Intel Announces Tukwila

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Intel logoIntel officially announced its latest iteration to the Itanium family of processors this week.  The new 9300 series Itanium, codenamed Tukwila, has been a long time coming.  How long is long?  Well, they delayed the release at least twice last year.  The original release date was “early 2009”.  Intel originally delayed launch quoting that the chip was “undergoing application scalability enhancements.”

We get it: its late, but is it worth the wait?  According to Hewlett-Packard [co-developer of the processor], its worth it.  According to the source article, Intel is quoting 800 percent more system interconnect bandwidth, 500 percent more memory bandwidth and up to 700 percent more memory capacity.  Not bad.  I like more.  Microsoft, RedHat, Novell and others also got on the IA-64 bandwagon this week.

Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 support the Itanium architecture,” said Ted Kummert, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Business Platform Division. “Together with the new features in the Intel Itanium processor 9300 series, Microsoft will provide a platform for businesses to run their mission-critical transaction processing, data warehousing, and business intelligence applications with high levels of reliability and scalability.”

According to the various releases, the new silicon digs utilize Intel’s Demand-Based Switching so they can throttle back on power utilization when demand for juice is low.  Intel also quoted that they are working on the Tukwila follow-on, codenamed Poulson.

Outside of HP and Hitachi, there weren’t any other major platform vendors to announce support for Tukwila.  Noticeably absent from the releases was SGI, who were formerly big supporters of IA-64 with their Altix 3000 and 4000 line of SMPs.  IA-64 is a really interesting concept.  However, its tough to rely solely on the ingenuity of the applications engineers to spin their code webs into efficient Itanium goodness.

For more info, check out the source article here.