Intel offers 64-bit migration path with Itanium, Xeon and Pentium

Intel has outlined its 64-bit computing strategy ahead of its Developer Forum in San Francisco next month.

Intel has outlined its 64-bit computing strategy ahead of its Developer Forum in San Francisco next month.

The strategy is based around the Itanium, Xeon and Pentium 4 processors and aims to offer users a migration path for desktop, workgroup and enterprise systems.

In the next 90 days the company will introduce the Xeon MP processor, which will offer Extended Memory Technology, which allows servers to access up to 1Tbyte of memory. The current 32-bit Xeon chips can only access 4Gbytes.

The MP version will be targeted at users looking for more powerful four-way Xeon-based servers. Along with support for larger amounts of installed memory, the chip offers 8Mbyte Level 3 cache, support for DDR2 memory and the PCI Express, which Phil Brace, Intel director of enterprise platforms and services marketing, said would offer greater scalability for datacentre applications.

Along with updates to Xeon, next week Intel will start shipping 64-bit extensions and Extended Memory Technology in updated Pentium 4 processors.

Brace said the company’s strategy was to deliver 64-bit technology to all levels of users. Xeon processors would offer a stepping stone to full 64-bit technology. "As applications become available we will see more 64-bit [Itanium] systems deployed," he said.

The chip manufacturer has also released details of its first dual-core Montecito chip, which will speed the performance of its Itanium systems.

Intel told the International Solid State Circuits Conference in the US that Montecito would have 1.7 billion transistors - the first Intel chip with more than one billion transistors.

Montecito, which is expected to appear at the end of 2005, can run at 2GHz, making it faster than existing Itanium chips, which typically run at 1.6GHz.

Despite being faster, the new chip will run at lower temperatures than Intel’s current offerings. This will help it conserve power, allowing the user’s machine to run for longer. Montecito will run at a maximum of 100W, compared with 130W in other Itanium systems.

  • In the last quarter of 2004, the number of 64-bit Xeon chips Intel shipped exceeded the 32-bit versions.

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