Future Itanium 2 chips will be made out of one piece of silicon instead of the current five, Intel said as it laid out its latest roadmap for the troubled processor.
Speaking at a telephone conference, Itanium processor family product line manager Mike Graf explained that manufacturing advances meant a reduction in the number of pieces of silicon which will lead to "greater scalability and parallelism as well as increased bandwidth and more on-die cache".
He stressed that the Itanium family of chips had a strong enterprise computing roadmap and that there were "at least five processors planned for future development".
Both the Madison and Deerfield chips will be made using the 0.13-micron process and will have 6Mb and 3Mb on-die cache respectively.
Madison will be pin-compatible with current Itanium chips allowing enterprises to hold on to their investments in current Itanium systems, according to Graf.
The Montecito processor is expected to be produced using a 0.09-micron process, and Graf claimed that this "will add performance to the platform".
The chip is expected to ship in 2004 with Deerfield and Madison due next year. No mention was made of Chivano, Montecito's rumoured successor, which like Montecito is expected to contain technology from Compaq's Alpha chip.
Graf maintained that there is still strong support for Itanium and pointed to 20 firms Intel has lined up to produce systems based on the chip.
Also several operating systems including HP-UX, Linux and Windows will run on the processor. He said that systems administrators were "almost religious" about the operating system they used.
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