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 Apr 08, 2005 - 07:32 AM - by Michael
* Itanic making trouble again

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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft
ZDNet Insight has word that Intel's biggest ooshit has done it again: it turns out that Itanic is just a pain in the ass to code for.

One of the major problems they highlight is the poor quality of compiler code generation. Because of Itanium's EPIC design the chip relies heavily on the code it runs being efficiently formatted. This means that the compiler itself has to work out the most effective way to order the instructions it spits out, so that they flow freely through the chip without creating conflicts for internal resources or waiting for results from each other. Furthermore, instructions have to be bundled together in groups that are given to the processor in one go, and the relationship between instructions within a group ? and with those in subsequent groups ? is critical for efficient work.

None of the above makes it easy to generate good code, but some of Itanium's features make it even harder. One major issue is instruction latency ? the number of clock cycles needed to separate two instructions where one produces a result and the other consumes it. If you ask for the result too soon, the chip stalls, holding up processing for current and next instruction groups, which can slows things down dramatically.
Yeah. It's basically a high-end-server-only pain-in-the-ass chip.
 

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