Intel Adds More Itanium 2 to its Future

The company commits to another year of the Madison flavor of its new server chip with releases due this summer as well as a faster version in 2004.

Chipmaker Intel Thursday said it said it likes the way its Itanium 2 processors are shaping up so much that it will continue to produce the server/workstation chips well into next year.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said an enhanced Itanium 2 processor has just been added to its 2004 roadmap. Codenamed "Madison," Intel said the first versions, currently in pre-production, are still slated for release this summer with 1.5GHz with 6MB on-chip L3 cache and Itanium 2 pin compatible. The 2004 model is expected to be faster and carry 9MB on chip L3 cache on .13u process.

The chip is one of Intel's 64-bit product brands and is expected to compete with HP's PA RISC and Alpha chips as well as Sun's UltraSPARC and IBM's PowerPC lines. Intel has said it is targeting the Itaniums at workstations (expecting to sell 3 million units each year) and high-end servers with price tags that exceed $10,000.

An Intel spokesperson told that the company routinely reviews its roadmap and decided to continue its production because processor was "exceeding expectations."

The company said it also plans to launch its Montecito processor in 2005. Intel's first server semiconductor manufactured on the 90-nanometer scale is expected to be based on dual-core technology, which was originally planned for a later processor.

Going forward though, Intel said Madison, Deerfield and Montecito will all be categorized under the Itanium family name.

While IA-32 has been the mainstay PC processor architecture for Intel over the past 15 years, the company is currently in the process of introducing a new 64-bit MPU architecture. Intel and HP have developed the Itanium processor jointly over the past ten years, at a purported total cost of $5 billon.

The initial Itanium 1 product proved to be less than sterling while the 2nd generation (McKinley) has broad industry support.

Gartner Group forecasts that Itanium chips will makeup 10 percent of the server chip market by 2007.

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