Intel's long-awaited Montecito set for debut

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Intel will launch its “Montecito” version of Itanium, the first dual-core version of the processor, on July 18, sources familiar with the event said.

The gargantuan chip, with 1.7 billion transistors, will be the new flagship of Intel’s sometime-stumbling effort to extend the influence it’s achieved with Xeon and Pentium to the high-end server market, where Sun Microsystems’ Sparc and IBM’s Power chips are more widely used.

Intel had planned to launch Montecito in 2005. But in October, it delayed its release, slowed its top speed by 200MHz and disabled a feature code-named Foxton that would have let the chip run another 200MHz faster when it was cool enough.
Pat Gelsinger, general manager, Digital Enterprise Group, Intel

The highest-end Montecito is expected to run at a top speed of 1.6GHz, a notch slower than the original 2GHz Intel had planned (including the Foxton speed boost). But the Montecito chips, to be called the Itanium 2 9000 series, will fit in better with Intel’s current energy-conscious priority of performance per watt. Montecito will consume a maximum of 100 watts, compared with 130 watts for current Itanium models. That means Itanium should increase performance by a factor of 2 and performance per watt by a factor of 2.5, Intel has said.

Intel declined to comment for this story. But Pat Gelsinger, a senior vice president in Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, said in March that Intel would start shipping Montecito in the second quarter of 2006. And in June, at the launch of its “Woodcrest” version of Xeon, Intel said Montecito had begun shipping to customers.

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