So, what happens to Itanium?
Now with a day or two to digest what Intel has announced with regards to 64 bit extensions to their 32 bit processors, I wanted to speculate what this will most likely mean regarding CPU's in the world in the next 18 to 24 months
Intel & AMD 32 bit systems. Same as it ever ways. If you are buying them now, you are just going to keep buying them until you need more memory, which is probably within about 18 months for small end enterprise apps, developers, multimedia folks, and power users. For the next 18 to 24 months, 32 bit is fine, but after that you will most likely look to move upwards.
Intel & AMD x86 64 bit systems. Intel's announcement validates what AMD has done with regards to producing a cpu that is an extension of the current 32 bit x86 architecture. Unfortunately for AMD, this will also effectively freeze AMD from getting new customers. If you are already a direct Intel customer and not an existing AMD, why go through the pain and agony of setting up a new infrastructure for AMD parts and the 3rd party chips that are used with them? If you are an AMD and Intel customer, you can now play both sides against each other. I do see AMD driving 64 bit systems into the SOHO desktop and home as seen by recent advertisements. I don't see Intel being able to drive their 64 bit systems into that same space for the next 18 to 24 months due to the fact that they are just starting this ramp up and they are doing it on the Xeon line.
Intel Itanium IA64 family. Like many technologies, until it can be driving into the volume space, and I question the ability of Intel to drive it into that space over the next 24 months, I do not see it as a winner. Assuming I know something about computers when I go to buy a system, I can purchase a 32 bit system that runs what I have today, a 32/64 bit system that can run what I have today and has growth to tomorrow, or I can purchase a system that will not run what I have today but might run what is out there tomorrow. Hmmm, doesn't sound like the right thing to buy to me. Where is Office or the .NET Framework for Win64 when you need it.......... Didn't somebody here once say that the volume CPUs would be the winners? IA64 doesn't look like a volume CPU to me for the next 24 months.