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Intel Unveils Speedy Computer Chip

Intel pulled back the curtain July 18 on a long-anticipated speedy, power-saving dual-core Itanium computer chip designed for businesses. The Itanium 2, which had been codenamed Montecito during production, provided twice the performance as its predecessor while using 20% less energy, according to Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president of the Santa Clara, California, chip maker's enterprise group.

The dual-core chip was the first of its kind to contain nearly two billion transisters, Gelsinger told a San Francisco press conference. "Itanium literally is a game changer," said Gelsinger. "Everybody who is anybody in mission critical computing is participating with our system."

Major computer hardware companies such as Hewlett Packard, NEC, and Fujitsu were building machines around Itanium chips and the processors supported "the broadest range of operating systems ever," according to Gelsinger.

"Seed chips" provided to corporations late last year cut processing time for data-intensive, complex computer applications from weeks to days, Intel reported. "We can do more in the same amount of time and we can tackle bigger problems," Tim Mueller, research and development supervisor of high performance computing and computational science at Dupont.

The roll-out of the Itanium 2 came as Intel continued program to trim fat from the company and stem a loss of market share to rival chip maker Advanced Micro Devices. The new chip was originally slated for release last year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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