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Linux 6.7 Set To Drop Support For Itanium IA-64

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  • zexelon
    replied
    Originally posted by Dawn View Post

    For a number of years, performance was just fine. Core for core, Madison through Montvale outperformed its x86 contemporaries while offering better scalability (albeit at the cost of being somewhat brittle and more expensive.) There's a reason it kept being used in supercomputers like Columbia even when x86 was cheaper.

    Eventually the weight of cumulative delays and missteps added up, and x86 got credible for mission-critical uses when Nehalem-EX came out. After that point, there was no longer any reason to run Windows or Linux workloads on it and it became purely a platform for Itanium-specific operating systems (UX, VMS, Nonstop, SourceT, GCOS8.)
    Yes you are correct, its performance exceeded x86 substantially... in very specific, very parallel use cases and only when fully programmed in its native IA64 instruction set. If you were trying to run in x86 compatibility mode, early editions were utterly abysmal and later editions were merely passable. It was also far more difficult to build optimized compilers for this ISA than originally thought.

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  • Dawn
    replied
    Originally posted by zexelon View Post

    Intel lost badly on the Itanium. They could not just reduce the node size and hope for the best. Performance was so abysmal, especially in x86 compatibility mode that they had to invest massive engineering resources in rebuilding the cpu several times.

    I am not certain, but I think HP did all right on their side as they pretty much exclusively used Itanium in their non-stop server line where it worked out quite well, even at its lower performance threshold.

    I think Oracle also got burned in this adventure, weren't they required by contract to keep their database running on Itanium long past its profitability?

    In the end, I personally liked a bunch of the design decisions in Itanium... but I never had to program for the beast, and am given to understand it was only rivalled by the Cell processor in its abuse of the programmer.

    They really should have just made Itanium their first "Compute Card" and kept it as an add on to an x86 CPU. There was groups doing this with the Cell CPU at one point (https://techreport.com/news/mercury-...-a-pci-e-card/).
    For a number of years, performance was just fine. Core for core, Madison through Montvale outperformed its x86 contemporaries while offering better scalability (albeit at the cost of being somewhat brittle and more expensive.) There's a reason it kept being used in supercomputers like Columbia even when x86 was cheaper.

    Eventually the weight of cumulative delays and missteps added up, and x86 got credible for mission-critical uses when Nehalem-EX came out. After that point, there was no longer any reason to run Windows or Linux workloads on it and it became purely a platform for Itanium-specific operating systems (UX, VMS, Nonstop, SourceT, GCOS8.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Dawn
    replied
    Originally posted by dlq84 View Post
    The last remaining Itanium user is shaking right now.
    There are still quite a few Itanium users - just not (mostly) running Linux. UX end of support is 31 Dec 2025 and there are still thousands of users on it. I think the Nonstop base has mostly migrated at this point. There are also a decent chunk of OpenVMS users - I'd guess at least a thousand - on Itanium, and they don't have a clear migration path off it until the x86 VMS port gets stronger ISV support.

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  • Dawn
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post



    dlq84 last produced Itanium CPU were made in 2017 that I can find. I could say some of the last Itanium buyers might be having a very bad case of buyers remorse.

    Also note they are 2017 chips but they are also only 32nm

    x86 processor from intel of 2017 is 14nm.
    The "Itanium 9700" was just a +133MHz refresh of the 2012 Itanium 9500 "Poulson" series, with no new die, so Intel could say they delivered their roadmap. Actual work on new Itanium gens was canceled in January 2013.

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  • dilfridge
    replied
    Well, we (Gentoo) still have up-to-date installation files for ia64 ...

    News and information from Gentoo Linux

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  • zexelon
    replied
    Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
    Kinda makes me wonder how much HP benefitted from the IA-64 contract. I'm guessing Intel put very little investment in improving the architecture; I wouldn't be surprised if they basically just upgraded the node, gave it some higher clock speeds, maybe thrown in a little more cache, and sold it for a massive profit. Since there was effectively only one customer, Intel had no reason to market this or have retail models, which would have only further increased their profit margin. Intel would only have to produce as many as HP requested, which meant Intel would have no leftover inventory.
    So, it all came down to being just HP dealing with the expenses of keeping this architecture alive. Makes me wonder if it would have been cheaper for them to have just cut out the middleman by buying the architecture and a couple engineers from Intel. Or... if they both mutually agreed to cancel the contract. I figure the few remaining HP customers who use it aren't worth maintaining the architecture, even if HP were to get sued.
    Intel lost badly on the Itanium. They could not just reduce the node size and hope for the best. Performance was so abysmal, especially in x86 compatibility mode that they had to invest massive engineering resources in rebuilding the cpu several times.

    I am not certain, but I think HP did all right on their side as they pretty much exclusively used Itanium in their non-stop server line where it worked out quite well, even at its lower performance threshold.

    I think Oracle also got burned in this adventure, weren't they required by contract to keep their database running on Itanium long past its profitability?

    In the end, I personally liked a bunch of the design decisions in Itanium... but I never had to program for the beast, and am given to understand it was only rivalled by the Cell processor in its abuse of the programmer.

    They really should have just made Itanium their first "Compute Card" and kept it as an add on to an x86 CPU. There were groups doing this with the Cell CPU at one point (https://techreport.com/news/mercury-...-a-pci-e-card/).
    Last edited by zexelon; 18 September 2023, 10:55 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • schmidtbag
    replied
    Kinda makes me wonder how much HP benefitted from the IA-64 contract. I'm guessing Intel put very little investment in improving the architecture; I wouldn't be surprised if they basically just upgraded the node, gave it some higher clock speeds, maybe thrown in a little more cache, and sold it for a massive profit. Since there was effectively only one customer, Intel had no reason to market this or have retail models, which would have only further increased their profit margin. Intel would only have to produce as many as HP requested, which meant Intel would have no leftover inventory.
    So, it all came down to being just HP dealing with the expenses of keeping this architecture alive. Makes me wonder if it would have been cheaper for them to have just cut out the middleman by buying the architecture and a couple engineers from Intel. Or... if they both mutually agreed to cancel the contract. I figure the few remaining HP customers who use it aren't worth maintaining the architecture, even if HP were to get sued.

    Leave a comment:


  • kurkosdr
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post



    dlq84 last produced Itanium CPU were made in 2017 that I can find. I could say some of the last Itanium buyers might be having a very bad case of buyers remorse.

    Also note they are 2017 chips but they are also only 32nm

    x86 processor from intel of 2017 is 14nm.
    The last Itanium buyers have a bad case of buyers remorse ever since the first x86-64 CPU was launched by AMD, since it immediately became apparent that Itanium wouldn't be the 64-bit successor to x86, despite being designated as such by Intel.

    But unfortunately they were stuck with OSes that required Itanium such as HP-UX and OpenVMS, so Intel had to keep making Itanium CPUs for HP under contract. Once the contract was over, Intel stopped making them.

    Personally, I am glad this single-vendor architecture (and patented to the teeth to remain that way) is dead. Goodbye and good riddance.
    Last edited by kurkosdr; 18 September 2023, 09:50 AM.

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  • colejohnson66
    replied
    Originally posted by dlq84 View Post

    I'm surprised Intel could find a way to sell them for that long.
    IIRC, they were contractually obligated to for HP.

    Leave a comment:


  • dlq84
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post



    dlq84 last produced Itanium CPU were made in 2017 that I can find. I could say some of the last Itanium buyers might be having a very bad case of buyers remorse.

    Also note they are 2017 chips but they are also only 32nm

    x86 processor from intel of 2017 is 14nm.
    I'm surprised Intel could find a way to sell them for that long.

    Leave a comment:

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