Intel overclocks Itanium release date

Intel has changed the release schedule for its Itanium chips for servers, adding a new chip for 2004 and moving the launch date of an Itanium with two separate processors to 2005 from 2007.

The changes reflect Intel's confidence in its ability to release high-end server chips faster than competitors and thereby gain the performance high ground, said Jonathan Eunice, principal analyst at Illuminata.

Itanium 2 currently ranks with the best server chips in the market, but the new release schedule will enhance the chip's attractiveness and put pressure on competitors to step up their own schedules, something historically they have been loath to do.

Intel's "design teams and design resources are well stocked, so they can do a shrink early or do a dual-core (chip) early. They have a lot of leeway that would stress out a Sparc development team," Eunice said, referring to shrinking the size of components on a chip and to Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc processor.

Under the new schedule, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker will release Madison, a souped-up version of the current Itanium 2 with 6MB of level three cache, this summer, according to Jason Waxman, marketing manager for enterprise processors at Intel. Increasing the cache, a reservoir of memory located on the processor, generally enhances performance.

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News source: C|Net

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