Intel Works to Improve 32-Bit Experience on Itanium
Intel has begun popularizing a technology that will improve the performance of the Itanium on 32-bit code.Intel has begun popularizing a technology that will improve the performance of the Itanium on 32-bit code. First publicly disclosed at the Intel Developer Forum in February, the IA-32 Execution Layer is a software layer designed to accelerate 32-bit code on the 64-bit Itanium. On Wednesday, Intel officials said the software would be released this fall, close to the release of Intels 64-bit Madison processor. Although the Itanium contains hardware support for 32-bit code, the processor runs 32-bit instructions poorly. AMDs Opteron, on the other hand, has been touted as a hybrid 32-bit/64-bit processor, able to run code from each instruction set well. However, the IA-32 EL, as its known, wont be heavily promoted. Intels enterprise processor positioning will continue to emphasize processors optimized for a particular instruction-set architecture, whether it be the 32-bit code executed by the Xeon or the 64-bit code executed by the Itanium line. The IA-32 EL will be offered as a transitional tool designed to assist customers interested in 64-bit systems, but who are forced to support some older 32-bit applications.
"I think that we see this as if you want to run 32-bit apps, theyll run on Itanium 2 (with IA-32 EL)," said an Intel spokesman. "But if you want to run 32-bit applications with world-class performance, you want a Xeon. If what you want is to run 64-bit (code), Itanium is what you want."