32 or 64??

Smoot Carl-Mitchell smoot at tic.com
Tue Feb 2 16:20:15 UTC 2010

On Tue, 2010-02-02 at 22:58 +0800, Chan Chung Hang Christopher wrote:

> Oh? I thought the Itanium was slow as molasses? Or maybe I missed 
> something about the Itanium II?

The Itanium is not slow, but it took a long time for Intel and HP to
work the kinks out and get the performance up. Also keep in mind the
Itanium is a very pipelined architecture.  That kind of design requires
very sophisticated compilers to get decent performance.

The Itanium's market penetration problem is due to the relatively low
yields of usable chips and the lack of penetration into the low end cpu
market. In order to get per chip costs down, the number of chips sold
needs to be very high.  The only way to do that is to penetrate the low
end market with slower chips of the same design. That never happened.
Intel's original goal with Itanium was to replace the x86 architecture
and dominate all market segments from notebooks to high end servers.

You can make the argument the Itanium's slow development cycle allowed
the 64 bit extensions to the x86 architecture to "catch up" to the
Itanium and perform just as well for most application loads and eat away
from the bottom the market intended for the Itanium.

Smoot Carl-Mitchell
Computer Systems and
Network Consultant
smoot at tic.com
+1 480 922 7313
cell: +1 602 421 9005

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