Last week, Intel hosted its annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, and this year's show, like previous renditions, was heavy on forthcoming product announcements and demonstrations. Although the company's move to multiple processor cores in its microprocessors is somewhat controversial--some charge that Intel has taken this route because of problems scaling its existing processors to higher clock speeds--one piece of useful information that came out of the show is the company's views on its server platforms of the future. While admitting that the 64-bit Itanium has been somewhat disappointing from a sales perspective, Intel still believes that the Itanium has legs and will ultimately provide better performance than comparable 64-bit Xeon chips. "We expect Itanium ... in time to deliver twice the performance of Xeon at the same platform cost," said Intel CEO Craig Barrett. To that end, the company is pushing ahead with a common chipset platform for the Xeon and Itanium, which will eventually let customers upgrade by simply swapping out Xeon CPUs in a server and replacing them with Itanium CPUs. Although that possibility sounds a bit unrealistic today, Itanium fans can take heart in the fact that Intel is now pricing the chip much more competitively with comparable Xeon chips. And multicore versions of the Xeon (which is x64 compatible) and the Itanium should appear simultaneously with the common chipset, Intel says. However, the common Xeon/Itanium platform is a few years away. Before then, we'll see new versions of the Itanium 2 that feature a whopping 9MB of cache and, eventually, a version based on smaller 64nm process technology.