Intel is reworking some of the engineering behind its upcoming Itanium processor, currently code-named Tukwila. The additions to Intel's first quad-core Itanium processors include support for DDR3 memory and making Tukwila socket-compatible with future versions of Intel's Itanium chips. Because of these tweaks, Intel is pushing Tukwila's release date back to the middle of 2009, the chip maker says.
is tweaking the design of its upcoming quad-core Itanium processor, so the new high-end
microprocessor code-named Tukwila will hit the market later than previously
an Intel spokesperson confirmed.
Originally, Intel had planned to roll out its latest Itanium processor in
the early part of 2009. However, the changes to Tukwila's design mean that
Intel will have to delay the release until the second half of the year.
Intel engineers are expected to discuss some additional details and updates
to the company's Itanium road map and Tukwila at the International
Solid-State Circuits Conference,
which kicks off later in February in San
Francisco. Intel engineers also plan to discuss
updates to the Nehalem
microarchitecture road map and other technology breakthroughs
at the show.
One of the changes to Tukwila's design will be support for DDR3
(double date rate 3) memory. Intel said it believes users will move to DDR3
sooner rather than later and the chip maker wanted to update its Itanium road map
to reflect that belief.
The revised Itanium platform will also contain a new piece of memory
technology called "scalable buffer memory," which allows OEMs to
increase the amount of memory the server systems can support.
Intel is already supporting DDR3 memory
with its processors based on the "Nehalem" architecture, which came
to market in late 2008.
"We think that DDR3 is the choice of
memory for servers in the future," Patrick Ward, an Intel spokesperson, said
during a Feb. 5 interview.
While Intel believes that DDR3 is the
believes that customers will want to stick with the less
expensive DDR2 for a while. AMD
will not switch to DDR3 memory until 2010.
In addition, Intel has redesigned Tukwila so that the chip will be socket-compatible
with two other Itanium chips that are currently on the road map. Those
two Itanium processors, "Poulson" and "Kittson," are
expected to hit the market in the next two to three years.
While Tukwila is built on Intel's 65-nanometer manufacturing process, the
company plans to skip 45-nm chips within the Itanium family and move straight
to 32-nm chips with Poulson.
Intel also plans to roll out mainstream 32-nm processors code-named Westmere
in late 2009.
Intel has previously disclosed that Tukwila will offer four processing cores
and have an initial clock speed of 2GHz. The chip also supports eight
instructional threads and uses 30MB of on-die cache.
will also include a new technology called QuickPath,
a high-speed chip-to-chip
interconnect technology that will allow this family of processors to connect to
another component or another chip on the motherboard.