Intel makes Itanium an x86 emulator

In other itanium news...

"THERE'S A NEW piece of software coming for the Itanium that seems a bit out of place. It's an x86 emulator. The thing that makes it odd is that the Itanium already has an x86 processor on chip. It's a bit of a worry that Intel has decided that the hardware x86 compatibility is so bad that even a software emulator can beat it. We're sure that the company spinners will manage something along the lines of software compiled for the Itanium EPIC architecture being so good that it was bound to beat a hardware solution.

Intel is making some interesting claims about the emulator. The most surprising one is that it expects the software emulator on a 1.5GHz Itanium 2 to run programs as fast as a 1.5GHz Xeon. For its sake, we hope that it is right but that the company will excuse some extreme scepticism. There can be no doubt that the emulator is a response to AMD's Opteron. The dream of running a high-speed 64bit processor whilst still maintaining compatibility with all of your old programs has caught in the imagination of most customers. Quite right too, recompiling for a new architecture, optimising, then having to run through the entire QA process all over again is costly and time consuming.

For all of the problems, this is a good thing for Intel. It might finally make a transition to Itanium genuinely worthwhile for customers without a specific specialist application. One thing is for certain, anything is better than the old hardware x86 compatibility in the Itanium, even a Via C3."

View: Article @ El Inq

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