Intel IDF Report #3 - Itaniumby Anand Lal Shimpi on February 17, 2000 12:00 PM EST
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The Spring 2000 Intel Developer Forum is definitely oriented towards a theme of starting a new family of processors, and what’s so interesting about it all is that by the end of this year, Intel will have launched brand new members of all of their processor families.
While the low end will see nothing more than an updated Celeron platform, the performance PCs, servers, and workstations will be enjoying the benefits of Intel’s updated IA-32 and brand new IA-64 architecture processors.
IA, an Intel coined acronym standing for Intel Architecture, is a term used to define the class of Intel processor that we’re dealing with. For example, the 32-bit Willamette that we talked about in our first IDF report on Tuesday is a member of the IA-32 family.
As quite a few of you already know, Intel began talking about their first IA-64 processor, which was then known as the Merced, quite some time ago. The Merced, as its classification as an IA-64 processor indicates, was to be Intel’s first 64-bit CPU and has been the talk of the town over here, although it is now known as the Itanium processor.
While most AnandTech readers are focusing on what Intel calls, the performance PC segment, and the resulting Athlon vs Pentium III comparison that emerges there, Intel is concerned with much more than competing on a desktop level. Intel is currently positioned as a leader in the CPU industry. Although AMD has recently given them quite a bit of competition with the Athlon, the fact of the matter is that most x86 workstations and servers are still predominantly Intel based.
We were talking to an Intel employee about exactly what this barrage of product announcements and demonstrations was really about. And his response was definitely an interesting one, basically he stated that Intel is concerned with making sure that the Internet as a whole is running on the fastest computers not exclusively home users. Intel’s view at the Spring IDF 2000 is a much more global one than we have seen from them or any of their competitors in the past.
Instead of focusing on competing in the desktop market alone, an area we often exclusively look at, Intel’s plans are to make sure that the entire web community as a whole is moved to this next level of processors. This means that not only the home users are running the next generation of IA-32 processors but the websites that they visit and the databases that they interact with are running the latest IA-32 and potentially IA-64 processors.
From the perspective of MCAD, 3D visualization, and other professional users, Intel is attempting to offer them more robust solutions with their new IA-32 and IA-64 processors that would be able to handle the complex designs that these users work with on a daily basis. Intel even told us that one of the customers for their IA-64 processor is Intel themselves. When designing the next generation of CPUs, the computational power required to display and manipulate the processor layout is growing considerably at a rate that will eventually result in the need, according to Intel, for the move to an IA-64 platform.