The self-same moment I could pray ;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea. – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge
Chip giant Intel is expected to introduce the next member of its rather ill-starred Itanium microprocessor today.
The chip, codenamed Tukwila, has been on the back burner and the front burner in Intel engineering labs for quite some time now. It will have an extraordinary two billion transistors but has lost market and mind share to Intel’s Xeon server chips, almost from day one.
However, Intel is under a geas to carry on producing the Itanium microprocessor for quite some time yet, as part of a shadowy agreement involving Hewlett Packard and various federal authorities.
When Intel first introduced the notion of the Itanium, co-developed with Hewlett Packard, 15 years or so ago, hopes were high that the processor would be the flagship chip for the 21st century. Some execs even thought it would turn into a gaming chip.
That’s not happened. Instead the Itanium is something of an albatross around Intel’s neck and it’s reluctant to blow its trumpet about the CPU any more.