Intel on Thursday notified its partners and customers that it would be discontinuing its Itanium 9700-series (codenamed Kittson) processors, the last Itanium chips on the market. Under their product discontinuance plan, Intel will cease shipments of Itanium CPUs in mid-2021, or a bit over two years from now. The impact to hardware vendors should be minimal – at this point HP Enterprise is the only company still buying the chips – but it nonetheless marks the end of an era for Intel and their interesting experiment into a non-x86 VLIW-style architecture.

The current-generation octa and quad-core Itanium 9700-series processors were introduced by Intel in 2017, in the process becoming the final processors based on the IA-64 ISA. Kittson for its part was a clockspeed-enhanced version of the Itanium 9500-series ‘Poulson’ microarchitecture launched in 2012, and featured a 12 instructions per cycle issue width, 4-way Hyper-Threading, and multiple RAS capabilities not found on Xeon processors back then. It goes without saying that the writing has been on the wall for Itanium for a while now, and Intel has been preparing for an orderly wind-down for quite some time.

At this point, the only systems that actually use Itanium 9700-series CPUs are the HPE Integrity Superdome machines, which are running the HP-UX 11i v3 operating system and launched in mid-2017. So Intel's sole Itanium customer will have to submit their final Itanium orders – as well as orders for Intel’s C112/C114 scalable memory buffers – by January 30, 2020. Intel will then ship its last Itanium CPUs by July 29, 2021. HPE for its part will support their systems through at least December 31, 2025, but depending on how much stock HPE wants to keep on hand, they'll presumably stop selling them a few years sooner than that.

With the EOL plan for the Itanium 9700-series CPUs in place, it certainly means that this is the end of the road for the whole Itanium project, both for HPE and Intel. The former has been offering Xeon-based NonStop and Integrity servers for years now, whereas the latter effectively ceased development of new CPUs featuring the IA-64 ISA earlier this decade. The machines running these CPUs will of course continue their operations through at least late 2025 (or until HPE drops HP-UX 11i v3) simply because mission-critical systems are bought for the long-haul, but Intel will cease shipments of Itaniums in 2.5 years from now.

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Source: Intel

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  • sa666666 - Thursday, January 31, 2019 - link

    Look, it's the Intel shill again, spinning whatever Intel does as the best idea since the wheel was invented. Hope you got your shill cheque this week; you're certainly earning it. Reply
  • WasHopingForAnHonestReview - Saturday, February 02, 2019 - link

    Its like reading reddit comments. Everyone is shilling something. Reply
  • SarahKerrigan - Thursday, January 31, 2019 - link

    Remember how much Intel talked about how great the IPF roadmap was? "Sustainable roadmap for the long-term future"? How do you think those customers feel about Intel "being efficient" at this point? Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, February 01, 2019 - link

    That's sure Orwellian - dropping a product > 20 years after its introduction being considered "efficient". Don't you ever feel embarrassed for saying such things?

    What I would call "efficient" is how quickly they dropped the i860 line (and its unreleased successor). Rumor has it, the successor was quite promising.
    Reply
  • Teckk - Friday, February 01, 2019 - link

    So, they'll start selling it again when the time is ready for Itanium? In the year 2050 maybe? No one supports it, no one wants it, that's why they're not selling it. Unbelievable reasoning though lol. Reply
  • Manch - Friday, February 01, 2019 - link

    LOL, good lord... Reply
  • jjjag - Friday, February 01, 2019 - link

    EPIC/Itanium were never ahead of any time. It is a very simple micro-architecture. Hugely parallel but no intelligence like out-of-order. The REAL reason Intel was developing EPIC (and it was mostly HP to be fair) was they needed an architecture that was not licensed to AMD. The AMD cross-license deal, still to this day, is what bothers Intel most. Reply
  • mode_13h - Sunday, February 03, 2019 - link

    No out-of-order execution was one of its selling points. The idea being that you could spend your transistor budget on execution units that do actual work, instead of scheduling logic (which, to a large extent, can be done by compilers).

    Unlike true VLIW, EPIC requires some scheduling. But true VLIW code needs to be recompiled for each new generation, whereas EPIC does not.
    Reply
  • AlyxSharkBite - Friday, February 01, 2019 - link

    The real credit for killing Itanium is AMD when they brought 64 Bit to X86 the IA64 architecture was dead. Intel planned to bring the IA64 to the desktop market but with x64 there was no way people would give up the backward compatibility. Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, February 01, 2019 - link

    I'm not sure there was a single cause for IA64's failure. My favorite scapegoat was Intel's IP lawyers. They patented every aspect of that ISA, to the point that no potential exists for there ever to be a clone. This made too many potential adopters wary of locking them into a single CPU supplier.

    But I agree with your point - Intel originally tried to hold back 64-bit from x86, using it as a lever to force broader adoption of IA64. The combination of IA64's high prices, low (x86) performance, and the availability fast AMD chips with 64-bit addressing was a headwind IA64 couldn't hope to counter.
    Reply

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