Compatibility with existing systems is the promise of Hewlett-Packard’s new generation of IA-64 platform which will use the Itanium processor HP developed with Intel.
Planned to ship this year, Intel now says its Itanium products will be ready early in 2001.
“We [Intel and HP] intend to be the key building block of the Internet economy,” says Intel Asia-Pacific IA-64 programme manager William Wu.
The better performance is credited to what the partners call “parallel-processing optimisation technology”.
HP and Intel co-developed a technology called Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC) for the IA-64 architecture, which teams resources with intelligent compilers for increased data throughput and performance.
Larger memory, says HP, also boosts reliability and thus performance of high-end systems.
However, HP chiefs stressed IA-64's binary compatability at a recent press briefing in Tokyo.
“We’re going to protect the investment already made by our computers. We’re not going to ask Mr CEO to change their business because we have a better box,” says HP Asia-Pacific marketing director Ganesh Ayyar.
"Existing HP machines will be binary-compatible with HP IA-64 systems, allowing customers to run existing applications unchanged and minimise disruption,” Ayyar says.
HP says markets working with large data sets will benefit most from IA-64, particularly in the fields of business intelligence, secure Web surfing, mechanical design automation, electronic design automation, digital content creation, design chain engineering, global information systems and chemical/pharmaceutical sectors.