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Difference Between Itanium and Xeon

intel_processorItanium vs Xeon

The Itanium is a microprocessor that was developed by Intel to compete in the high performance computing (HPC) market and on high end server applications. The Xeon is also another microprocessor from Intel but it is mainly aimed towards mid level server applications. Although they seem to serve the same purpose, the design of both are very different. The Xeon is simply a modified version of Intel’s very established microprocessors. The Xeon uses the same x86 architecture set but with some changes , that improves its performance. The Itanium is a huge departure from the established architectures and it is commonly referred to now as IA-64.

The major redesign of the Itanium included a lot of new features that should allow it to surpass the performance of most other systems available at the time. It placed emphasis on parallel computing and it is capable of executing six instructions within a single clock cycle compared to just one in the x86 architecture. But major problems in the hardware and software development hinder the Itanium in exposing its full potential.

Because the Xeon processor shares the same x86 architecture that is widely used in desktop computers, it is always up to date when it comes to new technologies that are introduced; for example DDR2 and higher, and PCIE. The Itanium, on the other hand, is very slow in adopting these technologies as the huge cost of developing a chip set poses as a huge barrier for hardware makers.

Consumers also had major reservations to using Itanium systems as a great majority of the software that is in existence proved to be incompatible with its architecture. Xeon had a little bit less problem since it inherited the x86 architecture. Even the x86-64 microprocessors are capable of running the older 32 bit applications.

Due to the major problems with the Itanium, production number stayed really low. This problem has been amplified more with the introduction and proliferation of the x86-64 microprocessors, like the 64 bit versions of the Xeon, which provided very high performance.

Summary:
1.The Itanium uses the IA-64 architecture while the Xeon uses x86 architecture.
2.The Xeon cores are only capable of executing an instruction per cycle while the Itanium is capable of executing six.
3.The Itanium and other related hardware often lag behind in adopting newer technologies compared to Xeon.
4.The Itanium has a lot of problems with older software applications while the Xeon only had minimal troubles.
5.The Xeon is produced in large volumes while only small amounts of the Itanium are being produced.


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