Intel Ends A Two Decade Long Production of Itanium 64-Bit Processors


On July 29th, Intel officially ended shipments for the Itanium 64-bit processor, created originally as an alternative to the x86 design used for servers and high-end workloads. Production of Itanium processors has lasted for over two decades.

Intel Bids Farewell To Itanium 64-bit Processors After A Decade

The 64-bit processor designed from the IA-64 ISA, or Instruction Set Architecture, Intel's Itanium was a collaboration with Hewlett-Packard to create a new kind of processor that could be utilized more efficiently with modern enterprises. Intel's processor was innovative in the architecture of new kinds of processors.

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Hewlett-Packard Enterprises forced many server systems into utilizing the Itanium processor made by Intel, calling the line of systems "Integrity". HPE was not alone in the involvement of producing Itanium systems, but they were the largest source of production using the processor and helped increase the number of systems available. HPE also created a unique operating system, called HP-UX, which originated from the Unix System V. The operating system was created to help with the HPE server functions that were using Itanium processors, as well as the PA-RISC architecture, which was created exclusively for HP.

Intel Itanium processors boasted for more effective due to lacking the legacy program supports that the x86 processors had available. The Itanium architecture needed a compiler to calculate ahead of time the instructions that were to be run parallel to each other to eliminate any wasted instructions. Unfortunately, when utilized, it actually limits software support for daily workloads from the server since it lacked the special compilers needed.

With Intel stopping production and shipping of the Itanium processors, HP has also begun the process of stopping support—a task that is to end at the end of December 2025. The final version, Itanium 9700 (also known as Kittson), last distributed on July 29th of this year, will be the last version that Intel has created for its Itanium line. Going forward, Intel will continue using the x86-64 processing architecture for its servers and enterprise workloads moving into the future.

It is unsure if Intel will end support prior to the end of 2025, especially if the company will create something more effective and efficient that could replace what their attempt was with the Itanium line.