Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Apr 2010 18:29 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
Windows Ah, Intel's IA-64 architecture. More commonly known as Itanium, it can probably be seen as a market failure by now. Intel consistently failed to deliver promised updates, and clock speeds have lagged behind. Regular x86-64 processors have already overtaken Itanium, and now Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2008 R2 is the last version of Windows to support the architecture.
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Comment by Ravyne
by Ravyne on Tue 6th Apr 2010 00:38 UTC
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I thought Itanium was still producing strong performance in certain scientific workloads though? I wonder if Windows HPC will still continue to support it for some time -- it may not be very good for server workloads, but the only way I see Microsoft pulling out entirely is if Intel themselves are pulling out of Itanium.

Then again, nVidia and, to a lesser extent, AMD are gunning for the scientific processing market, and given the huge performance benefits GPUs exhibit for the types of jobs their good at, Itanium may soon find itself in an unsustainably-small niche.

Itanium is an interesting technology, and an even more interesting approach in breaking free of x86 compatability, but the technology, particularly on the compiler side, just isn't there in a strong enough way to make Itanium the clear win it needed to be if it was going to have any chance at surplanting x86.

Sparc failed, MIPS failed, Alpha failed (even with a huge performance advantage at the time), PowerPC failed (even after a good run), and now Itanium has seemingly failed.

I strongly believe that ARM has a real shot -- probably the best shot any competing architecture has had -- if they keep making inroads from the mobile/embedded/low-power space, and don't make the mistake of trying to compete with Intel in the desktop/mainstream market too soon (on the other hand, I'd love to see some snappy ARM-based netbooks/nettops/STBs and even thin-and-light laptops right now.)

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by Ravyne
by bhtooefr on Tue 6th Apr 2010 02:06 in reply to "Comment by Ravyne"
bhtooefr Member since:

IMO, ARM's best chance was 1987.

Every year since then, their chances have gotten worse, until 2007's netbook revolution. Even then, ARM can't truly challenge x86 - the ARM netbooks that are actually coming to market appear to be glorified iPads, essentially, with real keyboards.

It'll take a massive shift in the software most people run for ARM to stand a chance. Two ways that can happen: mass migration to open source, or Microsoft creating a fat binary format, making all of their compilers build for ARM, x86, and AMD64, only giving Windows Logo approval to applications and drivers that are compiled for all three architectures (unless they're not applicable to certain architectures - for example, I wouldn't expect drivers for an ATI northbridge for an AMD CPU to be compiled for ARM,) AND supporting this for 10 years without expecting ANY return on investment. (However, the way Microsoft does Windows ports, they may not need to do the funding. See Alpha - DEC and Compaq funded that.)

Then, an ARM port of Windows MIGHT take off.

Alpha almost did it in 6 years, but it was significantly faster than x86 at the time (and could EMULATE x86 as fast as the fastest x86s could run natively.) The only thing that killed it was Compaq pulling the plug on it in favor of Itanium, and killing the Windows 2000 port just before it was finished. (Of course, Windows on Alpha was 32-bit, despite Alpha being a 64-bit CPU. There was ALSO a 64-bit port of Windows 2000 in the works... and Microsoft continued that on their own internally, as they needed Windows to be 64-bit clean for the Itanium port, and the work on finishing the 64-bit Alpha port would be valuable for the Itanium port.)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Ravyne
by tylerdurden on Tue 6th Apr 2010 03:12 in reply to "RE: Comment by Ravyne"
tylerdurden Member since:

ARM is the best selling processor right now.

ARM is exactly in the market segment they want to be, why on earth would they move over to a space in which they have to compete face to face with intel.

I dunno if I misunderstood your post, but if you think that ARM has missed any opportunity for unmitigated success, you haven't paid attention... at all.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Ravyne
by ShadesFox on Tue 6th Apr 2010 15:14 in reply to "Comment by Ravyne"
ShadesFox Member since:

Itanium is nowhere to be seen in scientific work loads. And GPUs are seen as a curious gimmick right now. With the number of cores packed onto each chip exploding things do not look promising for GPUs.

Edited 2010-04-06 15:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Ravyne
by mojmir on Wed 7th Apr 2010 08:27 in reply to "Comment by Ravyne"
mojmir Member since:

I thought Itanium was still producing strong performance in certain scientific workloads though?

I doubt so.. maybe true in past, but there's cheaper horsepower available today.

Itanium is an interesting technology, and...

... as well as it is an historicaly interesting screw-up :] Really.

Sparc failed, MIPS failed, Alpha failed (even with a huge performance advantage at the time), PowerPC failed (even after a good run), and now Itanium has seemingly failed.

I would not call Sparc failure (yet) as Sunacle seems to believe in it, MIPS reincarnated in China and PowerPC is in fact very successful: there is ppc in every ps3, two of them in every x360.. that makes dozens of millions ppc cpu sold. And there is Power7 coming.

Reply Parent Score: 1