Itanium 2 Receives a Cache Boost

Intel pushes Itanium 2 to 1.6GHz and ups the Level 3 cache to 9MB.

Intel yesterday introduced a faster Itanium 2 for multi-processor systems. This takes the Itanium 2 to 1.6GHz and ups the Level 3 cache to a massive 9MB. Intel claims that the processor, codenamed ‘Madison’, is up to 25 per cent faster than the current 1.5GHz with 6MB of Level 3 cache. The figure is based on the score of 2,712 in the SPECfp_2000 benchmark with a single processor. The processor also was the first to achieve a SAP SD 3—tier result 100,000. This was in an HP Integrity Model SD64A with no less than 64 1.6GHz Itanium 2 processors.

To encourage a relatively speedy uptake, the new part will be offered at the same price as the 1.5GHz chip. The new CPU is compatible with existing Itanium 2 platforms and has the same thermal properties so enterprises can upgrade with only minimal validation. Intel is also releasing a 1.6GHz with 6MB of Level 3 cache and a 1.5GHz with 4MB of Level 3 cache.

For dual processor systems, Intel has released a 1.6GHz Itanium 2 with 3MB of cache, up from 1.4GHz. There’s also a low voltage chip running at 1.3GHz with 4MB of cache.

In related news, Intel’s Itanium 2 has helped power NASA’s Columbia Supercomputer to the number two position in the latest roster of the worlds Top 500 super computers. The awesome Columbia Supercomputer is powered by 10,240 Italnium 2 processors, made up from twenty SGI Altix computers systems.

The Columbia attained sustained performance of 51.87 trillion calculations per second (teraflops) and peak performance of 60.96 teraflops across its 10,240 processors, Columbia vanquished venerable supercomputers such as Japan’s famed Earth Simulator, which at 35.86 teraflops has been rated as the world’s top supercomputer for more than two years.

Intel’s also announced that the next iteration of the Itanium, codenamed ‘Montecito’, will feature a number of architectural improvements including up to 24MB of Level 3 cache. It claims that this will deliver 1.5 to 2x the performance of the ‘Madison’. This is scheduled to appear in the second half of 2005.


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