RealTime IT News

Intel to Preview Architecture

It's every techie's dream vacation. Well, Intel would like to think so.

The chipmaking giant is gearing up for its ninth round of Intel Developer Forums, a series of events held at locations around the world to showcase the company's products.

The San Francisco forum is slated for August 23-25. Intel officials gave a sneak peak in a press briefing on Thursday.

Intel has previously stated it planned a ramp up of its dual and multi-core processors over the next year and further development of new technologies like virtualization and advanced manageability.

Rob Chapman, General Manager of IDF confirmed that dual and multi-core announcements along with energy efficiency will be major themes at the event. He said Intel will unveil a next-generation architecture due out in the second half of 2006 that will yield new processors that are high-performance, energy efficient and multi-core.

Analyst Nathan Brookwood of Insight64 believes Intel plans to detail new platforms for delivery later in 2006 including Merom (multi-core for mobile), and Conroe (multi-core desktop), that double the current dual-core architecture up to four-core. Brookwood said he expects Intel to show off very good performance and other worthwhile features but not any changes to the frontside bus it has used for years to connect the CPU to main memory.

Rival AMD has touted technology on its products which connect directly to main memory for faster performance. "It's awfully early to understand how good the performance will be with these next generation products but we know [Intel] plans to use the same platform that I believe will still be constrained by memory and bus bandwidth," said Brookwood.

On the subject of power conservation, Intel announced it has a goal of working with development partners to boost battery power up to eight hours by 2008 for notebook computers. Currently a typical notebook gets about 4 hours of battery life depending on how heavily it's used. Intel has a working group that is researching ways to lower the power requirements for displays. It has also invested in companies developing new battery technologies.

At IDF expect further details related to Intel's next generation Centrino platform code-named Napa. Intel discussed Napa at its IDF in March. The first product to ship under Napa is Intel's 65-nanometer dual-core Pentium M processor codenamed Yonah. Available in early 2006, Yonah will include an improved multimedia content creation program, an enhanced thermal monitoring feature, and a power coordination tool that automatically adjusts the performance of up to two processing cores.

As a result of such smaller, more energy efficient processors, Intel expects its customers to design new form factors for both desktop and mobile products -- an especially high area of growth for Intel. There will be some concept, prototype models at IDF.

One distinctly new element to the San Francisco IDF will be a presentation and discussion of Intel's efforts in the health field. "We see health as a significant growth opportunity and we've made a lot of investment there," said Chapman. Louis Burns, the vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Health Group will discuss opportunities for IT products, platforms and solutions designed to address rising health care costs for an increasingly aging population.

Chapman indicated that Intel has been doing a lot of research in the health area, but IDF will be one of the few times it has discussed its plans publicly.

In total there will be some 12 tracks and 140+ hours of technology training, panels and hands-on labs at IDF. And a "Geek Contest" with a Minicooper as the prize.