Itanium applications are go

There may be delays, but twelve software developers took part in Itanium demonstrations in the US Thursday

Despite delays to Intel's Itanium roadmap, twelve software developers demonstrated workstation applications designed to run on the 64-bit microprocessor Thursday.

Intel has gone to considerable lengths to encourage software manufacturers to port their applications over to Itanium, which runs software using a non-X86 instruction set named Epic (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing).

The chip's launch was recently moved from the third to the fourth quarter of this year. Intel maintains that the delay of Itanium is due to last minute tweaks to the chip's architecture. Unfortunately for software developers the overhaul in design means that applications have to be redesigned and some software houses may well be pleased to have more development time.

64-bit computing accelerates computer performance by allowing the processor to handle larger chunks of data. Intel has heralded Itanium as the most significant development since the introduction of the 32-bit 386 chip in 1985.

The company is, nevertheless, promoting today's demonstrations as evidence of industry acceptance of the chip. "Itanium processor-based workstations will be the creative engine for designers," predicts Dennis Goo, digital media solutions director at Intel.

Itanium will offer high floating point performance, large cache memory and high bandwidth bus as well as 64-bit capability. It is aimed at the high performance workstations and servers. AMD's 64-bit offering -- codenamed Sledgehammer -- is by contrast to Itanium designed to be x86 compatible. It will be made available early next year.

The companies that demonstrated software Thursday are Arete Image Software Digimation, Cebas, Discreet, Messiah Project, NewTek, Next Limit, Reyes Infografica, Right Hemisphere, Softimage, TGS and Volume Graphics.

See Chips Central for daily hardware news, including an interactive timeline of AMD and Intel's upcoming product launches.

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