fighting the lack of good ideas

how intel could save itanium

It’s not news that the Itanium processor is doomed in its current incarnations. Microsoft has dropped support, as has Red Hat – meaning only HP supports it with an active platform in the US (with HPUX).

The Itanim should have been Intel’s chance to totally walk away with the processor market – but they blew it by totally breaking x86 compatibility, and not in a good way: their bungle allowed AMD to develop the x86-64 extensions that are now ubiquitous – even on Intel’s own processors (though they call them EMD64).

With the multi-core industry in full swing, Intel has a chance to make the Itanium relevant once again – package it along side x86-64 cores in a new CPU, a la IBM’s Cell processor.

With Microsoft now looking to branch Windows onto ARM with Windows 8, the x86 architecture is no longer the only [major] game in town.

If Intel were to co-package the Itanium and x86 cores on one chip, or at least in one package, they could start to reap the benefits of both worlds – keep the high-end, “mission critical” market they have that lives on HPUX (though “mission critical” and “HPUX” don’t jive in my head), and bring into that realm the x86 world.

Hey, it’s a thought.