Intel pledges to bring Itanic down to Xeon price-point

EM64T a stand-in until the real anti-AMD64 kit arrives


By 2007, Intel's Itanic processors will not only deliver a 50-100 per cent performance advantage over the chipmaker's Xeon line, but both server chip families will cost the same.

So said the chip giant's EMEA strategic marketing manager, Alan Priestley, today.

Essentially, the move signals not so much the demise of Itanic at the hands of the now 64-bit enabled Xeon, but a move to push OEMs in the over direction.

According to Priestley, while Itanium today costs 30-40 per cent more than Xeon, for which buyers get around 30-50 per cent more performance. End users will clearly pay a lot more for a given Itanium system than a Xeon one, but that's roughly the difference for the basic hardware, when processor numbers are matched, he said.

Complete Itanium systems typically costs significantly more that Xeon rigs - by a factor of more than ten, according to market watcher Gartner's numbers - and given the roles the two processor families are typically being put, that's unlikely to change significantly over time.

So Intel is essentially planning to subsidise Itanium-supporting server OEMs' margins. They'll be able to continue charging through the nose for Itanium-based hardware, but the chips and chipsets themselves won't cost them any more than their commodity Xeon products do.

The upshot for Intel: Xeon largely becomes the choice of customers who need to support legacy 32-bit apps and possibly non-mission critical 64-bit code, while Itanium is the standard platform for all new 64-bit roll-outs, from the low end to the high.

Such an outcome is predicated on Itanium spreading downmarket rather than Xeon expanding the other way. That's certainly the approach that AMD is taking, and it says something of the threat Intel perceives its arch-rival presents here that it needs to bring Itanium's heavy artillery to bear on the x86 market.

Priestley played down EM64T, Intel's recently released AMD64-like 64-bit extensions for x86. To him, the technology is no more revolutionary than the addition of SSE 3 or a faster frontside bus. He also claimed that 64-bit x86 apps won't really be ready until mid-2005. Intel expects to have its entire Xeon line supporting EM64T by that date, but if it'll take that long to clean up 32-bit code for 64-bit compilation then to get it revalidated, why ship 64-bit Xeons now?

Because AMD is a threat - customers may not yet be adopting Opteron wholesale, but if they use it to evaluate and develop 64-bit code, it makes it more likely they will subsequently use Opteron to run the finished stack. In short, EM64T is more about providing a reason not to buy AMD than a reason to buy Intel.

Long-term, that's not an durable strategy, so the better to draw a distinction between Intel server processors and their AMD alternatives, Intel will use Itanium rather than Xeon, with its 'better performance, same price' scheme. Hence this week's price cuts and the prospect of deeper ones as Itanium goes to 90nm and, later, 65nm.

Intel's strategy is also a tacit acceptance that Itanium has failed to hammer high-end Risc. Priestly cited Gartner numbers that suggest Itanium has a 3-5 per cent share of the high-end iron market. While he claimed Intel's forecasts anticipate "significant inroads" into the Risc market, he didn't offer up a timescale.

Certainly, Itanium has won the support of the big system sellers, with the exception of Sun, but none has yet switched exclusively to the Intel processor. And those who have said they intend to do just that appear to be taking rather longer to do so than they once forecast.

Intel has already expressed its intention to develop a common chipset platform for Itanium and Xeon, and that's really the first step toward price parity. ®

Related stories

Intel Itanic prices chopped
Intel: common Xeon, Itanic chipset by 2007
Motorola plumps for HP Linux-on-Itanium boxes
HP unveils Unix roadmaps
Intel gets quiet about the competition
NASA splashes out on shiny supercomputer
Intel's CEO gets blunt about poor execution
Sun's Solaris shines on Itanium


Other stories you might like

  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading
  • 381,000-plus Kubernetes API servers 'exposed to internet'
    Firewall isn't a made-up word from the Hackers movie, people

    A large number of servers running the Kubernetes API have been left exposed to the internet, which is not great: they're potentially vulnerable to abuse.

    Nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation recently scanned 454,729 systems hosting the popular open-source platform for managing and orchestrating containers, finding that more than 381,645 – or about 84 percent – are accessible via the internet to varying degrees thus providing a cracked door into a corporate network.

    "While this does not mean that these instances are fully open or vulnerable to an attack, it is likely that this level of access was not intended and these instances are an unnecessarily exposed attack surface," Shadowserver's team stressed in a write-up. "They also allow for information leakage on version and build."

    Continue reading
  • A peek into Gigabyte's GPU Arm for AI, HPC shops
    High-performance platform choices are going beyond the ubiquitous x86 standard

    Arm-based servers continue to gain momentum with Gigabyte Technology introducing a system based on Ampere's Altra processors paired with Nvidia A100 GPUs, aimed at demanding workloads such as AI training and high-performance compute (HPC) applications.

    The G492-PD0 runs either an Ampere Altra or Altra Max processor, the latter delivering 128 64-bit cores that are compatible with the Armv8.2 architecture.

    It supports 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, which would be enough space for up to 4TB of memory if all slots were filled with 256GB memory modules. The chassis also has space for no fewer than eight Nvidia A100 GPUs, which would make for a costly but very powerful system for those workloads that benefit from GPU acceleration.

    Continue reading
  • GitLab version 15 goes big on visibility and observability
    GitOps fans can take a spin on the free tier for pull-based deployment

    One-stop DevOps shop GitLab has announced version 15 of its platform, hot on the heels of pull-based GitOps turning up on the platform's free tier.

    Version 15.0 marks the arrival of GitLab's next major iteration and attention this time around has turned to visibility and observability – hardly surprising considering the acquisition of OpsTrace as 2021 drew to a close, as well as workflow automation, security and compliance.

    GitLab puts out monthly releases –  hitting 15.1 on June 22 –  and we spoke to the company's senior director of Product, Kenny Johnston, at the recent Kubecon EU event, about what will be added to version 15 as time goes by. During a chat with the company's senior director of Product, Kenny Johnston, at the recent Kubecon EU event, The Register was told that this was more where dollars were being invested into the product.

    Continue reading
  • To multicloud, or not: Former PayPal head of engineering weighs in
    Not everyone needs it, but those who do need to consider 3 things, says Asim Razzaq

    The push is on to get every enterprise thinking they're missing out on the next big thing if they don't adopt a multicloud strategy.

    That shove in the multicloud direction appears to be working. More than 75 percent of businesses are now using multiple cloud providers, according to Gartner. That includes some big companies, like Boeing, which recently chose to spread its bets across AWS, Google Cloud and Azure as it continues to eliminate old legacy systems. 

    There are plenty of reasons to choose to go with multiple cloud providers, but Asim Razzaq, CEO and founder at cloud cost management company Yotascale, told The Register that choosing whether or not to invest in a multicloud architecture all comes down to three things: How many different compute needs a business has, budget, and the need for redundancy. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022