Intel Developer Forum: Fall 2004


On Tuesday of this week the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) got off to a great start after Paul Otellini took the stage and officially kicked off the Fall 2004 forum. The forum started off highlighting the recent growth in the IT industry and how processor sales are now better than ever. It has been projected that in 2004 that processor sales will finally pass the previous high, which was set back during the internet bubble back in 2000. Intel then went on to note that product convergence, digital effect, and the next three billion users are going to what they feel are the major "growth drives" for the IT industry. Overall Intel was very enthusiastic about the industry and is trying their best to capitalize on the new market.

Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini

Holding the new 65nm 300mm wafer

Ever since the Pentium processor came out in 1997 the media and Intel was focused on the MHz race. Look at any magazine cover from the previous ten years and the headlines are all CPU frequency related. That is no longer the case and Intel told the press that the next platform is going to be based around the digital home. They also mentioned that these new digital home products would be in the market place by Christmas 2004. During the keynote many dates were thrown out for different IT related products. One of these dates was Microsoft Longhorn in 2006, which is a bit further away than many IT analysts guessed it would come out.

The Future: Dual/Multi-Core Processors

Right now a personal PC is capable of producing 5 giga-flops, but that is not enough power for what Intel is thinking of doing. Intel also noted that personal computer systems would have to have a 10x performance increase to run all the digital home applications that they planned for the future. With a 10x increase in performance it would put the personal computer to have 50-60 giga-flops! With the current P4 architecture Intel could not be able to get these drastic performance gains they need, so they have opted to go Dual/Multi-Core using the Dothan core architecture. Intel stated that by 2006 more than 40% of the processors built will have dual-core technology in the performance desktop market. As you can clearly tell dual-core is something that Intel will be aggressively pushing over the coming year.

Future of Connections: Wifi & WiMAX

The next thing that was touched on was the evolution of connectivity and how WiMAX will become a key player in low cost wireless solutions. WiMAX is currently under development and by 2008 Intel is aiming to have 8% of users taking advantage of the new connection.

Advances in Servers: 16 Available Hyper-Threads

As many of you know Intel was going to show off dual-core processors and that is exactly what they have done at IDF. Intel showed a 4 processor Itanium server running 4 dual core processors during the keynote. As you can tell Windows Task Manager is a bit overwhelming to look at with so many CPU usage windows. Each one of these processors has a transistor count of 1.7 billion!

Overall it looks like the take away message from day one was very simple. Intel is moving beyond MHz to parallelism and the next wave of wireless broadband technology for the digital home experience.

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