The Intel-Architecture 64-bit (IA-64) Merced processor will be at least 15 times faster than current Intel CPUs and will remain compatible with current applications and operating systems. Could it be the best of both worlds? Intel thinks so, as does Hewlett Packard, who co-developed the chip. To date, RISC CPUs have provided a 50% annual speed improvement, but the Merced is expected to maintain a 1000-1500% annual speed improvement rate, making the PowerPC and Alpha chips non-events. That's what HP hopes, in any event.
The Merced will be compatible with both the Intel x86 line of CISC/RISC CPUs and the Hewlett Packard PA-RISC chips. The CPU will scale to 256 processors, compared to the four or eight that is possible today with the Pentium Pro