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Itanium 2 Part of a Roadmap

Looking to sell high-end system buyers on its version of the 64-bit architecture, Intel has been discussing an entire 64-bit roadmap in conjunction with its Itanium 2 launch to assure customers that it is committed to the high-end market.

The centerpiece of the roadmap is board compatibility for the next two generations of Itanium. While the Itanium 2 requires a different chipset than the original Itanium processor took, the follow-on processors will snap into the same boards.

"You'll be able to plug Madison products into an Itanium 2 system," says Mike Graf, Intel's product line manager for the Itanium 2. That will also apply to the Montecito chips. Think of "Madison" as Itanium 3 and "Montecito" as Itanium 4.

Graf and company are letting a few details of Madison and Montecito slip. Madison for example will have a maximum on-die cache of 6 MB, double Itanium 2's current maximum. A lower-end processor simultaneous with Madison, code-named "Deerfield," will ship with 3 MB on-die cache similar to what Itanium 2 offers although presumably at higher clockspeeds.

On-die cache plans for Montecito aren't being disclosed yet, although the key for that processor will be that it will be the first Intel 64-bit processor manufactured on a smaller process.

Intel also has a few more post-Montecito generations of processors in the works, although the company isn't even disclosing codenames for those processors yet.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.