US Report: HP describes plans for first IA-64 chip set

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Monday offered a glimpse of what it says will be the world's first IA-64 chip set and bus.

At a gathering at its Labs in California, the disclosure was made just outside the original offices of Bill Hewlett and David Packard, which have been left untouched since the pair occupied them in the 1950s.

Beginning sometime next year, HP will begin shipping PA-RISC and Intel-based systems with a motherboard that will also be used in Merced-based systems when the chip is available in mid-2000.

Details were scarce, but HP officials said the chip set will support the fastest PCI buses, including PCI-X. There will be a few versions of the chip set, one of which will enable SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) systems scaleable to hundreds of processors.

Additionally, it will support a 44-bit physical address space, which means the hardware can exploit large-scale memory in data warehousing, ERP and database applications. Today's top Pentium implementation, the Pentium II Xeon, handles 36-bit physical addressing.

As it works toward its long-term strategy of transitioning its enterprise systems to IA-64, HP continues to enhance the PA-RISC. The company will lay out its five-year PA-RISC road map Tuesday, the opening day of the annual Microprocessor Forum in California.