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HP lens focuses Itanium-Merced strategy

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It's time to revisit Intel's Merced-Itanium strategy, but this time through the curved lens of partner Hewlett Packard. As we have reported here earlier, initial speeds of Merced will be 800MHz+, the IA-64 at its heart will be a .18 micron processor, it will have cache of four megabytes plus and a frontside bus speed of 133MHz, and the CPUs will scale between 256 and 512. It will also have three levels of cache. It will not use Rambus memory, but DDR memory instead. This, at any rate, is how close Intel partner Hewlett Packard sees the future of the Itanium. It presents a technology case for the IA-64 architecture against the present shape of things to come. According to HP, the cost performance of architectures such as PA-RISC eventually reach the point where cost versus performance reaches the point of diminishing returns. IA-64, on the other hand, avoids these problems, and HP's point of view is that although there is a so-called "level playing field" it will support more OSes than any other vendor, including Linux-64, MPE, HP/UX and Windows NT 64. HP has opened a software and system development lab on the Microsoft campus to port applications, and believes that it will be able to provide a high level of binary compatibility and native re-compiling which will allow it to have more applications available at launch time than its x.86 competitors. The lab at Redmond is concentrating on NT scalability and availability on IA-32 and IA-64 platforms, working on enterprise middleware, and on development tools and environments. Although HP, like many another Intel partner, will announce systems in the middle of the year, it realistically suspects that it will be autumn when production ramps up. HP's competitors, like Compaq, on the other hand, believe that it has extended its PA-RISC architecture up to the year 2003, in order to satisfy its corporate buyers. HP suggests that the Alpha Wildfire system, which is being trickle treated into the marketplace, is the last throw of this particular die. Next week, Intel is expected to spend a considerable amount of time at its Developer Forum on how it sees the future of the IA-64 platform. ®

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