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First Merced-Itanium systems get cobbled together

Silicon's fast but the power's up, buttercup

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The first samples of Intel Merced silicon have started to reach technologists and prototype IA-64 based PC systems are currently in the labs. According to sources close to Intel's plans, the company has managed to clock the Merced-Itanic to respectable and high clock speeds, but currently heat dissipation and power consumption are issues for manufacturers. Two way systems are said to be delivering clock speeds of 1000MHz each already, but each processor is demanding 140 watts of electricity, said a source. The current goal of engineers at Intel is to bring that level of juice down very sharply indeed. At power consumption like this, you could quite happily toast your waffles for breakfast. The goal of producing eight way systems also seems to be some way off. Most manufacturers are keeping their sights low, and aiming to produce two-way and four-way systems for launch in the second half of next year. Eight way systems will demand chipset modifications which are still very much in the design stage, according to our information. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Silicon Graphics will demo a 16-way clustered Itanium system later on today using a version of the Linux operating system. ®

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