Itanium has a future, despite IA32e

The fact Intel has announced "IA32e" 64-bit extensions for its Xeon and Pentium 4 processors doesn't mean the company will abandon its IA64 Itanium architecture. Xbit Labs has the latest on Intel's Itanium roadmaps, which show new Itanium chips right through 2006. Intel is convinced IA64 and IA32e can co-exist, but it seems likely that Itanium will remain a niche product.

It's probably safe to credit some of Intel's bullish attitude about Itanium's future to the incredible amount of time and money the company has invested in the processor. However, the company may have an ace up its sleeve. Mike Fister, General Manager of Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group, expects the Itanium and Xeon lines to reach price parity by "mid-decade." At that point, Itaniums will apparently offer twice the performance of Xeon processors, too.

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