Hewlett-Packard and Intel are nearing the October deadline for the launch of their jointly developed Merced processor, and details are beginning to leak.
Reports say the duo will provide more detail at the San Jose Microprocessor Forum on 14 October, and US sources reckon HP will differentiate the systems from those of competitors by developing new chipsets and firmware - along with networking options like management software and clustering.
HP?s dilemma is how to develop Merced systems alongside its PA-Risc family, and the key challenge is providing a seamless transition to Intel?s 64-bit chip, enabling it to phase out PA-Risc altogether.
The US reports quote an HP executive as saying: ?IA-64 systems will provide binary compatibility with existing systems... and customers can run current applications unchanged on the new systems.?
US analysts remain sceptical about the transition period. They expect a long interregnum between PA-Risc and IA-64, saying that fast technology change and complexity will push the transition well into the next decade.
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