Intel Readies Itanium, Plans PIII Cuts

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-05-21 Print this article Print

Intel Corp. is poised to flood the market with new chips in upcoming weeks, including its first 64-bit processor, the long-delayed Itanium.

Intel Corp. is poised to flood the market with new chips in upcoming weeks, including its first 64-bit processor, the long-delayed Itanium.

Prior to launching the chips, Intel will move to reduce existing inventories by discounting prices May 27 on select Pentium III and Celeron processors up to 38 percent.

Under development since 1994, Itanium has been plagued by a series of delays. But following the May 29 launch, several major computer makers—including Hewlett-Packard Co., which helped develop the processor—will begin rolling out systems featuring the chip. Other OEMs offering products include Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and IBM.

Itaniums ability to handle large amounts of memory and process more data simultaneously makes it an appealing offering, said Niraj Patel, CIO for GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., in Horsham, Pa. GMAC plans to use the chip to power a new merger-and-acquisition portal that will use Microsoft Corp. applications.

"I dont think I can run the stuff Im looking to work with using a current 64-bit Unix-based processor," Patel said.

Intels 64-bit chip, to be available in 733MHz and 800MHz versions, is aimed at enabling the Santa Clara, Calif., company to break into the lucrative high-end workstation and server market currently dominated by RISC-based chips from Sun Microsystems Inc., HP and IBM.

Late this year, Intel will begin shipping the pilot version of the second-generation Itanium, code-named McKinley, which is expected to perform nearly twice as fast.

Itaniums unveiling will be followed next month and in July by the launch of seven new Pentium IIIs, code-named Tualatin, that mark the beginning of the companys transition to a 0.13-micron manufacturing process. The process will enable the chips to finally break the 1GHz barrier. The process, which allows for smaller and faster chips, should reduce Intels cost per processor.

The Tualatin chips include two desktop versions at 1.2GHz and 1.13GHz and five mobile versions clocked at 1.13GHz, 1.06GHz, 1GHz, 933MHz and 866MHz. Also, Intel will release two low-voltage chips within two weeks, a 750MHz mobile Pentium III and a 600MHz Celeron, designed to offer extended battery life for mobile users.

The May 27 discounts, revealed in a memo to Intel business partners, will affect select mobile and desktop Pentium IIIs and desktop Celerons—the workhorse chips for corporate users. The fastest desktop Celeron, at 850MHz, will draw the biggest price cut, falling 38 percent, from $138 to $86 per chip. (Pricing is based on 1,000- unit shipments.) Further cuts may happen next month, sources said.


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