The topics list for the 2011 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) has been unveiled and there's a surprise inside. In addition to discussing its more prominent architectures, Intel
will present data on its upcoming 32nm Itanium processor, codenamed Poulson. The new architecture doubles the number of instructions an Itanium processor can issue and skips 45nm manufacturing altogether. The current Itanium
, arrived three years late in Februaary 2010 and is built on a 65nm process.
Intel's Itanium 2
This is the first time Intel has substantially overhauled Itanium since the first chips arrived in 2001; Real World Tech's David Kanter has published
an article on what the changes are likely to deliver and why it took Intel so long to make them. An eight-core, 32nm Poulson should outperform older Itanium parts by significant margins, particularly if Intel takes advantage of 32nm's smaller dies and improved thermals to increase clockspeeds above Tukwila's maximum of 1.73GHz or to increase cache sizes.
Poulson is currently expected to hit the market in 2012, more than a decade after Itanium first appeared. If it performs as advertised it could be the chip that redeems IA-64 and over a decade of investment.