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HP Turns Madison into Siamese Twins

HP Turns Madison into Siamese Twins

Hewlett-Packard had taken the upcoming Madison chip, the next-generation Itanium 2, and stuck two of them on the same-size module that Intel is using for just one of the gismos and added a whole swat of L4 off-die cache, 32MB to be exact, to the chips' already chubby 6MB of on-die cache. Depending on what IBM does with the Power 4+ next year, the widget will be the fastest chip ever invented by man, according to chip maven Nathan Brookwood.

The doohickey will go anywhere a single Madison, or a present day McKinley, come to think of it, will go, which means that HP could easily upgrade the prospective Itanium version of its high-end Superdome machine from 64 to 128 processors in the same chassis.

That way it could torture Sun Microsystems and Sun's precious 15000 machine, which tops out - reasonably speaking without degrading the I/O - at, oh, say, 72 Sparcs.

The clock rate of the Siamese twins-style Madisons will run a bit under the standard Madison, reckoned to be around 1.4GHz-1.5GHz. The lower clock rate will help with the cooling.

Still - in certain circumstances - the twins are slated to be more powerful together than two individual Madisons.

Although designed by HP, Itanium's co-developer, Intel will reportedly offer the devices to its other OEMs.

Looks like the Siamese Madison is due towards the end of next year.

Meanwhile, HP is supposedly moving Itanium machines - think heavy HPC use - but not bragging about it for some reason, letting doubts about the chip's viability propagate. (A missed moment to toot your own horn is lost forever, boys.)

The company is ever so sure it's gone the right way in going with Itanium, and sacrificing its PA-RISC and Alpha chips to the effort. Scott Stallard of HP's Business Critical Server unit quipped that "Every month Sun continues down the Sparc path is another month HP has to hollow out Sun's business."

By the way, HP is borrowing the Siamese trick from what it's doing with the PA-Risc 8800.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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