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Intel 64-bit Announcements at IDF 518

cribb writes "Some fascinating stuff is going on over at the IDF. Ever since the first sneak previews of the Opteron, there has been lots of uncertainty around its future, and that of AMD. AMD have bet everything on the success of their new 64-bit CPU, and with Microsoft severely delaying the release of a 64-bit Windows, and Intel complaining that 64-bit processing has no place in the desktop market, things were starting to look dim for AMD. However, after rumours around the 64-bit extensions of the Pentium 4 EE, it became clear that Intel is not willing to lag behind AMD in the 'innovation' department. Now comes the shocker: Intel boss Craig Barrett today anounced that Xeon-class 64-bit server CPUs codenamed Nocona will be coming out the second half of 2004. It isn't clear whether they will support AMD's Opteron AMD64 extensions. Barrett is quoted saying, 'There will be one operating system that will support all (64-bit) extended systems.' Maybe 64-bit computing is right around the corner after all, and we may even see compatible instruction sets from Intel and AMD! And does this mean that Intel will be dumping Itanium, which never caught on as expected in the server market, and forget the billions spent on developing it?" See some other articles at EE Times, and EWeek.
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Intel 64-bit Announcements at IDF

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  • by Mod Me God ( 686647 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:15PM (#8310627)
    ...and does this mean that Intel will be dumping Itanium, which never caught on as expected in the server market[?]...

    I'm sure it was an interesting intellectual exercise, and that they learnt a lot.
    • by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:34PM (#8310830)
      If they do drop Itanium, it wouldn't be the first CPU that Intel spent a bunch of money on, only to kill it when it wasn't accepted by the market.

      The iAPX 432 [] was a 32-bit processor Intel developed starting in 1975 that embodied CISC technology to the max. It was innovative, but also expensive and slow, and targeted towards the Ada programming language, another market failure.
      • Classic business mistake: telling your customers what they want.
      • Intel 960 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @08:51PM (#8311470) Homepage
        Add the Intel 960 [] to the list.

        It was supposed to replace X86. Itanic will go same route. Repositioned and slowly fade into the sunset.

      • by BuzCory ( 6977 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:28AM (#8314439) Homepage
        The iAPX 432 was a 32-bit processor Intel developed starting in 1975 that embodied CISC technology to the max. It was innovative, but also expensive and slow, and targeted towards the Ada programming language, another market failure.

        First, your statements above are contradictory, in 1975 there was no Ada programming language, only a spec (steelman ??) that described what the language should contain (and not contain).

        Also, it is not clear whether you meant that the 432 or Ada was a marketing failure (or both). Certainly the 432 was. OTOH, from its first release in 1980 or so, the Ada language has been far from a "market failure", despite there being no low-cost compilers for it and despite the limitations required by the SteelMan spec. Virtually all aeronautics, astronautics or critical communications software (Military or civilian) and weapons control software for the last 20 years was written in Ada (and not just in the US).

        In addition, several commercial SW firms also found, even w/ Ada-83, that it allowed them to ship w/ far fewer bugs left for customers to find that code written in (Ugh!) C, as well as allowing bug-fixes using less than 50% of the developer resources than to fix bugs in (Ugh!) C.

        As of 1995 the Ada language is much more oriented towards general programming, as well as being much cheaper to use than it had been. There has been a FREE (GPL) Ada compiler available since 1995 or so, and it is now (since version 3.2) integrated into GCC.

        For more info on how Ada is being used and why it should be used for all new projects, see My small Ada site [] or David Botton's Ada Power [] site.
    • The Register agrees (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:34PM (#8310832) Homepage
      The Register compares Itanic to the i432: [] "Bob Colwell, chief architecture honcho for the chip that saved Intel in the mid-1990s, the P6 (Pentium Pro), described the i432 as 'a wonderful research project masquerading as a bad product'."
    • by Glasswire ( 302197 ) <> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @08:00PM (#8311058) Homepage
      ...any more than IBM would ditch Power4/5 architecture, just because they have a commodity market x86 chip with 64-bit address extensions (Opteron).

      In the 'big iron' enterprise market against RISC where Itanium is beating everything handily (check out the latest TPC-C list Top 10 [] where Itanium holds spots 1,3,4,7,10 (5 out of the Top 10 are Itanium systems running a mix of Linux, HP-UX and Windows on HP and NEC systems), Itanium is gradually out-selling all of the big RISC opponents like Power4. Note that IBM is certainly not spending the money to put up an Opteron cluster for the TPC-C test(no 32-way or 64-way scaled solutions for it on the horizon) even if they got good enough results (which they wouldn't) if they can't beat Itanium 2 right now with the high-margin Power 4. No doubt they'll have a run at Itanium again this year with Power 5.

      But there's no way that Opteron OR a 64-bit Xeon plays in the big high thoughput space, so people that assume Intel would get rid of Itanium simply don't know what they're talking about.

      As for Itanium not selling, That's funny. Itanium sold over 100,000 cpus last year which is a big number for the enterprise server market (That's more than some other major RISC processors sold in 2003 (like Power 4)). If you don't believe me Google "Itanium" "100,000" and "Otellini" and you'll see lots of links [] to Intel pres Paul Otellini's announcement back in Nov that Intel would ship over 100,000 Itanium processors in 2003.
      • by Mr. Piddle ( 567882 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @08:13PM (#8311178)
        Itanium sold over 100,000 cpus last year which is a big number for the enterprise server market (That's more than some other major RISC processors sold in 2003 (like Power 4)).

        The other major RISC CPUs sell by the millions. Your whole post is one big pointless troll.
      • by Mr. Frilly ( 6570 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @09:27PM (#8311783)
        As to the 100,000 number, you might want to check out the register's version []. Somewhere around 10,000 CPU's is a more realistic system (with 4000 of them coming from a single system).
      • by Watts Martin ( 3616 ) <> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @09:28PM (#8311787) Homepage

        As for Itanium not selling, That's funny. Itanium sold over 100,000 cpus last year which is a big number for the enterprise server market (That's more than some other major RISC processors sold in 2003 (like Power 4)). If you don't believe me Google "Itanium" "100,000" and "Otellini" and you'll see lots of links to Intel pres Paul Otellini's announcement back in Nov that Intel would ship over 100,000 Itanium processors in 2003.

        Yes, except that Itanium's biggest competitor in the enterprise server market isn't the Power4, its G5 cousin or any other RISC chip. The Itanium's lunch is being eaten by the Xeon. If you'd Googled on the less specific "itanium sales" your first hit would be IDC Waterfalls its Itanium Sales []. As that article observes, "The [100,000] number may seem relatively huge, unless we do not take into account sales of Intel Xeon processors that amount in millions."

        The problem, when push comes to shove, is that for "enterprise" customers, 64-bit CPUs are still a solution in search of a problem. As of right now there aren't any applications I can think of that most businesses use where the Itanium has a pure performance advantage that outweighs the Xeon's much higher price-performance advantage. The High Performance Computing market, which is what you really referred to above, is not the enterprise market, and as flashy as HPC is, it's not where the money is, either -- go into any business using Intel architecture machines and you will see server rooms filled with HP ProLiants and Dell PowerEdges, and all of those will be P4/Xeon boxes.

        It doesn't matter whether Mr. Otellini tells people he's happy with "over" 100,000 Itanium processors being shipped or not. Compared to the amount of money Intel sank into the processor, this is peanuts. If they deliver a 64-bit x86 processor and it outsells the Itanium by an order of magnitude in its first year or two, which is not unlikely, it's going to be very hard to justify not end-of-lifing the Itanium line and migrating customers to the new processor.

      • by pantherace ( 165052 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @10:54PM (#8312349)
        In the 'big iron' enterprise market against RISC where Itanium is beating everything handily (check out the latest TPC-C list Top 10 where Itanium holds spots 1,3,4,7,10

        Yeah, spot #1 is held by IA-64 with 64 processors, and #2 by Power4 with 32 processors, as are all except #10 on that list (where every power4 is a 32 processor box)

        Not to mention TPC-C is something for which vendors tweak heavily, and it is a fairly exclusive and expensive club to get into.

        The only TPC comparison between Itanium & Opteron can be found in the 300GB TPC-H with a 2GHz 16-way opteron cluster (13,194) vs a 1GHz Itanium 2 (4,774) SMP box. Unless a 1.5GHz Itanium2 has a significant core change it isn't going to deal with the almost 4x lead, assuming the benchmarks are good, which I have some doubt of.

  • Quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lgftsa ( 617184 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:15PM (#8310635)
    There will be one operating system that will support all (64-bit) extended systems.

    He's right. It's called Linux.
    • Re:Quote (Score:3, Informative)

      by wehe ( 135130 )
      At least on the first AMD64 laptops, Linux is the operating of choice. See TuxMobil for installation reports and a survey of 64bit Linux distributions. []
  • In my opinion... i (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Azadre ( 632442 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:17PM (#8310646)
    This is a good thing, whenever someone plays catch up, they alwasy seem to develop a better product than if they were at the top. Take for example how IE6 has slowed improvements while other browsers continue to create. A little competition is a good thing.
  • by Master Switch ( 15115 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:17PM (#8310647) Homepage
    Because it will sink the Itanic

    Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:17PM (#8310649) Homepage Journal
    Intel sure knows how to keep a secret. So what will these mystery Xeon-class 64 bit CPU's be? Opeterons with an 'i' painted on them?

    As for one operating system, who? They in cahoots with Microsoft, after Microsoft dragged it's feet on AMD? Sounds like collusion, anti-competitiveness, and all that.

    • by zurab ( 188064 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:58PM (#8311036)
      As for one operating system, who? They in cahoots with Microsoft, after Microsoft dragged it's feet on AMD? Sounds like collusion, anti-competitiveness, and all that.

      This is what I think happened: Intel thought their server reputation would trump AMD's 64-bit offering. They thought their Itanium would be the only reputable and reliable 64-bit platform for x86. They were wrong: they started having problems and delays, while AMD was well ahead with backward compatible Opterons. Intel was not going to have major market share with Itaniums. However, while AMD most likely bet their entire existence on x86-64, Intel took into account the worst-case scenario with Itaniums and developed 64-bit Pentiums on the side.

      After the Itanium failure, they came to a realization that MS was not willing to develop and support 2 different instruction sets. Praise as you may how advanced MS' NT kernel is, and how portable it is - it just doesn't make business sense, even for Microsoft, to support it on more than one platform (remember Alpha?). Also, as I remember, Linus also expressed his preference was AMD's solution and hoped Itanium would lose out. Intel is not so powerful after all. So, now they are forced to execute their plan B, and introduce their 64-bit Xeons. ... I'm sure there's more to it.

      Also, the statement "one operating system" was made by MS spokesperson, not Intel, as suggested by the /. story.

      Intel's approach is compatible with AMD's, the Microsoft representative said. "There will be one operating system that will support all (64 bit) extended systems," the representative said. ... from the linked article!
      • Intel's mistake was expecting a flagship processor, like Itanium, to rule the IT environment. AMD, wisely, expected commodity processors would do the job. Intel's already getting their butt kicked around, losing orders to commodity processors and servers. Effectively, if Yamhill wasn't going on, they'd be in deep trouble. As strongly as Yamhill was discounted, you know there was some pitched battle behind the doors in Santa Clara and Yamhill was thrust into the spotlight.
  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downix ( 84795 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:17PM (#8310653) Homepage
    Intel had to play 'catch-up" by incorporating MMX into the Pentium when NexGen was plotting on incorporating their own SIMD system (which became 3DNow!) but this time, they really got screwed over. They had planned on Itanium taking the 64-bit market over, and did not figure on AMD's x86-64 at all. What really did Intel in this time around was that AMD was doing what Intel had traditionally done, continue the backwards compatibility long past any logical point and not only making it work, but making it attractive. This is the mis-step that brought Motorola down from it's "king of the desktop CPU" position, when they released the 88k as the "next-generation" CPU rather than focus on delivering better 68k's. The division of resources back then is a step Motorola never really recovered from. I wonder how Intel will do on it.
    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hawkbug ( 94280 ) <`moc.elbmif' `ta' `xsp'> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:25PM (#8310757) Homepage
      Due to the fact that Microsoft has been dragging their feet for a LONG time on a 64 bit windows, I don't expect Intel to have much trouble at all. I love AMD for lowering the price of x86 chips all around, and bringing in some serious competetion, and I only buy AMD right now to keep that going. But the 64 bit instructions on the AMD "hammer" aren't being used right now - unless you're running a beta of Win64 or an early version of a linux distro supporting it. I had a bad feeling that Microsoft was holding out on windows until Intel could catch up... and apparently that's part of what is going on here. If I was AMD, I'd be super pissed at Microsoft for delaying a potential market share increase AMD could have had, but now will not get the chance.
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BagOBones ( 574735 )
        It may also be that MS is waiting for the Intel product so that they don't have to make massive code changes if Intel's implementation is somewhat different than AMDs.
        • See - that's just it - Intel should be the one making sure their chip is compatible with the existing x86-64 bit market, not the other way around. Since Microsoft and Intel are so close, I suspect that's exactly why windows is taking this long and Intel is making their cpu not 100% compatible with AMDs. This will definitely hurt AMD.
        • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bun ( 34387 )
          It may also be that MS is waiting for the Intel product so that they don't have to make massive code changes if Intel's implementation is somewhat different than AMDs.
          I'm not saying Microsft dragged its feet on Win64 (remember how late NT5.0/Win2k was), but that argument doesn't wash. With an AMD64 Windows already out there and established, Intel would be foolish to implement an incompatible set of 64-bit extensions.
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ogdenk ( 712300 )
        64-bit instructions not being used? Maybe not under Win64 or "early version of a linux distro supporting it"....

        NetBSD had full support for the Hammer architecture before IT WAS EVEN BURNED ON SILICON. It is also a true 64-bit operating system unlike Debian/SPARC64 which utilizes a 64-bit kernel w/ 32-bit userland.

        NetBSD is definately 64-bit clean for the most part.

        And no, BSD is *NOT* dying.
  • Oh yeah, it's on my list of Top 10 I.T. stories along with the new version of $MS_PRODUCT: is it worth the upgrade? and Linux: ready for the desktop? At least I was finally able to take off Latest Netscape skull raping by AOL off of it.
  • by ( 447105 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:18PM (#8310665) Homepage
    I think it is a pity, that the alpha processor (that was once the best processor) had to die, just because HP and Intel wanted to succeed with their Itanium processor (and are now failing).

  • by Maestro4k ( 707634 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:18PM (#8310668) Journal
    It's nice to see that Intel's not just sitting back on past glories and thinking that'll solve everything for them. With AMD and Intel getting so competitive, and comparable products from both coming out so close together, it can only benefit the consumers.
  • "Although this means that Intel could bring a 32/64-bit chip to PCs soon, Barrett said the company has no plans do so in the near future."

    Right, so introducing a 32bit/64bit "server chip" is absolutely NOTHING like introducing a "desktop chip". They still clearly are pretending that they are not competing with AMD's strategy. Who are they kidding?
    • Right, so introducing a 32bit/64bit "server chip" is absolutely NOTHING like introducing a "desktop chip". They still clearly are pretending that they are not competing with AMD's strategy. Who are they kidding?

      Dell, apparently. Since Dell has continued to be exclusive Intel, in the face of the onslaught of AMD64 PCs, you can pretty much imagine a call from Dell to Intel going something like this:

      Dell: "Those 64 bit processors are very interesting, we get calls asking abou them."
      Intel: "The Itaniums?

  • I'm still far more interested in the Sandal Platform [](1/2 way down page) and what convergence can do for me. I still dont see 64 bit applications (real applications, not just games) catching on for a while...
  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:19PM (#8310675) Homepage
    So after the Apple 'first 64 bit desktop' campaign we get to see an AMD 'first 64 bit desktop' _and_ an Intel 'first 64 bit desktop' campaign?

    In the mean time my 1998 vintage Mesh/Alpha desktop system (no, it's not a server, it was sold via consumer magazines in the UK) is still running happily with 64 bit Linux... and that was hardly the first either, an honour that probably belongs to someone like Sun.
    • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @08:20PM (#8311257)
      In the mean time my 1998 vintage Mesh/Alpha desktop system (no, it's not a server, it was sold via consumer magazines in the UK) is still running happily with 64 bit Linux... and that was hardly the first either, an honour that probably belongs to someone like Sun.

      Actually, there were Alpha desktops long before that, and the Alpha chip was certainly around before Sun had any 64-bit machines. As were the 64-bit MIPS chips, which ran in desktop machines.

      At any rate, it depends what you mean by "desktop", although your system sounds like it'd qualify. SGI machines make fantastic desktops (IRIX is very well-designed) and they're mostly 64-bit, but they also cost upwards of $10,000 (much upwards, quite often) when they came out. So they aren't consumer grade by any standard.

      I think Apple's campaign has some truth to it in the sense that theirs is the first 64-bit desktop that normal people will actually buy and use. And it's definitely the first that's explicitly designed to do normal desktop computing stuff, as opposed to high-end graphics or engineering apps.
  • by fozzy(pro) ( 267441 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:19PM (#8310679)
    I had a similar issue when they were just delving into RISC and producing good ole x86 chips at the same time. They decided to scale back the RISC and dive into x86 and it worked out for them, they recognize the need to research both and look forward and move, although some money is lost, lessons from the Itaniums will go on even if they do die, which I doubt. Intel will do what it needs to survive and most likely stay king of the desktop market.

    Cheers for AMD and their success wit x86-64.

    Completion is best for everyone in this game.
  • Severe backtrack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:20PM (#8310689) Homepage Journal
    It'll be one hell of a backtrack if they do drop Itanium. Yet it will be hard to keep Itanium viable with another 64bit chip that is (presumably) much better at handling x86 code.

    What this really signals is that Opteron, and AMD64 are really quite impressive indeed. It's billions that Intel will be dropping so they can compete with it, and you don't make that sort of move unless you're really very very worried.

    As to whether they will be compatible with AMDs extensions: I suspect Intel won't be ale to bring themselves to that. The "One operating system will support all 64bit extensions" sounds more like a deal has been cut with Microsoft to make the 64bit version of windows work with Intel's 64bit extensions as well of those AMD. In practice I suspect that means Intel will be very close to AMDs extensions, with a few quirks, and the intention of trying to grab the market and drag things away with their own extra extensions with newer chips.

    Could this be behind the slowness of 64bit windows for Opterons?

    • by isj ( 453011 )
      I don't think that Intel will have any problems with keeping Itanium viable. Itanium is not geared toward low-end systems, and in those system the CPU is not everything. It also seems that Intel has lately been using some of HP and Compaq's engineers to make the next generation of Itanium and it got a major speed increase by that. We still haven't seen where Itanium does not scale, whereas we know where the x86 has problems (too few registers, do complicated instruction decoder), so in a couple of years we
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:20PM (#8310694)
    It's actually a 32-bit chip with some horrendous rounding errors.
  • by morcheeba ( 260908 ) * on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:20PM (#8310697) Journal
    EE Times is also reporting [] that Intel may be pushing a new kind of RAM interface to compete with existing DDR and RDRAM []. At 2 Gbit/sec per wire, this is about twice the speed of current RDRAM and four times the speed of DDR SDRAM. But, more interestingly, this is a point-to-point architecture - unlike the traditional bus architecture, when you add more memory modules you can get more bandwidth. Also notable is that simultaneous bi-directional communications happens over a single wire. Infineon [] and Samsung [] have made test chips, and results are to be released at the International Solid State Circuits Conference [] today.

    I wonder how this figures into their processor/chipset roadmap...
  • by x-caiver ( 458687 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:21PM (#8310702) Homepage Journal
    If you have one of AMD's 64 bit processors you can get a prerelease version of the operating system to try out. Info & a signup link are available here [].
  • by dellis78741 ( 745139 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:21PM (#8310704)
    Actually, it was made clear during the Q&A at IDF that the instruction set would be compatible with the AMD64 instruction set that AMD pioneered and which Microsoft has already built a 64-bit version of Windows around. Intel will undoubtedly have some 'additional' instructions included, making theirs a superset of AMD64 but the main point is that you will be able to buy one version of 64-bit Windows and install it on either an AMD or Intel-based machine. Now its' just a matter of timing. I would not expect MS to do the full release of their 64-bit Windows until Intel has the matching hardware in the pipeline, curtailing AMD's current lead in that market segment.
    • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @08:23PM (#8311274) Homepage
      Yep. I would expect the difference to be just like what we see now. Intel will have one version of the instruction set (x86-64 + SSE4 or whatever) and AMD will have another (x86-64 + 3DNow!, for example). They will work, but there will be specializations for some things. Basically they are as compatable with one another as the P4 and Athlon are.

      As for this whole thing, I'm not suprised and this is a MAJOR boon for AMD, because now people have no reason not to port their software to x86-64. The companies get customers now (Athlon64 and Opteron) and more later when Intel releases their chip. The other big win for AMD is that their chips is out NOW. So when the software starts to come, people who want/need that 64bits will get Opterons and they can gain some real market share before Intel's processor comes out (especially the desktop one since Intel is releasing the server chip first). As long as AMD is willing to cut back on their prices a little now to trade for future gains, this could be a MAJOR opportunity for them.

      As for us consumers, this is a win. Intel trying to push Itanic (or even worse a THIRD arch) down our throats would be terrible. Now we have one clear "winner" in the 64 bit wars (don't reply with stuff like the G5, I'm talking the Intel/AMD/Transmetta/etc. side).

      And where is Transmetta's announcment? They should make one two! I bet they could get a good chip out the door before Chipzilla gets a good mobile x86-64 chip out there. This would be a great chance for them too, they could grab a good chunk of the laptop market becuase it would only be them and AMD, and AMD isn't marketing towards low power ultra-lite laptops.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:21PM (#8310715)
    Posting anon due to affiliations.

    Anyone that didn't think Intel had 64-bit Workstation and Desktop chips "in the pipeline", as it were, must be sitting in a cave humming with their fingers in their ears.

    The production pipeline on these sorts of products. take years, so this was not a knee jerk reaction. If you look very carefully at what Intel has actually officially said the whole time, you'll see that they simply said they would provide a solution when the appropriate OS support and perceived need becomes available, and that is EXACTLY what has happened here. What do you know, Steve Balmer announces Windows XP 64 now has support for these "Xeon" extensions. These things don't happen over night.

    It is still a fact that most people DO NOT need 64-bit computing in any way shape or form, but one mistake that Intel did make is the fickleness of the vocal minority and AMD fanbois.

    Also, if you think that the existing Prescotts don't already have these extensions (just disabled at the moment), you are also kidding yourself.
    • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) * on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:52PM (#8310972)
      People do not need 64-bit computing for standard desktop computing applications - of course not. But the point here is a further shift down in price point of the workstation and server markets - lots of applications where you did need 64 bit memory addressing or where 64 bit calculation helped a lot are now cheaply implemented on commodity hardware. And if you don't need it, the AMD 64 bit hardware still runs your old 32 bit apps better.

      Your derisive tone clearly does quite a disservice to your employer (whether it's Intel, Microsoft or related) - makes you guys look like a bunch of whiny shits. Athlon64 and the other 64 bit Athlon processors are doing well because they perform well with both legacy apps and OSes as well as 64-bit apps and OSes. They are good products, and yes, the 64 bit "higher numbers are better" marketing factor is part of it. Assuming you work for Intel (or are an Intel "fanboi" of some sort to use your own gay little derogatory term), you should be very familiar with making higher-is-better a key part of your marketing strategy, since Intel has been doing it with MHz for years now, pipelining until the cows come home to crank the MHz rating higher and higher to generate sales of new processors, whether or not their "goodness" is actually directly related to the operating frequency of the processor or not.

  • Itanium -- incompatible with existing software, expensive, great speed, not catching on in market
    Opteron -- compatible, inexpensive (relative to Itanium), also great speed, initial sales are good

    Result: Intel releases server-class 64-bit x86 CPU.

    Bottom line: Itanium is dead.
  • (Score:5, Informative)

    by Krieger ( 7750 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:22PM (#8310724) Homepage
    The The Inquirer [] has some pretty decent (if biased) coverage of this.

    Essentially there will be a single OS for the two (Intel and AMD). Unspoken is that Intel's implementation is AMD64 ISA, but a different technical architecture. If it's compatible, who cares. Secondary confirmation via Ars Technica []
  • by Supp0rtLinux ( 594509 ) <> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:24PM (#8310743)
    AMD is the only X86 chipset manufacturer offering 64bit notebook chips []. They're clearly seeing the light and hitting a market that Intel's been struggling in for close to 4 years. Intel's claims of no need for 64-bit personal computing is just a smokescreen for their 64-bit failures. As technology advances we will have 64-bit personal computing... and a few years or decades later we'll 128-bit personal computing. Intel just doesn't want to lose face to AMD since AMD is first to market and posting profits.
  • More info (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dwindlehop ( 62388 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:24PM (#8310744) Homepage article []
    Intel's 64 bit extensions are compatible with AMD's. You will be able to run the same 64 bit OSes on them. Intel's 64-bit capable Xeons are Noconas, which are Prescotts in a Xeon package.

    I work for Intel, but I do not speak for Intel. My opinions are not necessarily the opinions of Intel Corporation.

  • Nintendo 64 (Score:3, Funny)

    by b0lt ( 729408 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:25PM (#8310747)
    In other news, Intel has bought all rights to the Nintendo 64 ;)
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:26PM (#8310764)
    Not counting legacy PC architecture goofiness, 32 bits currently provide a 4G addressable space. So, apart for power-users, servers, hardcore gamers and trendy techno-posers, what's the advantage of running 64-bit systems? Sure you can make biggest calculations in one instruction, but overall you have to move twice as much data around to achieve the same thing if you have less than 4G or RAM.

    Yes I know 4G of RAM is getting increasingly common, but is it really needed? just because Windows is as thick as a whale omelette doesn't mean you need that much to achieve the same result.

    Honestly, I could understand the need to have more than 8 and 16 bit processors, to make multiprecision calculations less necessary for common things and to avoid segmentation kludges, but for the majority of people (i.e. people running Word and Excel, and playing Minesweeper a little), I don't see the interest at all. Better have good fast cheap 32-bit systems than expensive, underused 64-bit ones. Unless of course future versions of the Windows require that much power, which doesn't even seem likely for the short term.
    • Let's just say that the rest of us might get the opportunity to stock up on 32 bit chips at bargain basement prices for a while, so there's some value to be had from it all.

    • by univgeek ( 442857 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:39PM (#8310866)
      I'm doing many simulations, and so are my fellow students. Modern CAD packages for doing MEMS, nano-tech work with high resolution scream for more RAM. 2GB is barely sufficient, and anything I can feed it is a worthwhile sacrifice. None of our labs can afford Itanics. But we sure can and do need more than 4GB (3GB if windows). I've been advising people to get Opterons whenever they are about to upgrade their systems in order to have an upgrade path in mind.
  • The Register (Score:4, Informative)

    by tickticker ( 549972 ) <tickticker@gm a i l . com> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:29PM (#8310782) Journal
    According to this article over at the Register [] they may not be that compatible.

    Intel won't say if it has licensed AMD's x86-64 extensions. But Barrett seemed to hint that Intel's technology will be somewhat less than completely compatible with AMD's instruction set.

    "For the most part, (software) will run on both systems," he said. "Intel has some (things) unique to Intel, which we will make sure people write, port and tune to."

    Sigs are for geeks

    • Re:The Register (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wayne606 ( 211893 )
      So now we have to port to IA32, IA64, AMD, and some other instruction set too? And we have to do separate ports for Windows, Linux, Solaris, HPUX, etc etc?? Guess which ones are going to get dropped because the industry says enough is enough! Itanium, because nobody has bought any machines, and the new Intel instruction set, if it's not 100% AMD compatible, because it's last in an already-crowded niche. IA32 will be the low-end architecture and AMD64 will be the high-end.
  • Missing step (Score:5, Informative)

    by rqqrtnb ( 753156 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:31PM (#8310798)
    At last Intel saw the light and introduced the missing link in their offerings. They made the same mistake as DEC: a radical switch to the Alpha RISC chip from its heavy VAX CISC processors.

    Intel's shortcommings in the IA32 to IA64 switch were the following:

    1. It took them too long to provide a decently performing implemenation of their highly advertised IA64. Itanium 2 became a contender only in the last 2 years. Prices are still too high.

    2. They didn't provide a smooth upgrade path. All x86 apps would need to be recompiled in order to take advantage of the radically different features (EPIC) of the Itanium. Raw x86 code runs very slow on Itanium, compared to p4 and xeon.

    3. Their compilers are still not so mature to allow code to fully utilize the Itania.

    4. it turns out that the Itanium 2 is good for compute intensive mono-threaded code. That is a good match for supercomputing types of apps usually running in batch mode. A server however, needs to handle 1000s of interrupts and context switches / sec. Itanium loses all the nice EPIC/pipelining benefits when confronted with server types of multi-tasking/multi-threaded workloads.

    5. Although the current Itanium 2 is good for multiprocessor types of apps, Intel never came up with a decent high-speed interconnect, nor it designed/proposed any efficient cache coherence protocol for larger SMPs.

    In the meantime, AMD took the evolutionary path and provided the 64-bit capability from desktops, to middle tier servers and higher end machines. They implemented an architecture that directly executes the IA32 but that was extended to the much needed now 64-bits. The performance / price ratio are much better than that of Itanium's and compilers were much easier to come about since the x86 ISA is a well known one.

    There is no surprise that AMD made the right strategic move to provide the needed missing link in the evolution of the popular (but crappy) x86 ISA to the 64-bit arena. There is no surprise either that heavy weights such as IBM, Dell, SUN and even HP -- who pretty much designed Itanium -- put some of their eggs in their AMD busket.

    And there is no surprise that Intel realized after the fact that it should had provided the missing step and it is now playing catch up.

    Isn't unbridled competion good? The pervasiveness of Intel forced the AMD and the RISC designers to do their best to improve their own designs which now in turn are forcing Intel to improve its own?

    The same story with UNIX/Linux and MS windows.

    People need decent alternatives to chose from. Forced monolithic single-vendor solutions are bad for everyone.

    • Re:Missing step (Score:4, Informative)

      by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @11:08PM (#8312434) Homepage
      They made the same mistake as DEC: a radical switch to the Alpha RISC chip from its heavy VAX CISC processors.

      But you can excuse DEC for the mistake - they had migrated their customers to a radically different architecture before. When DEC killed the PDP-10 line, they put in a lot of effort to move their existing customer base for that machine to the VAX. And it worked. People may have bitched, but they moved because there was no real alternative then (the only other 36-bit line at the time was Univac, and they were getting ready to throw in the towel). So the DEC customer choice was either another DEC machine or an IBM mainframe of some sort. And guess which one their customers chose? Sure they bitched about it, but it wasn't as if they had any real choice in staying with some sort of comaptible system. And most of their software that wasn't written in MACRO-10 or Bliss was tied to DEC Fortran or COBOL.

      It's clear that when DEC did the switch to the Alpha, they expected something similar to happen. The few things they didn't notice? First, there were other 32- and 64-bit platforms to migrate to. A lot of the customers took the opportunity to look at SPARC or MIPS or (GASP!) Intel 32-bit offerrings as well as the 64-bit goodness soon to come out from the other two. Second, most customer's software was not as tied as heavily to their platform. In the interrim, code had migrated to C, FORTRANs and COBOLs had become much more standardized, and very few folks wrote in MACRO-32. Toss in the fact that it's a lot easier to port a program from one 32-bit platform to another 32-bit platform and it's no wonder that DEC's customer base ran away screaming. And that was the end of DEC.

      Now Intel, OTOH, has gone through this with at least two other architectures - the IA-432 and the 9900(??) - you'd have thought they's learned their lesson by now. Oh well, third time's a charm - maybe thry'll introduce the 128-bit extensions next year to retake the lead!

  • by Bendebecker ( 633126 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:31PM (#8310799) Journal
    Itanium here Billions wasted on effort Cash flushed down the drain
  • AMD Low Power (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rufus211 ( 221883 ) <[gro.hsikcah] [ta] [todhsals-sufur]> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:33PM (#8310815) Homepage
    The other big news today was AMD's announcement of the HE and EE (wtf they mean is anyone's guess) of low-power Opterons. With these lines you get a full-scale Opteron that only puts out 35 or 50 watts! True they're expensive as heck, but they seem perfect for blades and other large-scale installations where power and AC requirements cost more than the CPUs themselves.

    More information: AMD [], Intel [] at xbit
    Discussion: AMD [], Intel [] at Ace's
  • by Kiyooka ( 738862 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:34PM (#8310828)

    I've always thought it unlikely that Intel would be caught off guard by AMD's Opteron. I think Intel could have announced this earlier, but wanted AMD to become overconfident with its Opteron and spend oodles of cash etc. on developing public awareness of 64-bit computing, explaining what it is, convincing people that it's worth the upgrade, etc. Then, after AMD (who is already cash-strapped) puts all its eggs into the 64-bit basket, Intel finally comes out and says "Thank you for raising public awareness about 64-bit computing for the desktop for the past year, AMD. Now that you have no more money, we will now announce our 64-bit chip and compete with yours." Here's a list-form of Intel's strategy:

    1. AMD comes out with Opteron.
    2. Intel waits.
    3. AMD spends all its money and resources on promoting 64-bit computing, thinking this will make Intel look obsolete and make themselves the chip-maker of the future.
    4. Intel waits.
    5. Intel releases own 64-bit computing and takes over the market that AMD spent all its money developing.
    6. (AMD pulls out empty pockets and holds them like wings and wonders what happened:) ?????
    7. Profit for Intel!
    8. I cry. :(
  • by leandrod ( 17766 ) <l AT dutras DOT org> on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:39PM (#8310858) Homepage Journal
    Maybe 64-bit computing is right around the corner after all

    Wrong. 64-bit computing is ten years old with the Alpha, including PCs running GNU/Linux. Not to mention the later UltraSPARC, PA-RISC 2 and MIPS workstations.

    And today we already have the PowerPC G5.

    This all proves Wintel is the biggest drag in Informatics.

  • AMD screwed up and set the default integer size on their X86-64 to 32 bits. This causes all sorts of problems
    with pointer math since most software assumes that an integer is large enough to do pointer math.

    Their are always good sounding arguments in favor of every bad decision; it there weren't, sane but ignorant people wouldn't make bad decisions.

    If Intel sets the default integer size on their X86-64 to 64 bits they stand a chance of winning the marketing fight with AMD, even though they are late to the
    • First of all, the size of int is determined by the compiler and ABI, not the hardware. Since IA-32E is the same as AMD64, it's too late to change the definition of int.

      Second, int is 32 bits on most 64-bit platforms (PPC64, SPARC64, etc.).

      Third, long is the same size as void* on virtually all modern platforms, so that's the assumption people should be making.
  • 'Maybe 64bit computing is just around the corner.'

    Yup, can't wait for a good SG...oh...
    well...maybe soon Apple will...oh...right...
    well SURELY AMD will come out don't say?

    Why is it that just because 'Intel' hasn't come out with a widely accepted product, many people act as if it doesn't exist???
  • The post says:

    Barrett is quoted saying, 'There will be one operating system that will support all (64-bit) extended systems.'
    WRONG. Barrett did not say this, a Microsoftie did. (Makes sense since Intel doesn't make OSes)

    The article says:

    Intel's approach is compatible with AMD's, the Microsoft representative said. "There will be one operating system that will support all (64-bit) extended systems," the representative said.

    Note that this refers to "(64-bit) extended systems" -the pure, native (non-ext
  • by LuxuryYacht ( 229372 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @07:55PM (#8311007) Homepage
    64 Bit Extensions []

    From the Intel FAQ Site:

    Q9: Is it possible to write software that will run on Intel's
    processors with 64-bit extension technology, and AMD's 64-bit capable

    A9: With both companies designing entirely different architectures, the
    question is whether the operating system and software ported to each
    processor will run on the other processor, and the answer is yes in
    most cases. However, Intel processors support additional features, like
    the SSE3 instructions and Hyper-Threading Technology, which are not
    supported on non-Intel platforms. As such, we believe developers will
    achieve maximum performance and stability by designing specifically for
    Intel architectures and by taking advantage of Intel's breadth of
    software tools and enabling services.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @08:41PM (#8311406)
    While AMD have alway talking about new developpment and invits others to share, Intel keep all secret and try to act like no others exists (including there customers sometimes).

    Sorry Intel. There is no AMD words in your doc, but now all the worlds known that your IA32-e is no more than the AMD X86-64. For me you just act like a child!

    Intel IA32-e documentation: ogy/64bitextensi ons/30083401.pdf ology/64bitextensi ons/30083501.pdf

    AMD x86-64 documentation: ntent_type/white _papers_and_tech_docs/24592.pdf m/us-en/assets/content_type/white _papers_and_tech_docs/24593.pdf m/us-en/assets/content_type/white _papers_and_tech_docs/24594.pdf m/us-en/assets/content_type/white _papers_and_tech_docs/26568.pdf m/us-en/assets/content_type/white _papers_and_tech_docs/26569.pdf

    How long Intel while wait before it make the same kind "new extention" compatible with HyperTransport ?
  • Some more info... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brucmack ( 572780 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:07AM (#8312841)
    It is directly compatible with AMD's 64-bit implementation. Intel and AMD have a sharing arrangement with x86 dating back to when AMD first licensed x86 from Intel, which basically allows Intel to use whatever AMD adds to the instruction set. And vice versa of course. Generally whoever implements it first gets in a generation ahead (Intel with the SSEs, AMD with x86-64).

    On another note, these new Xeons are based on the Prescott core, so it is now extremely likely that the existing Prescott cores all have the capability, just not turned on, like what Intel did with hyperthreading on the Northwoods. It's been clear from the start that Prescott is hiding some functions up its sleeve, as there are at least 10 million transistors that can't be accounted for with the increased cache and other added functionality, even when being very generous with the estimations.

Earth is a beta site.