Ia-32 support, Computer Engineering

In order to support IA-32, the Itanium can switch into 32-bit mode with special jump escape instructions. The IA-32 instructions have been mapped to the Itanium's functional units. Though, the Itanium is built primarily for speed of its EPIC-style instructions, and because it has no out-of-order implementation capabilities, IA-32 code implements at a severe performance penalty compared to either the IA-64 mode or the Pentium line of processors. For example, the Itanium functional units do not automatically make integer flags as a side effect of ordinary ALU computation, and do not intrinsically support multiple outstanding unaligned memory loads. There are also IA- 32 software emulators which are freely available for Linux and Windows, and these emulators typically outperform the hardware-based emulation by around 50%. The Linux emulator is available from some Linux vendors such as Novell and from Intel itself and the Windows emulator is available from Microsoft. Given the superior performance of the software emulator and despite the fact that IA-32 hardware accounts for less than 1% of the transistors of an Itanium 2, Intel plan to eliminate the circuitry from the next- generation Itanium 2 chip codenamed "Montecito".

Posted Date: 3/5/2013 5:45:11 AM | Location : United States

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