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McKinley Becomes Itanium 2

Intel Corp. on Thursday formally named its second-generation 64-bit processor the Itanium 2. The processor had formerly gone by the codename "McKinley."

Intel's branding announcement for the new chip comes a day after AMD unveiled the name for its 64-bit processor, the AMD Opteron. AMD also unveiled Wednesday the coup that Microsoft will support Opteron on Windows. Previously, Microsoft had not committed to supporting 64-bit technology from Intel's smaller rival.

Intel's announcement does call attention to the fact that Intel plans to deliver a second generation of 64-bit processors before AMD gets its first version out the door. Intel is saying it will deliver Itanium 2 at "mid-year" although Intel has missed previous 64-bit delivery dates. AMD will not begin shipping Opteron processors until the first half of 2003.

Itanium was originally the name for the first generation of 64-bit Intel processors, which went by the codename "Merced." With usage, Itanium came to refer to Intel's IA-64 architecture and future generations of the processor.

"The Itanium brand connotes a new level of capability for high-end enterprise computing," Pam Pollace, vice president and director of worldwide marketing for Intel, said in a statement. "The Itanium 2 name extends this to the next-generation of the Itanium processor family."

Performance is supposed to be 1.5 to 2 times the performance of current Itanium systems, Intel said in a statement. Currently Itanium processors ship in 733 MHz and 800 MHz with 2MB or 4 MB cache.

Sales of systems based on the original Itanium processor have been limited, although many of the larger server and workstation manufacturers expect the McKinley release to spur a breakthrough in industry adoption.

About the Author

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

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