Intel aims high with Itanium server chip

Hewlett-Packard and IBM were among a raft of server makers who detailed plans for Itanium-based servers and workstations that will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months. Dell already had announced plans to offer a rackmount server, expected to ship in mid-July, based on the new chip.

Itanium is the product of a seven-year joint development effort by Intel and HP and sports features that make it very different from Intel's existing PC and server chips. Most notably, Itanium is a 64-bit processor, which makes it better suited to running large databases and corporate applications such as data mining and online transaction processing. Intel's existing chips process data in 32-bit chunks.

Intel hopes Itanium will help it move up the food chain to compete with powerful Unix-based systems from the likes of Sun, IBM and HP, which dominate the midrange and high-end server markets today. Those machines run proprietary versions of Unix and specialized, 64-bit RISC (reduced instruction set computing) processors developed in-house by their respective vendors.

Itanium systems will be offered with a variety of operating systems including Microsoft Windows, various Linux distributions, and versions of Unix from IBM and HP. The servers and workstations are widely expected to be priced lower than their RISC-based counterparts, and corporations accustomed to relying on a single Unix vendor for their big servers will have the option to shop around for Itanium systems.

Unix vendors including HP and IBM have pledged to continue developing their proprietary RISC chips even while they promote servers and workstations based on Itanium. Only Sun has shunned the Itanium crowd, arguing that its decision to stay focussed on a single, proven platform will give it the edge over its rivals.

Itanium is unlikely to shake up the server market overnight, analysts and server vendors have said. Corporate buyers, never accused of being risk takers, will tread cautiously as they explore the new platform, and the availability of compatible applications may also limit adoption rates early on. In addition, Intel plans to release a more powerful follow-on to Itanium next year dubbed McKinley, and some analysts have said they expect that chip to make a greater impression.

"This is the beginning of a large scale industry transition," said David Graves, a spokesman for Dell's Precision workstations division. "Obviously, in a transition like this, things don't happen overnight."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?