Few processors have been criticized as much as Intel's Itanium. still offered as its big iron CPU today, it has found a strong ally in HP, which has substantial investments in the processors especially via service contracts. The processors were launched as Intel's first 64-bit processor, but was almost immediately chastised for not offering any substantial speed gains over the company's other processors. Despite rumors that Intel could be killing the processor at any time, Itanium has lived on. Since its launch with the 733 to 800 MHz Merced core in 2001, the company has released Itanium 2 in 2002, the Itanium 9300 in 2010 and is expected to release the next generation, Poulson, as a 3.1 billion transistor, 32 nm processor in 2012.