Matthew Gardiner <matga...@nospam.com> wrote:
>>> 1. Itanium has been a commercial flop. Only 443 systems have
>> Where precisely did you get this statistic from? I know for a fact
>> that there were far more pre-production Itaniums shipped.
> 443 was the number of machines commecially available. Where? a news
> site reviewing ia64 vs Hammer. Now, it may be more, however, I can't
> see it hitting any large numbers soon.
So in other words, that's old data.
>>> The aim of the Itanium was to compete against current 64bit RISC
>>> companies such as SUN, however, when you charge a wopping $US1300
>>> for your Itanium and the OS that runs on it runs terribly, it is
>>> hard to
>> Chip prices are always high initiially because they need volume to
>> bring them down. This has always been the case since as far back as
>> I can remember. I remember 486 DX2/66's costing over $1500
>> initially. As for the OS, which OS are you talking about, several
>> currently run on it.
> This bloody processor has been out for more than a bloody year.
Well, it's been almost a year exactly (three more days mark the 1 year
However, Intel had great difficulty in actually producing any quantity of
chips in the beginning, which also contributed to its price. Another
contributor is that Itanium machines tend to have top of the line
For instance, the Compaq Proliant DL590/64:
It's dual processor, with 2MB L2 cache, 1GB Memory (ECC), SCSI RAID Array,
SCA Drive Bay, 11 64-Bit PCI slots, Hot Plug power supplies, etc..
Those extras are what cost so much, not so much the processor itself. Now,
try an HP Workstation instead:
That's quite a bit cheaper. Still expensive, as is to be expected with
small volume products, but that's also small volume in terms of HP's
chipsets as well which add to the price.
>>> justify to both the workstation and server market why they should
>>> buy it. Having tried it, it is like a low end Mac running Windows
>>> XP under emulation.
>> Yet you had access to one of those 443 Itanium machines. Uh huh.
> There are ways and means of accessing things. Its who you know and
> what you know.
You're so mysterious.
>>> This has nothing to do with the operating system what so
>>> ever. This crappy performance was seen in both Linux and HP-UX. Add
>>> ontop of that, for $US7,000 you can get a high end SUN Blade station
>>> with 19" screen, a very good operating system and access to a large
>>> number of software titles for 1/2 the price of a comparable Itanium
>> The current version of Itanium was never expected to be a big
>> seller. The reason is that it took too long for it to be developed
>> and therefore the technology it was designed to use was obsolete.
>> McKinley, the next version is inteneded to use more modern process
>> and upgraded to be much more competitive.
> With what? from the pricing it will still be significantly more than a
> Xeon with less pep. If they priced the CPU's so that Dell and other
> vendors can sell workstations at $AUS5,000, which is slightly more
> than a Xeon workstation, then you would find there would be more
> interest in developing the applications to run on it. The only thing
> it really has going for it is the ability to scale, but considering
> that there have been very few 32way servers shipped, instead, the
> main sellers are 8 and 4 way systems (compaqs reason for
> discontinuing the 32 way CPU line), I think AMD has a winner on its
Of course AMD has a winner on their hands. There is no doubt about that.
However, Intel is not out for the count on this. As I said, this was
expected, and Intel and HP were warning customers almost a year before
Itanium shipped that the first version would be disappointing.
>>> 3. The majority of software developed donot need to be 64bit, yet,
>>> the Itanium demands that you must do so, also, on top of that, the
>>> majority of software used is integer, not FPU, which the Itanium
>>> performs lower than Xeon 32bit processor. From the stats so far,
>>> even the PA-RISC outperforms the Itanium.
>> All expected events.
> Yet, Intel is not addressing the problems. they are still charging too
> much for too little performance gain.
They're charging what they have to charge, based on its volume. It's a
chicken and egg scenario, prices can't come down till volume goes up, and
volume won't go up until prices come down. In this case though, Even
dropping the price isn't likely to gain more sales because of the Itanium's
poor performance. The people that are buying them will buy them anyways.
>>> What does this mean for Windows? Microsoft during this time was
>>> reviewing its continuing support for the Itanium platform and when
>>> came down to it, there are two issues:
>> And where exactly did you get this information?
> Insider(s) attitude to Windows XP on Itanium vs x86-64 + Cutlers
> response to x86-64 porting rumours.
I haven't read those. Do you have a link?
>>> 1. How can Microsoft justify pouring billions into a OS for a CPU
>>> that has no applications, very little developer support, and a
>>> downright underperforming dog that has not earnt any money back for
>> MS hasn't put billions into development of their 64 bit OS.
> Ok, maybe millions, but still, it wasn't a very wise investment,
> considering they probably haven't made their money back yet.
It was a fine investment. MS needs 64 bit support, and that investment
certainly will go a long way to making it cheaper to port to x86-64.
>>> 2. The poor performance is making Microsoft products look bad, why
>>> would Microsoft want to associate itself with it?
>> Hardly. Nobody expects applications to perform well on current
> Or the future Itanium, which is still an overprice show pony.
I'm not saying Itanium is going to take over the current x86 market. It's
not, at least not anytime soon. Desktop apps just don't need 64 bit
performance, and 64 bits can add to increased bloat (Being both RISC and
twice the instruction size, that means more instructions per operation and
twice the size of both the instruction and it's data). But there is
certainly a cross section of the marketplace that needs 64 bit computing.
Why do you think Sun has such a hard time selling SPARC systems for
>>> 3. Writing software is overly complex. The x86-64 would allow
>>> Microsoft to port their software to 32bit and 64bit long mode, and
>>> pick and choose what should be 64bit-a-lised. Also, since x86-64 is
>>> mearly an extension of the x86 ISA, tuning compilers and assemblers
>>> for the processor will be fairly simple, yet, still provide the
>>> performance increases demanded by consumers.
>> I think you grossly underestimate the difficulty of moving to the
>> Hammer architecture.
> Compared to Itanium, it is a walk in the park from what I have heard.
Since MS has already created a 64 bit version of XP, it's unlikely that
they'll do a partial port to Hammer.
Sadly, AMD is just perpetuating the crappy x86 architecture that Intel has
been trying to dump for 10+ years. Itanium has some cool features, the
least of which are true general purpose registers, register remapping, and
various pipelining and parallellization. It's definately a good
architecture, it's just that Intel has had a hell of a time getting it to
Itanium is well ahead of it's time. It will scale well 10 years from now,
which may not be true of existing processors like Alpha and PPC. It may
just be a waiting game for Intel. People had similar complaints about the
Pentium Pro, but Intel managed to turn that into the Pentium II/III/4 which
have worked pretty well.
Of coruse Intel is hedging its bets as well, Prescott is rumored to be a 64
bit version of the P4 that's in development. This may be a way for Intel to
transition people to a future Itanium as well.
>>> 4. Future applications, in regards to making them 64bit will be made
>>> easier by the fact that they will mearly require retuning, rather
>>> than a re-write, as required by the Itanium.
>> One of the factors for the development of .NET was that it would
>> allow easy porting of apps between architectures. MS already gains
>> from the Mac alone, and possibly FreeBSD, but Itanium will also be a
> Yet, I don't see any Microsoft products being 100% ported to the .net
> framework. Could you please inform me why Microsoft pushes .net yet
> doesn't embrace it itself?
That's missing the point. .NET apps don't have to be 100% ported for .NET
to be a huge benefit. Say you write your app in 80% .NET and 20% native
code. You now only have to port 20% of your app to a new architecture
instead of the whole thing. Microsoft is far more pragmatic than Sun is
regarding portability. They know that true portability has too high of a
cost in terms of performance for it to ever be successful.