Beijing IDF: Intel details new products and initiatives

Press release, April 18; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES Asia

Intel detailed more than 20 new products, technology innovations and industry initiatives aimed at making the Internet, computers and consumer electronics devices much more responsive, friendlier and secure, at the ongoing Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing.

Intel executives at the IDF disclosed new performance details for the company's next-generation Penryn processor family. The company also unveiled two product roadmaps for Intel architecture (IA)-based System on Chip (SOC) consumer electronic (CE) devices and business uses.

Patrick Gelsinger, senior vice president and co-general manager of Intel Corporation's Digital Enterprise Group provided performance indicators for Intel's upcoming Penryn family of processors. For desktop PCs, he said to expect increases of about 15% for imaging-related applications; 25% for 3-D rendering; more than 40% for gaming; and more than 40% faster video encoding with Intel SSE4 optimized video encoders. The indicators were based on pre-production 45nm Hi-k Intel quad core processor running at 3.33 GHz with a 1333 MHz front side bus (FSB) and 12MB cache versus an Intel Core 2 Extreme processor QX6800 introduced last week at 2.93 GHz with 1066 FSB and 8MB cache.

For high-performance computing (HPC) and workstation systems, Gelsinger said to expect gains up to an estimated 45% for bandwidth intensive applications and a 25% increase for servers using Java. These indicators were derived from pre-production 45nm Hi-k Intel Xeon processors with 1600 MHz front side bus for workstation and HPC, and a 1333 MHz front side bus for servers versus today's quad-core Intel Xeon X5355 processors.

Gelsinger said that Intel has begun planning products based on a highly parallel, IA-based programmable architecture codenamed Larrabee. It will be easily programmable using many existing software tools, and designed to scale to trillions of floating point operations per second (Teraflops) of performance. The Larrabee architecture will include enhancements to accelerate applications such as scientific computing, recognition, mining, synthesis, visualization, financial analytics and health applications.

The company also has plans for Intel QuickAssist Technology, a comprehensive initiative to optimize the use of accelerators in servers. Accelerators increase the performance of a single function, like security encryption or financial computation, while reducing power consumption. This initiative includes support for acceleration using IA-based multi-core processors and third party accelerators working together in Intel-based servers, and developing new integrated accelerators inside the IA-based processor itself.

Gelsinger unveiled Tolapai plans, the first in what will be a family of enterprise-class system-on-chip (SoC) products that integrate several key system components into a single Intel architecture-based processor. The 2008 Tolapai product is expected to reduce the chip sizes by up to 45% and power consumption by approximately 20% compared to a standard four-chip design, while improving throughput performance and processor efficiency. Tolapai will include the new Intel QuickAssist Integrated Accelerator technology.

Gelsinger also outlined product plans, including one for Intel's high-end multi-processor servers (codenamed Caneland). The quad- and dual-core Intel Xeon processor 7300 series will arrive in the third quarter in 80 and 50Wt versions for blades. The new servers will complete the company's transition to its Intel Core microarchitecture for Xeon processors. Sun Microsystems demonstrated its Solaris operating system running on an Intel Xeon 5100 series processor based system using Intel Dynamic Power technology, a new capability focused on reducing the power required for a memory subsystem.

Further bolstering PC security and manageability benefits, Intel will introduce the next generation Intel vPro processor technology, codenamed Weybridge in the second half of the year and using the new Intel 3 series chipsets, formerly codenamed Bearlake.

This will follow the launch of Intel Centrino Pro processor technology, bringing the business-centric features of vPro systems to notebooks for the first time.

Finally, Microsoft demonstrated Windows Server code name Longhorn and two complementary technologies: Windows Server Core, and its new hypervisor-based virtualization solution, Windows Server virtualization, running on the Intel quad-core Xeon processors. The integrated platform combination, demonstrates running up to eight core virtual machines, delivering increased efficiency and uptime for IT managers.

Also at IDF, Eric Kim, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group, said Intel is focused on developing products and technologies that provide consumers with greater control, choice, clarity and community, the 4C's, across computers and CE platforms spanning PCs, laptops, televisions, set-top-boxes and other networked media players.

Kim detailed Intel's strategy to deliver a common, unified IA-based processor foundation across PC and CE platforms. He said the Intel CE 2110 Media Processor, a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture for CE devices will help manufacturers accelerate time to market for smarter, more cost-effective designs that provide necessary performance, flexibility and headroom. Kim said the company will deliver its first CE-optimized IA-based SoC in 2008.

Intel also plans to deliver a number of desktop computer products later this year, including updates to its Intel Viiv processor technology roadmap, and a new high-end enthusiast and gaming platform codenamed Skulltrail.

Future generations of Intel Viiv processor technology will be based on the Intel 3 series chipsets arriving this quarter and delivering improved graphics support with features such as enhanced Intel Clear Video technology and hardware support for Microsoft DirectX10 for smoother high-definition playback and 3D visuals. Intel 3 series chipsets also boost system performance with a faster 1333 MHz front side bus and support for DDR3 memory, PCI Express 2.0 and Intel Turbo Memory for application acceleration and faster boot times.