Intel Delays Itanium Launch—Again

Intel has again pushed back its ship date for the Itanium chip, the first in its line of IA-64 processors built on the EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing) architecture developed by HP. Intel now says the Itanium, instead of shipping in the third quarter of this year, will not be generally available until the fourth quarter. That means users will not see Itanium-based systems on the market until the first half of 2001.

The reason for the delay--Intel is performing additional testing on the Itanium before the general release.

The latest news raises the question of the schedule for Itanium's successor, McKinley, slated for general availability in the second half of 2001. Intel claims McKinley will be released on schedule. HP has been claiming that the Itanium will be used mainly in development environments and that IA-64 chips will not be widely used until McKinley becomes available.

The general release of the first IA-64 chip is now about two years behind the schedule HP originally anticipated, and delays have caused Intel to extend its 32-bit architecture and HP to extend the longevity of its 64-bit PA-RISC systems. HP is preparing for IA-64 by launching systems that will provide binary compatibility with the new architecture but has remained committed, in the near term, to PA-RISC. It will release three new PA-RISC chips--PA-8700, PA-8800 and PA-8900—over the next few years (http://www.future.enterprisecomputing.hp.com/ia64/parisc/index.html). The PA-8900, though, is expected to be the last in the PA-RISC line, because HP's long-term plans across all its server platforms (HP-UX, Windows NT, Linux and MPE) center on IA-64.