In fairness to Intel, vendors say future versions of Itanium will become more attractive when they are delivered in a few years' time.
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) dropped the Itanium 2 into the hands of system builders a few months ago, and the first products to use the technology have now been delivered to customers. Intel's troubles have only just begun.
The mother of all chip makers says its Itanium architecture is optimised for high-performance computing, and also for business applications such as data-mining and transactional database systems. But it seems vendors that build high-end systems do not agree.
Let's look at NEC (Nasdaq: NIPNY) . This company markets 32-way Itanium systems alongside its SX series of supercomputers. The SX series uses NEC's own Vector processor , and the chip occupies the upper echelons of the Top500.org league table of optimised benchmark results. SX-based systems are generally used by particle physicists, weather forecasters, genetic researchers and so on. They are among the best high-performance computer systems around.