It has taken so long for Intel to shove the dual-core Montecito version of Itanium out the door that few secrets remain about the chip. In fact, no secrets remain thanks to Intel's friendly customers.
Intel will launch Montecito on July 18. That's more than a year after Montecito was originally meant to ship, and the delay has done no favors for Itanic backers – just ask SGI.
Bull too has suffered from Intel's Itanium tardiness, and the company appears ready to spring into action. Staffers have started plugging Bull's Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA) supercomputer, which recently took the number five slot on the Top 500 supercomputers list. The system runs on 8,704 of the 1.6GHz versions of Montecito.
Perhaps inspired by the supercomputer performance, Bull has started selling other Montecito-based systems early. You'll find its NovaScale 3025 server available with a wide range of Itanium 9000 Series chips. There's the 1.6GHz 9010 with 6MB of L3 cache, the 1.42GHz 9020 with 12MB of L3 cache, the 1.6GHz 9030 with 8MB of L3 cache, the 1.6GHz 9040 with 18MB of L3 cache and the giant 1.6GHz 9050 with 24MB of L3 cache. Currently all the chips are meant to run with a 533MHz front side bus.
"Lower power consumption and thermal dissipation improve the performance/watt by 2.5 compared to previous Intel Intanium [sic] 2 processors (Madison)," Bull says on its web site.
Later on, Intel is expected to flesh out the Montecito line with some more variety on the FSB and GHz fronts.
July 18 will really be a special day for Intel. It only took the world's largest chipmaker five years to catch up with IBM and produce a dual-core, high-end server chip.
It seems obvious that the release of Montecito should have a major impact on HP's high-end server sales. Pent up demand doesn't begin to describe the situation. Hopefully, the slower and later Itanic addition will be what customers were expecting. ®