Future Xeons, Itaniums to share a common platform
During an interview with ZDNet, Intel VP and Digital Enterprise Group co-manager Pat Gelsinger revealed
that future Xeon and Itanium processors will eventually share common platform and architectural elements. "The first realisation of that is Tukwila [quad-core Itanium] in late 2008, the next step in the product family, where we move to common system architecture elements, as well as full alignment on design tools and process," says Gelsinger. When asked if cache architectures will also converge, Gelsinger goes on to say, "Yep. You just get more and more, and some of the differences that we had before weren't for good reasons, and we're bringing those together." Gelsinger mentions that server vendors like HP will be able to bring Itanium chips lower in their product lines by using lower-end Xeon platforms.
According to DailyTech, convergence between the Xeon and Itanium lines will be aided by Intel's Common System Interface, which will be the company's answer to AMD's HyperTransport interconnect. The site says both Tukwila and upcoming "Tigerton" Xeons, which it says are due later this year, will use CSI.
Update: We should point out that Intel has in fact been planning to move its Xeon and Itanium processors to a common socket for some time now, although the plans Gelsinger mentions regarding common architectural elements and a late 2008 timeframe are recent developments. Charlie Demerjian from The Inquirer also tells us that DailyTech's information about "Tigerton" Xeons featuring CSI support is incorrect. The new interconnect will only make it to Xeon chips in the second half of 2008 with a new platform dubbed "Thurley", The Inquirer claims.