white paper authored by META Group
As application support for the Intel® Itanium® processor family continues to grow, users must understand the relative benefits of the 32- and 64-bit architectures on the Intel road map. The choice of processor platform will be dependent not only on application/operating system support but also on the distinct value and performance propositions offered by the two architectures.
This white paper outlines the common design principles, along with the individual characteristics of the Intel Itanium processor family and the Intel® Xeon" processor family, to help you understand their similarities and differences. The Intel Itanium 2 processor builds on and extends the foundation established by the Itanium® architecture for the enterprise applications. The Intel Itanium 2 processorwith its massive execution resources, 6.4 GB/sec system bus bandwidth, and 3MB integrated L3 cacheis binary-compatible with software compiled for the first-generation Itanium processor and is expected to increase performance by 50 to 100 percent.
META Group research indicates increased uptake of Intel Itanium family processorsincluding the new Itanium® 2 processor (formerly codenamed "McKinley")as applications and operating systems prove their scalability and reliability in a 64-bit environment. However, this is only the starting point for users considering Intel Xeon processor-based systems or a move to the Itanium architecture.
Given Intel's aggressive road map for Intel Xeon processor enhancements, users must evaluate the alignment between their proposed workload for the 64-bit Itanium architecture based-platform and the features offered by the Xeon processor family. Without this, users are at risk of not choosing the right server infrastructure for their present and future workloads. If this evaluation process is rigorously followed, users will find that a decision between Intel Xeon and Itanium architecture is relatively simple, and those responsible for server deployment will correctly align the value and performance of their investments with business objectives
Read the entire META Group white paper [PDF, 66KB], "The Right Intel Platform for the Right Job: Making a Sound Choice Between 32 and 64 Bits."