[Linux-ia64] Itanium gets supercomputing software

Bob Drzyzgula bob at drzyzgula.org
Thu Apr 10 21:51:39 EDT 2003

On Fri, Apr 11, 2003 at 09:58:08AM +1000, Duraid Madina wrote:
> David Mosberger wrote:
> >Remember that Intel is targeting Itanium 2 against Power4 and SPARC.
> >In that space, the price of Itanium 2 is very competitive.
> OK, I want to be clear on this. I asked why Itanium hardware is still so 
> expensive. Your answer seems to be marketing speak for "The prices are 
> still high because we are _happy_ selling small quantities of this 
> equipment to people used to paying through the nose for good quality 
> hardware." Is this correct?

I'm not sure that it works this way. I think it's more like
"We are making the best processor we know (or, perhaps,
"knew", or "thought we knew", or even "allowed ourselves
to know") how to make that will/would/might in our dreams
be profitable to sell at this high price in moderate
quantities." I expect that if they could sell one hundred
times as many Itaniums at a tenth the price, they would
ramp up the fabs and do it. But then you get into the
chicken-or-egg problem: There's no software, and hence
no demand, and hence no software, and hence no demand,
that would justify the production of a hundred times as
many Itaniums.

> Can I then conclude that Intel has not yet had any interest whatsoever 
> in driving IA64 into the realm of reasonble prices? It's sad to see so 
> much work being put into this Linux port when, if things remain as they 
> are, it will hardly be used.

Be careful that you put the horse before the cart.
Might it not be that the people doing this work are
wagering that it will ultimately cause demand for
the Itanium to increase? Could it really be expected
that demand for Itanium *would* materialize without
such investment in software happening first?

In any event, virtually nothing remains as it is.

--Bob Drzyzgula
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