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Intel scales back Itanium plans

by on14 February 2013

Won’t move to 22nm

Intel has scaled back plans for its next Itanium chip, prompting observers the question Intel’s commitment to the chip.

Intel said the next version of Itanium, codenamed Kittson, will be a 32nm part. It will not migrate to a more advanced process. The new chips will use the same socket as the existing Itanium 9300 and 9500 chips.

Analyst Nathan Brookwood said the move is Intel’s idea of an exit strategy.

"It may very well be that Itanium's time has come and gone," he said.

Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds told Computerworld that Itanium might see a new process in the future, if it proves successful enough to make the investment worthwhile. However, he does not expect any more major updates to the architecture.

Itanium launched in 2001 and it quickly became a running joke in the industry. It never achieved the volumes expected by Intel and AMD seized the opportunity to take on Intel with 64-bit Opterons. However, Itanium soldiered on for years, although many vendors stopped developing software for the chip.

Red Hat, Microsoft and Oracle chose to ditch the chip, but Oracle was eventually forced to continue development after a legal battle with HP.

HP is practically the only Itanium partner left, but Itanium’s days are clearly numbered.

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