Xeon puts Itanium in the shade

IT Week Labs tests of Intel’s new 64bit Xeon processors, originally codenamed Nocona, show that the new products easily outperform Intel’s Itanium 2 64bit chips.Tests of the new Xeon EM64T, which offers 32bit and 64bit modes, also found some software ran 32 percent faster when upgraded to a 64bit version.

Our results show Intel’s 64bit Itanium chip compares poorly with other x86-compatible chips, as predicted by IT Week when Itanium 2 launched in July 2002. We also tested the 1.8GHz AMD Opteron 244 chip when it launched last year, and conclude the current top-of-the-range Opteron would almost certainly outperform the Xeon 3.6GHz.

Itanium was originally intended as Intel’s sole 64bit offering, but sales have been low. Subsequently, Intel issued its new 32bit Xeons with 64bit extensions to counter competition from AMD’s similar Opteron chips.

Though Intel said some firms looking to replace Risc chip systems have been attracted to the Itanium, many server vendors and other firms working with Windows or Linux on commodity hardware have balked at the Itanium’s relatively high price and slow performance. IT Week’s tests confirm Intel’s hybrid 32bit/64bit Nocona processors are likely to offer better price/performance than Itanium – which should encourage more firms to advance their 64bit server strategies.

Some industry watchers say that Itanium has been squeezed into a high-end niche because its only advantages are now in reliability, availability and serviceability.

News source: vnunet.com

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