Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 22nd Sep 2009 21:20 UTC
Intel More than a decade ago, Intel ran into an issue trying to deliver what was to be the world's top-ranked supercomputer: it looked possible that its new Pentium Pro processors at the heart of the system might not arrive in time. As a result, the chipmaker made an unusual move by paying Hewlett-Packard $100,000 to evaluate building the system using its PA-RISC processors in the machine, said Paul Prince, now Dell's chief technology officer for enterprise products but then Intel's system architect for the supercomputer. Called ASCI Red and housed at Sandia National Laboratories, it was designed to be the first supercomputer to cross the threshold of a trillion math calculations per second.
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RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by bannor99 on Wed 23rd Sep 2009 10:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
bannor99
Member since:
2005-09-15

I have to wonder if people who call Itanium a "lemon" and "Itanic" have ever used one.

I do think that Intel didn't get the success they planned on. But it is a good processor.

I have a dual processor Itanium2 1.4GHz (Celestica off eBay) that produces roughly the same speed results as a 2GHz dual Opteron when I compile my software with GCC 4.4 with profiling feedback.

That's pretty good for a 600 MHz speed difference.

Itanium has other neat features, like not using the stack for function call returns. And things like a large selection of jumbo and giant page sizes.


First off, you're not using the "Itanic", you have the second generation. You're also using an up to date compiler - after all, the whole idea of the Itanium / EPIC arch was that the smarts would be in the compiler.

Based on your description, your Itanium2 could be as old as 2003 or as new as 2006. The Opterons have had such a wide clockspeed range that I can't tell how old they would be.
Let's assume that both your Opterons and Itaniums date to 2004; now answer these questions, what was the price differential? How about typical power dissipation? What was the performance of software using the compilers ( free or otherwise ) available at the time? If commercial compilers were used, how expensive were they?

Another thing to consider is that the original Itanium was supposed to deliver decent IA-32 performance - and it didn't, even though there was hardware emulation.

So the question remains, how could Intel and HP screw up so badly? It also opened the door for AMD to take the lead on Intel's own architecture. If AMD had had more fabrication plants and better manufacturing processes, Chipzilla might have gone the way of the dinosaur.

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