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Intel says Sun just isn't trying hard enough

Solaris 'very unlikely' to ship with first Itanium chips next month

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New Intel Europe Merced/Itanium supremo, Pierre Mirjolet, today reiterated claims that Sun wasn't trying hard enough to get Solaris running on the first Intel 64-bit processors due for launch next month. Mike Fister, Intel vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Server Group, speaking at a press conference in Tokyo yesterday said: "Users haven't addressed a request for solutions in combination of the Itanium and Solaris. And demand isn't revving up. The IA-64 work from IA-32 applications that run on Solaris hasn't been going well. Sun's move on the Itanium-based Solaris is slow and I believe that Solaris is becoming an OS dedicated to SPARC." And today in London, Mirjolet reaffirmed: "We're not listing Sun alongside people like SGI, Compaq and IBM in our presentations anymore because it simply wouldn't be fair on the others considering the lack of effort they've put in." Mirjolet listed Linux, Windows, HP-UX and Acer/Bull/Compaq/IBM/ICL/Motorola/Unisys collaboration Project Monterey as the operating systems of choice for the new silicon. Itanium is on schedule for launch next month, said Mirjolet, but he would not be drawn on when volume shipments could be expected. He also admitted that Itanium – on the roadmap for introduction at 800MHz in a few weeks' time - was still struggling to break the 600MHz barrier in the labs. The entry-level 64-bit chip will run 32-bit applications using the main 64-bit instruction unit and not, as widely expected, with a secondary 32=bit CPU on the same die. This will necessarily involve a significant performance hit meaning the first production 800MHz parts will run legacy apps perhaps no faster than 500MHz – the 1.4GHz Willamette 32bit chip will be available shortly, posing a difficult buying decision for power-hungry users. The more powerful McKinley 64-bit processor is still on track for late 2001 delivery and will feature binary compatibility with Itanium, while providing at least 2x Itanium performance. A key benefit of McKinley will be the inclusion of a large L3 cache on the processor die – Itanium will rely on discrete cache chips, albeit a whopping 4Mb of them. ®

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