Feeds

Intel together forever – or at least 2010 – with x86

EPIC battles put on hold

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Intel seems to have learned its lessons from AMD's quick embrace of x86-64-bit extensions and the Itanium debacle. It's sticking with x86 chips for the foreseeable future.

"We pretty much have x86 as the going assumption," said Intel's CTO Justin Rattner, speaking here today at an Intel Labs press event. "As we talk to our partners and customers, we get tremendous resonance around (x86)."

Intel in tandem with HP tried to move away from the x86 instruction set by creating the EPIC instruction set used in Itanium processors. Rather than mimicking Itanic, AMD moved forward with 64-bit versions of x86 chips – a decision that proved to be the better bet. Itanium server sales have been about 96 per cent below IDC's early forecasts, while AMD and now Intel have enjoyed a successful transition to the x86-64-bit market.

Rattner noted that there's a tendency to look at creating new instruction sets when things aren't "going as well as you expect." Ultimately, many of these specialized efforts morph back into general purpose computing parts. So, Intel now "tries to resist the natural urge to invent something new."

It's a lesson that only cost Intel a few billion dollars to learn.

In the future, Intel wants to build x86 chips that consume 10x lower power than today's parts while delivering 10x more performance, Rattner said.

He outlined a vague plan that will see Intel surround multiple processor cores with "reconfigurable caches" and "high bandwidth memory."

"These cores are interconnected with some scalable fabrics," Rattner said. "A lot of our research, in fact, involves what that fabric might look like."

Intel has also put a system in place to test out software workloads of the future. The idea is to "guess what kinds of applications" these large, multi-core systems will be running. Intel has poured "substantial time and money" into this process.

When will Intel's true chips of the future arrive?

"We nominally target basically the end of the decade for the initial introduction of these technologies," Rattner said. "We may beat that in a particular instance." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.