Reportedly, Intel is preparing to introduce its new generation of Itanium processors, codenamed Tukwila. The chips were initially planned for 2008, surpassing predecessor Montvale in terms of delays. The Itanium series consists of 64-bits processors that are meant as an alternative to the RISC platform. Like Intel's Xeon processors, Itaniums are predominantly used in servers and high-performance workstations, the difference being that Itanium has an instruction set of its own.
Tukwila is to remove a number of differences between the Xeon and Itanium chips. Intel has announced that Tukwila will bring compatibility between Xeon MP's and Itaniums, both in socket and in chipset. To achieve this, Intel will equip its new Itanium chips with the QuickPath interface and a DDR3-memory controller.
Intel's Tukwila is to be twice as fast as its predecessor. The chip will still be a 65 nm one and consists of over two billion transistors. This immediately explains the huge die size of 700 mm2. For its successor Poulson, Intel will make the transition to 32 nm, skipping the 45 nm procedure. Poulson isn't to be introduced prior to the first quarter of 2010 though. Tukwila will feature four processing cores, HyperThreading, two integrated dual channel memory controllers and 30 MB of cache memory.
It's expected that Intel will annoucne its new Itanium series during the International Solid State Circuits Conference. Competitor IBM is likely to reveal more details on its Power7 chp, a 45nm octacore processor capable of handling up to 32 threads simultaneously. The Power7 is to feature 32 MB of L3 cache memory and feature a turbo mode which automatically overclocks the CPU by up to 10%.
A die shot of Intel's new 'Tukwila' Itanium