Intel, HP offer fastest ever chips for high-end servers

Intel and Hewlett-Packard said they were once again upgrading their chip technology and servers for high-end computing in an effort to expand their positions in the market for can’t-fail technologies.

Intel said Thursday its newest chip, known as Itanium 9500, was able to deliver more than twice the performance of its predecessor but with less power. The new chip uses 8 percent less power when actively crunching data, and 80 percent less power when it is idle.

“It’s giving our customers a great performance boost over our previous product,” said Rory McInerney, Intel’s head of server development.

Itanium chips are typically used in so-called “mission critical” servers, which are computers expected to be available nearly all the time while running with as few glitches as possible. Customers typically rely on these servers for tasks such as banking, sales transactions and weather modeling. Intel’s Itanium was developed along with Hewlett-Packard Co. over a decade ago and competes in the market with products from IBM and Oracle.

The update for Intel’s Itanium line marks an important step for the chip giant following a bruising court battle between H-P and Oracle over the future of the product. Last year, Oracle said it was stopping development of its popular database software for Itanium chips, claiming Intel had decided to discontinue the product line. HP, which is the largest Itanium customer, sued Oracle, claiming the database giant’s moves breached its agreements.

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The court ruled Oracle had indeed broken its promises, leading the company to commit to writing software for the chip.

Read more about Intel's new Itanium chips at The Wall Street Journal.