Itanium lives! New microarchitecture coming

Believe it or not, it looks the ill-received Intel-HP love child, Itanium, won’t continue to wither on the vine—and it won’t be getting killed off, either. Instead, Intel apparently has a fairly major architectural overhaul in store for its massive, ultra-high-end server processor. Intel has submitted a paper for the 2011 ISSCC entitled, "A 32nm 3.1 Billion Transistor 12-Wide-Issue Itanium Processor for Mission-Critical Servers." We don’t know too much more than that quite yet, but David Kanter at RealWorldTech has walked us through the implications of this announcement and explored some possible architectural directions that might lead to a 12-issue-wide core. Since desktop processors these days are generally three- to four-issue-wide designs, we’re talking about a very different animal here, almost regardless of which direction it takes.

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    • jcw122
    • 9 years ago

    What is an “issue”?

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      I believe it’s how many instruction can be ‘issued’ and executed out of order (in parallel) inside a single core.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    This guy is just another pure research project like Lanbaree.

    Itantnic is still on the sea floor. It did succeed in its goal to be a DEC killer. Too bad, it came out when the big irons were going out of style. HPC arena is getting some competition in the form of specialized GPGPUs.

      • tfp
      • 9 years ago

      Itanium? Sure just like Lanbaree they haven’t sold one of them.

      [/yawn]

    • tejas84
    • 9 years ago

    It is a decent CPU.

    AMD’s Radeon VLIW architecture which Itanium is also shares for x86 proves that point

    The trick is in the compiler which Intel seemed to have nailed.

    I want one!

      • codedivine
      • 9 years ago

      As a guy who once wrote a compiler for a VLIW architecture, I just hope VLIW dies 🙁

        • Shining Arcanine
        • 9 years ago

        It would be nice if RISC replaced it. RISC makes compiler writing easier.

    • RedAdmiral
    • 9 years ago

    Anyone remember the push Intel did with x86 arch and how it should be in everything?

      • mnecaise
      • 9 years ago

      That’s the new microarchitecture… Itanium instruction decode hardware bolted onto the front end of a x86_64 processor. I kid.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    I want one in my NAS.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      My HTPC needs one.

    • SNM
    • 9 years ago

    …I’m so confused! Who buys these any more?

      • Forge
      • 9 years ago

      Heh, I remember that too. Intel was pushing a shared socket for Xeon and Itanium, you’d just replace your Xeons and keep the same board when you were ready to play with the big boys.

      Itanium is so sad. Such potential, such complexity, such absurd lack of market and mindshare!

      • johnrreagan
      • 9 years ago

      HP customers running HP-UX, NSK NonStop, or OpenVMS.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 9 years ago

    Will this fit into my Xeon socket? Bwhahahahahaha.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    that’s insane. Whilst I don’t personally need itanium, I think it’s an interesting experiment. I can see them using some of this knowledge and working towards integrating some of the improved features into future x86 cpus.

    • tfp
    • 9 years ago

    Why would they even bother putting FPU on Itanium, SA says it isn’t needed…

      • Scrotos
      • 9 years ago

      Hahah, well played! Looks like he better be schoolin’ Intel on what’s what since obviously they didn’t get the memo!

      • Buzzard44
      • 9 years ago

      Reminding me of that thread is reminding me of an hour or two I spent going through the entire thread, just to finish and say “What a fail. Why did I waste such an absurd amount of time wading through all that garbage?”

      • Shining Arcanine
      • 9 years ago

      I do not think you understand the concept of “need”. E.g. Having a car with acceleration characteristics akin to the Tesla Roadster, but it is not something that most people need, although the police could probably use it.

        • bimmerlovere39
        • 9 years ago

        I thought the idea of server CPUs was for them to work for more than an hour before giving out? 😛

        /cheapShotAtTesla

          • Shining Arcanine
          • 9 years ago

          I do not understand your reference.

        • tfp
        • 9 years ago

        I don’t think you understand the impact of emulation…

        Also when it comes to need these are server chips but then again according to you in your thread no one needs FPU or floating point values.

        Oh Intel why did you make that x87 co-processor for my 386SX and why did it improve performance so much? Then why did things improve even more once it was on chip instead of a co processor? Couldn’t you see SA future all those years ago?

          • Shining Arcanine
          • 9 years ago

          I do not think you understand what not having floating point instructions means. If you emulate instructions, an interrupt is done to cause the kernel to figure out what to do each time, which takes about 10,000 clock cycles to accomplish for a single instruction. If you do not have a floating point instructions in the architecture at compile time, the compiler is forced to use integer instructions, which is orders of magnitude faster than the interrupt based approach because the kernel does not need to become involved.

          By the way, when x87 was made, GPUs did not exist, so all of the calculations done on them had to be done on the CPU. Intel introduced x87 for that market, but nothing Intel could do in that area could satisfy people’s needs, which is why we have GPUs today.

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