New servers to challenge RISC

A slew of leading server vendors this week will announce machines based on Intel's long-awaited Itanium processor.

Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM will be among the companies shipping servers this summer based on Itanium, which observers say will put Intel-based machines on a performance par with Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) servers. The Itanium-powered boxes are aimed at increasing the performance of data mining, database and other processor-intensive programs.

The Itanium processor - which was originally expected out in 1999 - uses an architecture that lets each processor execute up to 20 operations simultaneously, while maintaining backward compatibility with 32-bit applications.

Pricing for the Itanium machines has yet to be announced.

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