Is Intel's Server Strategy in Trouble?

After Intel's recent announcement that it changed its server processor roadmaps which pushed new features into the future or cancelled them entirely, some are questioning the chip giant's strategy.

Intel has delayed volume shipments of its first dual core Itanium 2 server class processor, codenamed Montecito, from Q1 2006 to Q2. When it does finally appear, it will be missing two key enhancements that were initially promised. Power management technology known as Foxton will now be excluded from the processors, and consequently, the bus speed of 667MHz which was initially planned would now overheat the processor. As a result of the delays, Montecito successors Montvale and Tukwila have been pushed to 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Intel had aimed to get to the point where Itanium and Xeon classes could share chipsets and interconnects, resulting in cheaper Itanium servers. This initiative has apparently been scrapped, which doesn't help the Itanium's future. Both Dell and IBM have dropped support for it, but in Intel's favor Itanium design partner HP has announced a new series of blade servers containing Itanium processors.

AMD has made gains server market over the past few years, and these setbacks will not help Intel regain lost market share. It will be interesting to see what Intel has up its sleeve.

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