opterons or two 4 core Xeons connected two one tesla GPU card and one Quatro Card (or a couple of Cell blades) at a fraction of the price.

Point being that although the Cell has its uses the IA 64 still has some advanced DATA handling features that make it very usful when say putting together all the bits of a car system and testing it on a simulated test bash.

Such complexed task and data intensive processes the Cell would choke on.

The Cell can simulated an enviroment with a lot of deatil running a few diffrent main tasks very well.

In future OS's years from now those sort of intensive task and data managment processes will be very much in full swing and intel might end up reengineering it IA core alongside other Cores on the chip to make sure the chips can handle the demand but not quite yet.
Posted by wildchild_plasma_gyro (296 comments )
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35 or 45
Does he mean 45nm not 35?? Or does Intel already have plans for a 35nm chip?
Posted by Busboy2 (36 comments )
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