Intel: Next Itanium to run at 1.5GHz

Intel's next Itanium processor likely will run at 1.5GHz, a 50 percent increase from its predecessor and an indication the company is getting better at meeting development goals for its high-end chip family. The new chip, code-named Madison, is similar to its Itanium 2 "McKinley" predecessor but is built with smaller circuitry that permits faster processing and more built-in high-speed "cache" memory. Intel disclosed the 1.5GHz speed in an agenda for a February processor show, the International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

"This is a demonstration that Intel is continuing to execute with precision, which is good" and very much a turnaround from the first-generation "Merced" version of Itanium, said Nathan Brookwood, an Insight64 analyst. "The Merced program was plagued with a variety of gremlins, but the McKinley and Madison programs have executed pretty smoothly."

Intel's ability to crank out new, faster versions of Itanium each year is a key part of its argument that it can use its manufacturing expertise to take on IBM, Sun Microsystems and Advanced Micro Devices, each of which have their own server processors. Intel must meet a higher standard for Itanium to catch on because adopting the new chip requires companies to completely rewrite their software.

"That's a pretty furious pace in the server business--a new part every year. It's much faster than what the other vendors are doing," said Kevin Krewell, senior editor at the Microprocessor Report.

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News source: c|net

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