Rest in peace, Itanium

Intel has now ceased official support for IA-64 and will make no more Itanium processors (which matters really only to HPE). It's sad to see another processor architecture disappear, even one that seemed to be as universally unloved as this one, so consider this post a brief epitaph for yet another drop in computing diversity. If you want choices other than the cold, sterile x86-ARM duality, they won't happen if you keep buying the same old stuff.


  1. Truly a shame, really. Of course, as I recall, Itanium lead to the untimely and premature death of PA-RISC and Alpha. If only Intel could have kept some of their early promises, we might still have a niche (or even a substantial market) for IA64 today.

  2. So long, Itanium. You were a phenomenally adventurous architecture, but between the pricing and the impossible expectations placed on compiler writers, it wasn't meant to be. That Itanium's embrace directly led to the downfall of Alpha and PA-RISC was tragic, but it's a greater tragedy that the panic over Intel entering the high-end space with its buckets of cash led to so many other firms winding down or bailing on their own designs. Then Itanium landed with a dull thud, and economies of scale led to x86_64 running away with the ball.

    Looks like there will be a quad Power9 v2 in a Blackbird for me soon. I can't make myself pay boutique money for a HiFive Unmatched yet... Right now RISC-V is larval. Standing against a duopoly or no, I can't rationalize paying Mac Mini money for a Raspberry Pi 3-level board with no SIMD, minimal expansion, and no USB header to connect to an ITX/uATX front panel. Maybe in a few years.

    1. Yeah, I'm still underwhelmed by RISC-V. It's definitely going to remake embedded but (much as the situation with the Amiga) it's weaksauce on the desktop for the cost. Assuming HiFive is the most performant so far, there's still a ways to go even though it's worth watching. For my money OpenPOWER remains the sweet spot for the near future and that's not just because I'm a long time PowerPC bigot.

    2. It feels a little like a cargo cult, where people have bought in to the idea of a RISC without borders and will sit and wait for years until it reaches some definition of parity with x86. Meanwhile Power9 is literally *here,* and even with boutique pricing it offers vastly better value for the money right now. What's the over/under on flops per dollar between the two architectures as things currently stand?

    3. I don't know the exact numbers, but it's hardly a marginal difference.


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