Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Intel Operating Systems Software Windows Microsoft

Microsoft Dropping Itanium Support For Clusters 265

Posted by timothy
from the laming-the-duck dept.
upsidedown_duck writes "According to an article at TheStreet.com, Microsoft is opting not to support Itanium on its coming release of Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition. Instead, Microsoft will focus on AMD's offerings and Xeon."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Dropping Itanium Support For Clusters

Comments Filter:
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:34AM (#10796544) Homepage
    Itanic is dying. The writing is on the...


    Aww, you know the rest.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2004 @10:30AM (#10797436)
      AMD CEO: [looks at the inscription on the rock] Brother Torvalds, what does it say?
      BROTHER TORVALDS: It reads, 'Here may be found the last words of Craig Barrett of Intel. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the final Itanium chip in the chip fab of Aaauuuggghhh...'
      AMD CEO: What?
      BROTHER TORVALDS: 'The chip fab of Aaauuuggghhh...'
      AMD CEO: What is that?
      BROTHER TORVALDS: He must have died while carving it.
      AMD CEO: Look if he was dying he wouldn't have bothered to carve 'Aaauuuggghhh' on the rock he would have just said it.
      AMD VP: Maybe he was dictating?
      AMD CEO: Oh shut up.
      AMD CEO: Well does it say anything else?
      BROTHER TORVALDS: No, just 'Aaaaauuuugggghhh'
      [coders making groaning sounds]
      STEVE JOBS: Do you think he could have meant 'Seaaaauuuuuggghhhhttle'?
      AMD VP: Where's that?
      STEVE JOBS: Canada I think.
      WOZ: Isn't there a Palo Aauuugghhlto in California?
      AMD CEO: No that's Alto.
      [All coders saying, 'Aaauuughhhlllto']
      STEVE JOBS: Whooooouuuuaaa!
      WOZ: No it's 'Aaaaauuuugggghhhh' from the back of the throat.
      STEVE JOBS: No I mean, 'Whoooouuuuaaa!' as in surprise and alarm.
      WOZ: Oh you mean like, 'Auuuuhhhhh!'
      STEVE JOBS: Yes that's it. Auuuuuhhhhhaaa!
      WOZ: Auuuuhhhhhaaa!
      BROTHER TORVALDS: It's the legendary black suited law firm of of Aaaaauuuugghhhh!
      AMD CEO: Run Away! RUN AWAY!
      WOZ: RUN AWAY!
  • by Erect Horsecock (655858) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:36AM (#10796549) Homepage Journal
    SGI and HP are the only ones left on the Itanic. HP looks to be hesitant anymore though, hell it plopped a fuckton of its own money on IA64 dev and just recently killed off its IA64 Workstations. One of the few places that Itanium sold fairly well.

    Sun might bring solaris to it, but... why?

    IA64 is a really cool chip (no pun intended) and I hate to see it flounder like this, but with PPC, x86, and SPARC all stepping up with new R&D.... Who needs itainium?

    (oh and the nasa cluster based on it is neato)
    • Wrong... (Score:5, Informative)

      by sultanoslack (320583) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:48AM (#10796724)
      SGI and HP are the only ones left on the Itanic

      Siemens and Bull (both major vendors in Europe), Dell, and IBM, and probably a lot more that I'm forgetting support ia64.

      Actually pretty much every hardware vendor (that's traditionally worked with Intel CPUs) supports ia64 in one way or another.

      But this article isn't a surprise. ia64 is just presently a pretty crappy CPU for clustered computing because it's very hot, sucks a lot of power and very expensive. When building a large cluster you naturally have to balance heat, energy and cost against performance much more than you do with most setups.
      • Re:Wrong... (Score:3, Informative)

        by hackstraw (262471) *
        But this article isn't a surprise. ia64 is just presently a pretty crappy CPU for clustered computing because it's very hot, sucks a lot of power and very expensive.

        FWIW, a Xeon uses slightly more power than an Itanium chip, and yes the Itaniums are very expensive. However, I believe that both of these are going to change. The Itanium already has a low power model at 1GHz, and Intel is looking at upping the speed of these low power offerings. And they better start reducing their prices.

        And being that
      • Re:Wrong... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2004 @09:36AM (#10797097)
        Itanium isn't good for clusters. Power970 is a example of a good cpu for clusters.

        However Itanium is good for single image NUMA architectures. They can do things very well that clusters are very crappy at. And Clusters can do lots of stuff cheaper and faster then those big NUMA stuff comes from.

        Itanium is being pushed increasingly into higher end computers. You know why Itanium is important?

        Power970 cpu limit: 2-4 cpus
        Opteron cpu limit: 8 cpus
        Itanium cpu limit: 512 cpus.

        SGI is being very successfull with it's 512 itanium machines running Linux.

        That's 512 cpus with ONE OS running a single Linux 2.6 kernel. (series 2.4 kernels didn't scale well past 4 cpus, and hit a brick wall in performance at 16 cpus. In one revision from 2.4 to 2.6 turned linux into a viable supercomputer-level peice of software BTW)

        For example that 2nd ranked "top500" computer is a 20 machine Beowolf style cluster. Each machine has 512 cpus.

        SGI was able to build a 10,160cpu cluster in 4 months.

        Hell when they started construction in less then 2 weeks they were running space shuttle simulations on it.

        That's AS it was being built.

        You can't do that with power970's. You can't do that with Opterons. Those Itaniums are not going anywere, and comparing them to Opterons and Power970's is a mistake. These proccessors are in completely different leages.

        The Opteron and Power970 just doesn't compete with them. And remember that even though clusters are very impressive but are not suitable for many tasks.

        It competes with the Sun Sparcs and IBM Power architectures. Currently IBM is dominating...

        And to say that the cpu that runs the #2 ranked cluster (and completely dominates the highest ranked Power970 or x86 machine) is a crapy clusting cpu is just plain ignorant.

        Personally I would think it's more of a indication of Microsoft's inability or lack of desire to support operating systems that run at this level. Windows always has and continues to be only a mid to low end operating system.
        • Re:Wrong... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Paul Jakma (2677) <paul+slashdot@jakma.org> on Friday November 12, 2004 @11:14AM (#10797763) Homepage Journal
          Itanium cpu limit: 512 cpus.

          SGI is being very successfull with it's 512 itanium machines running Linux.


          Note that SGI are doing this with very very special hardware. IIRC each CPU brick in an Origin has 4 itanics. All these bricks are then interconnected with very very special CPU interconnect routers.

          That these machines go to 512 CPUs has *nothing* to do with the CPUs being Itanic, it's all down to the ccNUMA interconnect technology (which SGI initially acquired from Cray). If you need further convincing of this, note that the Origin 3k architecture SGIs machines have essentially the same architecture, but use MIPS CPUs. This architecture could be applied to Opteron too, and probably with less effort, as Opteron natively supports ccNUMA and comes with CPU networking built-in.

          • Re:Wrong... (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cmaxx (7796)
            Ironically Opteron would be a less good fit than, say, Xeon, for the engineering that SGI have done for MIPS and Itanium, exactly because it has native support for ccNUMA and has integral memory controllers.

            Someone else pointed out the scaling numbers. Opteron scales better than 8 CPUs. 8CPUs is what you can do without glue chipsets, which is pretty darned great.

            Newisys have a chipset that extends the CC and addressing of Opterons so that you can put upto 32 in a system.

            When dual opterons are available,
        • Re:Wrong... (Score:3, Informative)

          by Sivar (316343)

          Itanium is being pushed increasingly into higher end computers. You know why Itanium is important?

          Power970 cpu limit: 2-4 cpus
          Opteron cpu limit: 8 cpus
          Itanium cpu limit: 512 cpus.

          I'm afraid you are quite incorrect.

          A system builder is not limited by the processor architecture in how many processors can be added to a single system. If a company were willing to throw enough money at it, you could have a 32-way i386. It would be rather inefficient, as the i386 is not designed to make SMP systems efficient a

      • Re:Wrong... (Score:3, Informative)

        by ottffssent (18387)
        Dell. IBM. Right.

        Q1 this year, IBM sold 2 Itanium boxes. Yup, 2. Up to 200 by second quarter. IBM sells that many Power machines in about 6 hours. Dell shipped fewer than IBM; Bull shipped 80 but made more money than Dell ($5m versus $4m) Only HP, with about 80% of the ia64 market, shipped more Itaniums than Opterons. Even with Opterons selling for roughly 10% the cost of Itaniums, ia64 barely beat out Opteron in profits, and hasn't a prayer in Q3 and Q4.

        The ENTIRE ia64 market for the first half o
    • Sun might bring solaris to it, but... why?

      Sun seems Very happy with the AMD partnership as it is. http://www.sun.com/amd/ [sun.com]

      So I do not see this likely.

    • Sun had planned to put Solaris onto Itanium but the slow sales is their reasoning to drop that plan.
    • When the Itanium came out and was given that goofy name, I always thought it would be the 'Edsel' of processors... [libertyhaven.com] and indeed it sure enough is turning out that way.
  • by Thaidog (235587) <slashdot753NO@SPAMnym.hush.com> on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:36AM (#10796551)
    The only place I see the Itaniums making it anywhere is SGI. They're using them for all their supercomputers running linux. Let's hope they keep the mips line... just in case ;)
    • by EyeSavant (725627) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:50AM (#10796591)
      MIPS is dead.

      SGI are pretty much commited to moving everyone to Itanic, they are only selling MIPS stuff to people who REALLY REALLY want backward compatability. MIPS chips are not going to get much faster, they are not going to bring out a proper new generation, most of the improvements are going to be from shrinking the gates on the chips.

      Making a chip costs a stupidly big amount of money, and MIPS does not have the volume to justify it.

      If Itanic sinks (really sorry) then SGI will eventually be bought up by IBM for their shared memory tech, and customer roladex.

      SGI have bet the company on Itanic
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:35AM (#10796694)
        SGI has bet the company no more on Itanium than HP has. Sure, they'd rather stick to their current line of IA64-based products for a little while, but if Itanium dies, SGI can still move to another chip. No doubt the costs would be significant, but I wouldn't expect it to be so bad that SGI would go belly up over it.

        Why?

        Because their core technology seems to be relatively independent of the CPU. The Altix line really just builds on the Origin line. It's the connections between machines (NUMAflex), and their understanding of high-performance computing in general, that will keep them afloat.

        What's more interesting is, what would they move to iff IA64 would be discontinued (which is still very unlikely, but let's assume it does)? AMD64 is an option, Cray are showing it works well with their RedStorm machines. Or perhaps SGI can find an ally in IBM with their POWER chips. The latter is IMO more likely because SGI is a firm believer in RISC, and when IA64 is dead, POWER is the last in the line of RISC chips with competitive performance. Or perhaps they can revive their MIPS based lines.

        What's actually more interesting is, what is HP going to do when more vendors move away from IA64 and they risk ending up being the only ones selling them???

      • You can rest assured that if Itanic is killed off the SGI line would jump straight over to Xeon.

        The next generation of Xeon and Itanic will have compatible buses according to the current roadmaps, and SGI would haev much less reengineering to do than if they wanted to use Opteron.

        SGI's current plans are far more interesting then just coping with CPU supply changes though - they want to add vector processors and FPGAs into the mix.

        In the meantime Altix kicks butt.

      • MIPS is doing pretty well in the embedded world. I recently worked on a SOC project that contained an onboard MIPS core.

        • Not all that well, MIPS Technolgoies was loss making for a while, it revenues for the last quarter were only $14.6m, whereas ARM's revenues were $70m, and ARM has a higher operating margin despite exchange rate movements going against it. Further more it looks as though they are going to lose share in the games console market, and possibly some others. My point is that they are a player but they are not doing very well given the size of the market.
    • SGI has made a bad habit of betting on the
      wrong technology more than once. (Don't
      get me wrong -- SGI has been a company of
      high quality servers and workstations, with
      inovative technology from brilliant staff.)
      They have had a tendency to buy other company's
      at a very high price, and sell them at the
      bottom of the market. SGI sold off MIPS a
      long time ago, sadly, as well as Cray Research.
      Their foray into WinNT workstations was a total
      disaster, not due to a lack of superiority but
      because of not knowing the marke
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:38AM (#10796558) Journal
    Does Microsoft's dropping of the Itanium from it's supported platform list herald the end of Itanium? No. In fact, Microsoft wasn't even the first to drop it, rather HP was the first to go ahead and stop using it in its high end servers. The whole thing boils down to the cost/benefit ratio which is insanely high for Itanium-based machines.

    So Intel now gets a boost to its Xeon line of chips which are leading the high-performance server market percentage-wise. With this, Intel can put more effort into ramping Xeon production and subsequently driving the prices down there, and likewise continue producing the superfast Itaniums in servers running Linux or some other proprietary supercomputer operating system.

    The demand for supercomputers is low. It will always be low. As technology progresses, the normal users like us get to reap the rewards of this high technology and eventually those supercomputers will be available to us on a single board. The supercomputers of that future will be supersupercomputers and the demand will still be small.

    So let the Itanium fit its niche in the super-highend market. Let the Xeons fill in the normal server market. And let Microsoft stay out of the supercomputer market where it simply doesn't fit.
    • The problem here is intel spent a fortune developing a whole new architechture trying to get people away from x86. They cant be content to just let the market flood with xeons. A lost itanium sale doesnt automatically mean a xeon sale. While more XEON sales mean money for intel, they really need to try to make up their investment or it would be like throwing money in the garbage.

      Despite all of this i agree wiht you..MS doesnt belong in the supercomputer market. But i doubt intel spent billions developing t
    • by bani (467531) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:01AM (#10796619)
      The problem here is that intel is sinking billions into itanic, its a black hole for money and intel keeps throwing more money into it trying to save face.

      itanium has not delivered on a single design goal since its inception. intel went full steam ahead on itanium, placing bets on a number of key technologies to pan out in order to sustain itanium development -- all of which never happened.

      so now intel is stuck with an incomplete chip with projected market share shrinking, support drying up, and partners abandoning ship.

      intel continues to sink huge sums of money into itanium on an incredibly tiny niche market, which would be better spent investing on developing technology for their core markets. right now amd is eating them for lunch with amd64.
      • The problem here is that intel is sinking billions into itanic, its a black hole for money and intel keeps throwing more money into it trying to save face.

        Indeed, one of the hardest things in business planning is the axiom "Never count the sunken cost" since prestige seems to allways come in the way.

      • intel is sinking billions into itanic

        Don't you mean "itanic is sinking into ..."? Oh, never mind.

      • itanium has not delivered on a single design goal since its inception. intel went full steam ahead on itanium, placing bets on a number of key technologies to pan out in order to sustain itanium development -- all of which never happened.

        And which of the world's leading microprocessor companies do you run or even work for?

        How do you explain the Itanium failing so badly in its design goals that it is #1 in memory bandwidth [virginia.edu]? How do you explain their failure when creating 2 of the top 5 [top500.org] computers in the wo
    • Do you happen to work in Intel's marketing or public relations departments?
    • by cmaxx (7796) on Friday November 12, 2004 @08:32AM (#10796847)
      HP are dropping them from their high-end workstations.

      Not their high-end servers.
    • I had a similar thought: this sounds to me like M$ refocusing on their own strengths, rather than trying to overreach to support something that's not really in their marketsphere anyway. I doubt it really has anything to do with Itanium's future, or lack thereof as the case may be.

      [article type="doomed"]
      -- FOO decides not to support BAR, which they never really did in the first place...
      -- Slashdot immediately cries in full tongue, "BAR is dying!!"
      [/article]

      There! All such future stories are now dupes. ;)
  • Future (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Elithris (789957) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:38AM (#10796559)
    This is a smart move. The Itanium was built for a niche market. Due to it's high price, and low performance to price ratio, the Itanium isn't popular. But Microsoft has so much weight that it could probably stop supporting intel processors and still come out alive, albeit heavily damaged. If I were Microsoft, I'd try to buy (or merge) with AMD or Intel, then stop OS support for my competitor, leaving them helpless. It would be risky, but if I were a selfish, inconsiderate, greedy, power-hungry, monopoly driven CEO, that's what I would do :).
    • Re:Future (Score:5, Interesting)

      by turgid (580780) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:07AM (#10796630) Journal
      The Itanium was built for a niche market.

      No it wasn't. Intel developed to itanic as a "post-RISC" design to crush all the 64-bir RISC processors, and to take over the workstation and server market. It was designed to be _the_ volume 64-bit processor with spectacular performance and low price due to economies of scale.

      Those of us with a passing interest in microprocessors knew it was a turkey.

      The only thing itanic has going for it is high SPEC FP scores. On everything else it is either poor or mediocre. It is hot, power-hungry, expensive, have virtually no software support, no developer community etc.

      If you look closely at the "benchmark" comparisons that HP and intel put out for public consumption, you will see they usually only compare with very old models from competitors. Also notice the kind of workloads they compare and the configuration of the machines.

      SGI recently might have given NASA a free itanic supercomputer if the rumours are true, accounting for a whole 10% of this years itanic shipments. That sounds like a processor in trouble.

      Itanic was a solution looking for a problem. It was based on out-dated ideas of processr design, it was late, over-engineered and basically a damp squib for all but the handful of people who can afford it for numbercrunching. This is a far cry from the de-facto 64-bit, mass-market, low-cost processor with world domination that intel intended for it to be.

      • Re:Future (Score:5, Interesting)

        by EyeSavant (725627) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:23AM (#10796674)
        The only thing itanic has going for it is high SPEC FP scores. On everything else it is either poor or mediocre.

        I have to second that. My feeling on it is when they had a meeting with a blank piece of paper to design this chip they only invited hardware people. All the tough stuff has been moved into software.

        I think the lack of out of order execution really hirts them. If you don't do an amazing job with the compiler then the processor moves like a slug. In the supercomputer centre I used to use they "upgraded" their 512 processor MIPS machine by adding a 400 processor (or so) Itanic box. For a lot of things without extra optimization of the source code (i.e. just compìling the thing, assuming you could get it to compile, but that is another story) the Itaniums were SLOWER than the 3 year old MIPS processors. It takes a lot of tweaking to get anything like peak performance

        There are 3 FPU pipleines that you have to fill at compile time to get maximum performace out of the thing. Identifying THREE parallel instructions at compile time, ALL THE TIME, is damn hard, and normally the compilers fail. Hence slow.

        It is just too hard to get anything like the theoretical peak performance out of the thing for stuff other than benchmarks.
        • Identifying THREE parallel instructions at compile time, ALL THE TIME, is damn hard, and normally the compilers fail.

          Not in the supercomputer world. Jobs where you really need high processing power have already been reduced to highly parallelizable algorithms. This trend started in the 1930's and 1940's, when "parallel" meant a room full of people, each with a mechanical adding machine.

          People sometimes feel surprised when confronted with the fact that "supercomputers" existed in the 1940's, but they did.

        • My feeling on it is when they had a meeting with a blank piece of paper to design this chip

          Hmm.. they had alot of help from the alpha design they bought.. however, they managed to cripple it beyond recognition....
          • Re:Future (Score:3, Informative)

            by sphealey (2855)
            > Hmm.. they had alot of help from the alpha
            > design they bought.. however, they managed to
            > cripple it beyond recognition....

            The Itanium and its grandparents at HP were already in production by the time HP bought Compaq (which had previously bought DEC, the creator of the Alpha). HP did reassign many Alpha engineers to Itanium work, but that was widely believed to be a move to no-compete-prevent them from going to Fujitsu and continuing their work on Alpha.

            sPh
        • Re:Future (Score:3, Interesting)

          by po8 (187055)

          Identifying THREE parallel instructions at compile time, ALL THE TIME, is damn hard, and normally the compilers fail. Hence slow.

          Actually, one of my MS students and I did some work, later extended in a MS thesis [passagen.se] by Svante Arvedahl, that showed that it is pretty straightforward to produce decently-scheduled code for the IA-64 on a JIT basis using combinatorial search techniques and related heuristics. The cool part about this is that you can then use HotSpot(TM)-type techniques to get your instruction-le

      • Must of taken a *long* time to get specfp up given the brain damaging "software has to do it" thing on itanic. All I want (personally) is a low watt, high screaming 64 bit version of the 11...Somebody resurrect the Alpha or implement the stanford cpu please? (You are right VLIW was soo 1980's wasn't it..) - oops I wrote 32 bit initially.

        The irony is that when we get a mass market 64 bit
        processor the first thing some of us will do is
        to make a good emulator for the old 36 bit cpu's
        (grins)
      • Monday Forbes reports Intel told software companies they should license a multi-core chip as one processor [forbes.com]. Also on Monday, Intel compared their new Itanium to the "best published RISC" machine [intel.com]. Their graph indicates a 64-processor Itanium is about the same SpecIntRate as a 64-processor RISC machine. Now the funny part is for the RISC result they used the 32 chip Power5 SpecIntRate [spec.org] as 64-processors. So 64 Itanium-2 chips are really about the same as 32 Power-5 chips. So while Intel advocates per-chip li
    • Re:Future (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 1000101 (584896) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:10AM (#10796640)
      "If I were Microsoft, I'd try to buy (or merge) with AMD or Intel, then stop OS support for my competitor, leaving them helpless"

      I think that should read "If I were AMD or Intel, I'd try to buy (or merge) with Microsoft..." My point is that AMD or Intel would like to dominate their market completely. Microsoft already does that.

    • > The Itanium was built for a niche market.

      Intel always claims that Superchip X is built for a niche market - "servers and workstations only" - then crushes the competition by shipping 50,000,000 units to Dell for PCs.

      That this strategy didn't work for the Itanium is bad news for Intel.

      sPh
  • Makes economic sense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <giles.jones@nOspam.zen.co.uk> on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:41AM (#10796566)
    Itanium is too small a market for Microsoft to devote developer time to. They're better off getting longhorn ready than supporting an already dead platform. Itantium will go the way of the Pentium Pro, another hyped up CPU that never really delivered.

    Seems like the Wintel alliance isn't so strong these days. Microsoft opting for IBM's PPC processor for XBox 2 is another example of how they're looking what hardware is best for the job, instead of what their traditional partners can offer.
    • by Paul Jakma (2677) <paul+slashdot@jakma.org> on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:20AM (#10796660) Homepage Journal
      Pentium Pro, another hyped up CPU that never really delivered.

      Hang on, you are joking, right?

      PPro has probably been Intel's best chip architecture to date. The initial P6 had bad 16bit performance, which made it a bad choice for consumers are that time, but it was very competitive in normal 32bit mode, idea for NT, Linux and other PC Unixen. The 2nd iteration of the P6 architecture fixed the 16bit issue and was enormously successful. The latest iteration of that arch (Pentium-M) is quietly outperforming the architecture designed to replace it, the P4, at nearly half the clock speed and far less power usage. Indeed, it looks like Intel will be going *back* to the P6 family in future as its 'frontline' PC architecture.

      So you must be joking.
      • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Friday November 12, 2004 @08:22AM (#10796825)
        The initial P6 had bad 16bit performance, which made it a bad choice for consumers are that time, but it was very competitive in normal 32bit mode, idea for NT, Linux and other PC Unixen. The 2nd iteration of the P6 architecture fixed the 16bit issue and was enormously successful.
        Sorry, wrong on the 16bit issue. The 2nd iteration of the P6 architecture, aka Pentium III, still sucked with 16 bit software. It was saved by the introduction of 32bit software and a (mostly) 32 bit OS.

        I remember a software project I was working on in 1998, where we still used Delphi 1 (16bit) because the customer still had a Win3.11 environment.

        When we ran that program side-by-side on a Pentium MMX with 200MHz and a Pentium III with 450 MHz, the old Pentium MMX was roughly twice as fast.
    • I think Intel would kill to have itanic be as successful as the Pentium Pro. It was the core of their best selling processors for like seven years or more(PPro,P2,P3,Celeron1+2,P-M).
    • *looks over at PPro firewall*

      The PPro may have been over-hyped, but it _was_ a seriously good chip. In fact, it heralded the best line of CPUs Intel ever produced, the PII/PIII/PM line. They're currently in the process of ditching the Pentium 4 to go _back_ to the PM, which is at heart a PPro. The PPro also spawned the Xeon line, until Intel moved it across to Pentium 4 a while ago. The PIII Xeon was a _mightly_ fine chip.

      Overall ... I'd argue that the PPro really did deliver.
      • by gilesjuk (604902)
        While the core was an improvement on the previous chips the original PentiumPro was rather expensive and in my eyes didn't really offer the sort of performance gains to justify it. Likewise with the initial P4 processors.

        Subsequent processors based on the core have been better. But going from a 750Mhz PIII to a 900Mhz Athlon was an incredible leap in performance, so I'd argue that AMD have forced Intel to buck up their ideas.
  • by ortcutt (711694) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:41AM (#10796567)
    Does anyone want a Windows Supercomputer anyway? Does Microsoft really think they have a chance in this sector considering how entrenched *nix is?
    • by luvirini (753157) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:48AM (#10796583)
      You would be surprised at the number of people who are currently trying to run low end "supercomputer"-like things on windows machines or groups of them.

      I do not currently see any special reason for anyone to run that on the highend level, as all those things are so specialised anyway, so you can get the right staff.

      But the fact is, many of the aplications that low-end supercomputing could be used for are quite "common" in many enviroments. This coupled with the fact that extremly many companies have very entrenched Microsoft-only IT-cultures, makes me think there will be quite many of "supercomputers" running windows.

      Please note the use Supercomputer in quotes, as most of these systems are really not going to be supercomputers, more something like "mini-supers".

      • Are these scientific or business apps primarily?
        • by luvirini (753157) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:08AM (#10796634)
          Well, most are likely to be Business analysis types of things as the engineering departments of most companies tend to be more indepenedent. But you have to rememember that there is a huge number of computer science people in the world who have basically a windows based education. So the combination of those makes me think that the product in question might actually get quite many sales alsoe outside immediate business applications in the low end supercomputing arena. But the current ones I have seen have mostly been of the business-analysis type things.
    • by pchan- (118053) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:56AM (#10796745) Journal
      Does anyone want a Windows Supercomputer anyway?

      i don't know about you guys, but the first thing i look for in a supercomputer is an easy to use graphical user interface. who wants to spend all that time typing archaic commands into their supercomputer's commandline? i just put NumberCrunch.exe on my desktop, and doubleclick it when i'm ready to launch. and all of my computations are stored on my shared folder, so that the other nodes can see what i've done and add their results. and while my program is running in the background i can also browse the web or play a little doom 3 (you would not believe the frame rates i get). but remember, turn off your screensavers if you want your supercomputer to reach its full power, because that opengl flying windows thing takes up alot of cpu time.
      • oh my gawd... someone didn't see the joke and modded you "insightful"!!!!!!!!!
        • A few modders mod funny posts insightful because a "funny" mod does not contribute to karma.

          Not that this should be an issue. If someone is funny, they usually also come up with the occasional insightful/interesting/informative post. So, IMHO, it doesn't really matter that much.

          Honestly, if you really feel the need to make sure a funny poster's comment deserves karma, I think the better alternative to modding funny "insightful" would be to mod them "underrated".

      • How did this get to insightful? Humour - not always supported in the moderator's brain.
    • Yea you get this poor Microsoft Certified Administrator in this mid size buisness. Then all of a sudden it grows rapidly. So the solution is to get a bigger box (since Windows doesn't scale well especially compared to Solaris and other UNIX) So these people are always looking at the latest windows compatible hardware trying to allow their systems to scale. Although Technology moves fast, Sometimes buisness growth moves faster.
      • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 12, 2004 @09:48AM (#10797155)
        You have no idea! That's about right. I work with PDF documents for a printing company. We've been doing mostly small documents processing - up to say 5000 pages. Process the pages, re-order them, send to big printers.

        The processing takes something like 4-48 hrs on a nice fast P4 3.2ghz box.

        Well, all of the sudden, a client wants us to process a 100,000 page document. Ohh. Hmm. Interesting. Well, well, what to do now! We have 72 hrs to get it to press..

        Clusters here we come. What else can we do! Spent a few weeks tweaking and profiling and fixing the code and that helped a lot. But now its just plain CPU bound!

        The processing parallesizes fairly well, so a nice cluster of boxes would be the best solution I can think of. And since everything is already Windows based....

        ...what other options do we have!
    • The 2004 SuperComputing conference in Pittsburgh is just wrapping up today. I've spent the last few days soaking it in, and chuckling with other folks about the Windows Cluster concept.

      However, Microsoft isn't targeting techies. They're not going after linux users for sure. They know that their solutions are a total flop where scaling is concerned, and it appears that they're conceding the mid- and high-end markets to the *nix vendors. MS is going after the small ones. Don't know anyting about Linux

  • dammit (Score:3, Funny)

    by koi88 (640490) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:43AM (#10796569)

    Dammit, I can't blame MS for this move.
    As much as we all like MS-bashing, this action does not seem evil.

    Or, is it? (Please?)

    Has anybody just bought a big Itanium-cluster to run Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition on it?

    BTW, is the name really "Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition"? Sounds terrible...
    • Re:dammit (Score:5, Funny)

      by luvirini (753157) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:02AM (#10796624)
      BTW, is the name really "Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition"? Sounds terrible...

      Oh, I am sure the developers wanted to call it Windows Server 2003 CCF (Complete Cluster F***) but the marketing people stepped in... Changing the name to Windows Server 2003 CCE

      • by Lxy (80823)
        Probably the same marketing geniuses that came up with the name Windows Update Services (WUS).
    • Re:dammit (Score:2, Insightful)

      by blether (817276)
      Microsoft have had 64bit Windows on Itanium for years now, so it couldn't have been hard to port Windows to amd64. They even had a public beta almost two years ago, but the release date just keeps on slipping.

      Why? To keep Intel sweet when Itanium support is dropped, by giving Intel time to get an amd64 competitor into the market?
    • > BTW, is the name really "Windows Server 2003
      > Compute Cluster Edition"? Sounds terrible...

      I agree.. they should call it Windows Server 2005 Compute Cluster Edition. Much better. Who wants to run a 2003 OS??
  • by smu johnson (309071) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:45AM (#10796573)
    One really has to wonder how long intel is going to stick with the itanium after its dissapointing sales figures [arstechnica.com] and a move like this from the software giant is sure to really hurt. Maybe they will eventually drop their itanium line in favour of a AMD type X86-64 instruction set like they are using in their new P4's and new Xeons.

    This is actually an exciting opertunity for AMD since they can increase their margin in the sever and business arena where the big money is. They should seize this opportunity and start pushing their server lines.
  • Itanic (Score:3, Funny)

    by Konster (252488) on Friday November 12, 2004 @06:45AM (#10796574)
    The Pentium Pro never really delivered? In it's various incarnations (Pentium Pro, Pentium 2, Pentium 3)have been around for a while...

    But anyway, this is news how? I wasn't aware that there were enough Itanics around to MAKE into a cluster :)

    • But anyway, this is news how? I wasn't aware that there were enough Itanics around to MAKE into a cluster :)

      oh.. if they put together ALL the ithaniums in the world it would enough make a cluster..

  • by Flaming Foobar (597181) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:29AM (#10796682)

    Linus was right [theinquirer.net], then, I guess...

  • by DrYak (748999) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:36AM (#10796696) Homepage
    In a way, this shows us the limits of closed source developpement :
    Compagnies have to concentrate their (limited) efforts on a few software/platform combinations. They cannot developpe a version for every CPU existing on this planet.

    Microsoft has already a lot of work to do (Longhorn, 64bits XP, XP reloader, still supporting deprecated Win98, developing specials like WinCE, WinMedia, etc...) so they just cannot afford supporting more than 2 CPU types.

    In open source, it's the opposite. Because the source is Open, even if the main developper can only target 1 CPU type, everyone is free to try to recompile/port the code to another architecture.
    Just have a look at the impressive number of architectures supported by Linux (including weird platforms like cellphones, gaming console [DreamCast/XBOX/GameCube] ).

    Maybe this trends will change if Microsoft finds a way to use "write once run everywhere" vm like .NET for it's OSes. But until then, they are tied to Intel x86, and can make some exceptions a few times...
    • So instead of specialising something for one CPU, you would have it generalised for all CPU's. This happens with some games, and they are often very crappy. I can't imagine it being any better for other software too.
      • >So instead of specialising something for one CPU, you would have it generalised for all CPU's. This happens with some games, and they are often very crappy. I can't imagine it being any better for other software too.

        Like Linux, you mean?

        I'll take a *crappy* multi-platform OS like Linux over a specialized chip-specific OS like Windows ANY DAY!

        No, seriously, I dumped Windows a year ago and I run Linux now, and although it has been more effort, I love it.

        Then again, I was a Windows SDK programmer once
  • AMD stock (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sai Babu (827212) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:38AM (#10796700) Homepage
    Wonder how this will affect the market.
    AMD 2 year chart [google.com].
    I bought a little bit back when the Athlon 64 was announced. Trading volume has been up since. Opteron announcement didn't seem to make much of an impression on the market.
    Post election, the markets been up overall.
    Do you think we'll see a runup to $30 over the next couple of days?
    Now I'm feeling like I should have bought a bit more AMD but historically I've been bitten on almost every investment decision based on the techniclal merits of the product.
    WHat's the feeling out there in /. land? Does the big M$ gorilla's 'endorsement', Sun's decision to use opteron in their low end servers, AMD technical superiority, Intel's seeming 'mis-steps', the overall market upswing, the fact that A64 is a NICE piece of hardware, that AMD is NOT intel, and make AMD a very attractive investment?
    Whay about AMD taking on $600,000,000 debt the other day and adding a guy from Radio Shack (see latest SEC filing).
    My favorite way of looking at stocks (useless for decisions as I still don't grok it) is the correlation between the analyst recommendations and price/volume.
    What sort of analysis do these guys do? Ouija board?

    BUT wait. What I really want to know is how you /.'ers who invest are planning to react to this Intel news.

    • Let me get this out of the way:

      I'm an idiot who frequently talks out of his own ass.

      If I had any money I would have bought AMD when it was at $5. But I still thinks it's a very good buy right now too. In a recent article at /. , http://www.theinquirer.net/ [theinquirer.net] , or http://www.theregister.co.uk/ [theregister.co.uk] , One of the Dell bosses was quoted as saying that AMD couldn't meet demand for server chips.

      Add to that tidbit the fact that AMD just partnered with ANOTHER foundry, (when their existing one isn't even running ne
    • Mostly, stock investments are based on hunches, rumors, emotion and such. There is no real analysis they could use or which have any significant meaning. Even the outcome of those would still need to be interpreted with the above mentioned "criteria". Analysis is mostly supporting but certainly not the only reason to buy or sell stock.
    • As a group, investors are just greedy. They don't even suspect technical merit of any company's product. Thats the only way to explain the constant yo-yo of NASDAQ over the last few years. When the real tech companies announce increased orders, profit, cash flow and the market drops, try to make sense of that. Or reports go the other way and it climbs. There is very little logic in the overall market right now, just speculation.
    • My favorite way of looking at stocks (useless for decisions as I still don't grok it) is the correlation between the analyst recommendations and price/volume.

      Using these two criteria is a strategy straight from the boom days. Please pay more attention to price/earnings. This is a (vague) measure of how long in years at the current price to recoup that price just in net earnings (not dividends). So AMD is currently just over 40. By next year, it is expected to go down to just under 30 as conditions im
      • 40 is nothing like the dotcom days, the dotcom days were when Yahoo and AOL were over 1000(this happens very easiler when in a year you might take in 10 cents a share adn your share prices are well over 100 dollars. you shouldn't say 40 is a dotcom boom, it just spreads complete falsities as to what was the dotcom boom. for anyone to know, most major investors do not consider 40 anything bad and Charles Schwab usually recommends nothing beyond 100. See it more like a scale of risk, the higher you go, pro
      • I would strongly recommend against using your P/E scale to make investment decisions. P/E (I prefer trailing because I'm relatively conservative) is a popular measure of a stock's valuation, but can be interpreted many different ways. Saying that a company with a 40+ P/E is overvalued is a poor assessment because these numbers are relative to competitors and the industry the company is in. A company that has a dramatically lower P/E ratio might be construed that the company is undervalued but it can also
  • by Fallen Andy (795676) on Friday November 12, 2004 @07:45AM (#10796719)
    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=14310
    (the link to the video is at the end).

    I think we all know EPIC is dead. So is Moore's law.
    Get used to learning how to parallelize (??) your
    program.

    Itanic I knew it not at all. Lot's of 64 bit CPU's out there means we can (finally) write nice emulators for the 36 bit ones (grins)

  • Does that leave us with ANY next generation chip? Or are we stuck with the x86 architecture until 2020?

    Too bad HP killed off the Alpha architecture in favor of Itanium. Maybe they could restart it...

    sPh
    • Or are we stuck with the x86 architecture until 2020?

      We sure are - Microsoft have enough trouble developing bloated, unstable & insecure applications for one processor architecture, they sure don't want to develop for any others...

    • Does that leave us with ANY next generation chip?


      Yes: x86-64 at least. Seriously: what's wrong with x86? And x86-64?

      Too bad HP killed off the Alpha architecture


      Alpha? I though you wanted "next generation" chips, not chips from yesteryear.
      • > Alpha? I though you wanted "next generation"
        > chips, not chips from yesteryear.

        The Alpha architecture was 2 to 3 generations ahead of its competitors when it was released. Lack of volume hindered development of its ultimate potential. I suspect that from a standpoint of design philosophy it is still ahead of anything else on the market (ducks while Power advocates throw parts from scrapped PC-RTs).

        You might want to read up on Alpha a bit.

        sPh
  • Crap (Score:3, Funny)

    by JamesP (688957) on Friday November 12, 2004 @08:13AM (#10796802)
    Now we cannot imagine a bewolf cluster of these...

    Pfff!!!

  • More old Intel , they try and try but they just can't get the albatross of the x86 off from around their necks. They tried years ago with the i860 and they tried recently with the itanium but its just not happening. Personally I wish x86 would die ASAP as its an inefficient , bloated and power hungry architecture but if big corps like MS won't support itanium we can only hope that open source does even if that makes a lesser impact on the market as a whole.
    • by leathered (780018) on Friday November 12, 2004 @09:22AM (#10797020)
      Change the record.

      x86 has come a long way over the years. We now have a multitude of streaming SIMD instructions and the biggest complaint of x86, the lack of GPRs, has been remedied by AMD in x86-64. It's cheap, relatively easy to code for and is not going away any time soon.

      And you say x86 is power hungry? What does that make Itanic?
      • "x86 has come a long way over the years. We now have a multitude of streaming SIMD instructions and the biggest complaint of x86, the lack of GPRs, has been remedied by AMD in x86-64. "

        BFD. A polished turd with a pretty bow is still a turd. The majority of high end non-intel server CPUs manage the equivalent MIPS at less Mhz and producing less heat. x86 is the Model-T of the 32 bit world that if it wasn't for backwards compat would have been put out to grass years ago.
    • Intel have exactly the same problems with the Itanium that they had with the i860 (which was actually relatively successful as a graphics co-processor, just not as a CPU).
      1. x86 is too competitive. The x86 line has such huge volume that they can afford brute force performance increases just by throwing money at the problem. Not an efficient architecture? Make a RISC chip with an x86 -> native instruction decoder bolted on the front. Low IPC count? Ramp up the clock rate.
      2. New chip needs better / differ
    • If Intel would come up with a replacemenet architecture for the x86 that was a credible alternative, they could do it.

      Here's what they've tried so far:

      iAPX432: arguably the CISC of CISCs. Out-VAXED the VAX, the only instruction set more complex was one of the Japanese TRON designs.

      i960: this one had a chance, it was a fairly conventional RISC with good performance, but it was too early. Intel was still enamored with the x86 architecture, and it got stripped of its MMU and shunted into embedded systems le
  • ... it just smells that way ; but hey, why don't HP take it out of its coffin, Intels starts printing 'Alphanium inside' labels, and here we go again !!!
  • "Itanium" and "Windows Cluster Edition"!

    It's like saying "Bum Rashes announce they won't support haemmorhoids"...

"Don't talk to me about disclaimers! I invented disclaimers!" -- The Censored Hacker

Working...