Intel Finally Kills Itanium, IA-64 May Soon Follow

/ 2 years ago

Intel Finally Kills Itanium, IA-64 May Soon Follow 1

Intel Will Discontinue Itanium in 2021

Over the past decade, most of the computing world has moved to 64bit CPUs. In the x86 space, there were two main competitors to reach 64bit. Intel offered up IA-64 or Itanium, while AMD countered with AMD64. While Intel offered a more radical approach, it, unfortunately, suffered from a poor performance with base IA-32 x86. AMD’s 64bit implementation did not and as a result, won out. After languishing for many years, it appears that IA-64 may soon die off.

According to new a product change notification from Intel, Itanium is on the way out. The company will discontinue the last 9700 Kittson CPUs in 2021. These chips launched back in 2017. Major customers have their last chance to place their orders through till 2021. After that, who knows when Itanium will return. The biggest customer at this point is HPE (HP Enterprise) with their Integrity Superdome HP-UX systems. Xeons will eventually fill the small niche Itanium and IA-32 have.

Xeons Will Eventually Replace Itanium

With no more new Itanium processors in the pipeline, it looks like the family of IA-64 is dead. Intel largely gave up on Itanium and developed EM64T, better known as Intel64. This instruction set is largely compatible with AMD64 which is used in pretty much every PC CPU these days. The company took a major gamble with IA-64 to create an even more parallel system. Sadly, this effort was ultimately doomed when it offered poor IA-32 performance.

Over the past years, Intel has struggled along with Itanium with releases every so often. The company was never able to secure a strong foothold after AMD64 arrived. The only major customer has always been HP. With Xeons able to compete now with even the niche IA-64 uses, Itanium had to go. With HP set to support Itanium systems until 2025, this will be the last hurrah as the company stocks up for the end.

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