Intel ships 6000 Itaniums

Blimey, they kept that quiet

By the time Intel's Itanic finally ships in March, almost everyone that was in the market for the 64-bit chip will already have one.

Since the beginning of the year, Intel says it's shipped 6000 Itanics for evaluation and has just started a pilot programme under which selected large corporates - including Wells Fargo Bank and CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics - get systems to play with.

Around 20 eval systems - almost production models - have already been delivered with 'hundreds' due to go out during Q1 next year.

So why do we say March for Raising The Itanic, when some others are quoting end of Q2 2001? It's simple enough: the Itanium will not so much launch as dribble into the market. As this is about as far away from a retail product as a CPU can get, you should not expect the tarantaras that accompanied, say, this month's P4 launch. We reckon on the end of Q2 date cited by ZDNet (see ZDNet: Itanium pilot program takes off) for the time when Itanium production moves into full swing, will also herald a marketing fanfare or two.

Itanium will launch at 733MHz and 800MHz, with a choice of two different amounts of integrated cache, 2MB or 4MB.

Intel showed a selection of Itanic systems at the Systems Show in Munich earlier this month, including a Dell PowerEdge housing no fewer than four CPUs and running an early version of M$' 64-bit Whistler OS, build 2257.

Loose tongues on the Intel booth hinted broadly that the famously-elastic official launch date for Itanic has now been firmly nailed down for March 2001.

Other vendors with Itanium systems chez Intel included Compaq, Fujitsu Siemens and HP. ®