Intel's new Itanium 2 processors for servers feature a 667MHz front-side bus, a faster link between the CPU and the system's main memory.
Both processors belong in the company's 64-bit "Madison" family, announced in
November 2004. The chips run at speeds of 1.66GHz, with computer L3 memory
cache sizes of 9MB and 6MB. According to Intel, the revised front-side bus
transfers data to and from the chip at speeds of 667MHz. The improved front
side bus bandwidth allows for 10.6 gigabits of data per second to pass from the
processor to other system components. In contrast, the current generation 400
MHz FSB transfers 6.4 gigabits of data per second.
The improvement to the chipset sets the stage for the forthcoming dual-core
Itanium processor, code-named Montecito, which will feature the same bus
Hitachi will adopt the new Itanium 2 processors into new Hitachi BladeSymphony
servers coming in the next 30 days. hitachi has also designed a chipset (the
communications controller between the processor and the rest of the computer
system) to take advantage of the new bus architecture.
Rival AMD has also introduced an integrated memory controller for its Opteron
server chips that directly connects the processor to memory. This has proven to
be a very efficient way to get data back and forth to memory, and Intel is
expected to use a similar design in coming years.
The Intel Itanium 2 processor at 1.66 GHz with 9 MB of cache with 667 FSB is
available for $4,655 in 1,000-unit quantities. The Intel Itanium 2 processor at
1.66 GHz with 6 MB with 667 FSB of cache will be available for $2194 in