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Why Itanium Processors? Benefits of the New Processor Family

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You've heard of the 'killer app'; now take a closer look at the 'killer chip' that will enhance information technology infrastructure to a degree that it is nothing short of revolutionary.
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"The best, simplest way to describe the 'Mission Statement' for the Itanium family of microprocessors is: Creation of an architecture that can address future business needs with the best price-performance and flexibility."

—HP/Intel design team

In This Chapter:

  • The Itanium architecture 'Mission Statement'

  • The Itanium Processor Family

  • Benefits of Itanium processors for different platforms

  • Handling Legacy Software, Hardware, and Data

  • Reasons for Itanium Processor Performance Value

  • Itanium Processor Family in the Enterprise Environment

In this day and age, most of us are familiar with the Silicon-valley buzzword, the 'killer app'—the creation of a software application that can do so much more than its predecessors that it's bound to create tremendous demand. However, it's less often that you hear about a 'killer chip' that will enhance information technology infrastructure to the degree that it is nothing short of a revolution. Yet that is exactly what the Intel® Itanium® processor family1 architecture is capable of—by building on, and then breaking away from established computing principles so that it becomes the industry's new application performance leader.

What you're seeing with Itanium development is the result of heavy investments by both Intel and Hewlett-Packard in a brand new microprocessor family. Yet this is not a matter of breaking with their established system and environments. It's an evolution, not a revolution—one that provides for maximum transition and flexibility—adding value with minimal risk to customers.

Itanium Mission Statement

The Itanium processor family came about for several reasons, but the primary one was that the processor architecture advances of RISC were no longer growing at the rate seen in the 1980's or the 1990's. Yet, customers continued to demand greater application performance, due to the following developments:

  • Increased users and demand (internet)

  • Higher bandwidth tasks (streaming)

  • Requirements for secure processing (SSL)

  • Larger hardware requirements (Very Large Data Bases)

  • Support for multi-OS environments (virtual data center, computing as a utility)

The Itanium processor family was developed as a response to address the future performance and growth needs of business, technical, and scientific users with greater flexibility, better performance, and a much greater 'bang for the buck' in the price-performance arena.

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