IT'S BEEN A WHILE since we looked at Itanium 2 based systems available from the various vendors. Quite frankly, in the last 6 months or so there have been a number of eye-catching announcements that highlight the recent, rather remarkable performance progress of the Intel Itanium Processor Family (IPF) and these vendors.
Could this be the year of the Itanium gold rush?
The IPF family of 64-bit chips that was launched in 1998 with the unremarkable performance of the first Itanium is are now on to its third generation. The first was Merced running at 800MHz with an off-chip discrete cache. The second was McKinley released in June 2002 running at up to 1GHz with 3MB Level 3 on-die cache, 6 instructions/cycle and 6.4GB/s of bandwidth and performed, about 1.5-2 times faster than Merced. The third is Madison, due sometime in the latter half of 2003 running at a clock speed of 1.5GHz with up to 6MB Level 3 on-die cache and now helping a number of systems vendors yield impressive record performance results.
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