Goodbye Itanium, Intel’s “forgotten” processor line

Goodbye Itanium, Intel’s “forgotten” processor line

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2021-08-03 12:58:58

On July 29, Intel shipped the last batch of Itanium processors that the company produced, officially marking the end of a CPU brand full of ups and downs, but played a relatively important role. in the development history of the computer industry as a whole.

Released in mid-2001, Itanium is a family of CPUs belonging to the Intel 64-bit processor family that implements the Intel Itanium architecture (formerly known as IA-64). Earlier in a partnership agreement with Hewlett-Packard (HP), Intel decided to develop a new family of processors that are better suited to modern workloads, while being able to respond well to some ideas. new in the field of processor architecture.

The introduction of Itanium can be said to be an attempt by Intel to create non-x86 designs for server and enterprise workloads. Itanium-based systems are heavily leveraged by HP’s enterprise-grade hardware manufacturing business, known as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), which is responsible for many server systems containing the processors. Itanium theory. HPE calls its Itanium-based systems “Integrity”. There are of course a number of other vendors involved in the production of Itanium-based systems, but HP is still the main player driving the development of the platform.

HP even develops its own special HP-UX operating system (OS) based on Unix System V. This operating system is designed to optimize performance on HPE Integrity servers running the processor. Itanium processor and the PA-RISC instruction set architecture, which is also an HP-specific ISA.

In fact, Itanium not only failed to make a big impression on older IA-32 or RISC platforms, but then suffered from the successful launch of x86-64 platforms into the market. server field. The reason is that x86-64 systems are better compatible with old-style x86 applications, while Itanium is not.

Previously, many market analysts had predicted that Itanium would conquer the world, but the reality was in the opposite direction. The compiler was unable to extract the level of performance needed for a particular task, leaving the chip incompatible with both hardware and software devices that appeared before it was released. Itanium was once expected by Intel to completely replace x86 and change the PC world, but this CPU proved to be “skewed” shortly after its launch, living for many years with a tight market. and was quickly forgotten.

Currently, HP’s own HP-UX OS support package for Integrity servers based on Itanium processors will end on December 31, 2025. This is also the death date of the new HP-UX version. at most, 11i v3 (B.11.31).

We are witnessing the end of an era that spanned more than 20 years. Itanium was released in July 2001 and the latest version called Itanium 9700 “Kittson” shipped the final shipment on July 29. So for now, Intel will only use the x86-64 architecture. in their server processors.


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