Intel has changed its plans for its Itanium line of server processors, and some believes those changes signify that the company will soon abandon the platform. In the past, Intel had planned to use more advanced manufacturing processes for the next Itanium chips, but now the company is saying it will continue to use its current processes.
PCWorld’s James Niccolai reported, “Intel has scaled back plans for the next version of Itanium in a move that raises questions about the future of the 64-bit server chip, used primarily in Hewlett-Packard’s high-end Integrity servers. In a short notice posted quietly to its website on January 31, Intel said the next version of Itanium, codenamed Kittson, will be produced on a 32 nanometer manufacturing process, like the current version of Itanium, instead of on a more advanced process, as it had previously planned.”
Jeffrey Burt from eWeek added, “At the same time, Kittson will not be socket-compatible with Intel’s x86-based Xeon server chips. Instead, it will be socket-compatible with the existing Itanium 9300 Tukwila and 9500 Poulson processors. The 9500 Series was introduced in November 2012, and HP introduced enhanced Itanium servers at the same time.”
According to SlashGear’s Shane McGlaun, “Analyst Nathan Brookwood from Insight64 believes this could be Intel’s way of cutting back in giving itself an exit strategy from the line. He also said that Itanium’s time may have come and gone.”
PCMag’s John C. Dvorak noted that Itanium was created as an alternative to x86 architecture and commented, “The last laugh is that the x86 is indeed still alive while the Itanium turned out to be the dead-end architecture that Intel feared all along. The company was so afraid of the dead-end that it actually created one.”