dcsimg
RealTime IT News

Less is More For Intel's Dual-Core Plans

Intel CEO Paul Otellini kicked off his company's fall developer's conference with several announcements related to power savings, management, and mobility.

Otellini predicted that Intel would significantly help reduce energy costs around the world via power savings technologies in new chips due out the second half of 2006.

Otellini said the company expects to cut energy costs by a billion dollars over the next few years for every hundred million CPUs it ships.

Without advances in power savings, warned Urs Holzle, a Google Fellow, "power costs could soon dwarf hardware costs."

Holzle joined Otellini onstage to demo Google Earth, the recently introduced free service that lets users search hundreds of terabytes of mapping data, including some 14 billion data points covering the Earth and the Moon.

"Every Google service sees continuing growth in computational needs," said Holzle. "The more computation required per query drives up our computational needs and it's too big for a single machine. Multi-core CPUs gets us extra throughput running processes in parallel and it's changing the power picture because it requires much less power than adding a new CPU."

Responding to AMD's "Dual-core Duel" challenge, which is part of AMD's ad campaign, Otellini said Intel wasn't interested in publicly benchmarking its chips versus AMDs. "I've always believed the best measure of a product's worth is customer acceptance in the marketplace," said Otellini.

While there was a lot of talk of mobile devices and new form factors in the keynote, Otellini said he still believes the PC continues to be a bellwether of industry growth. He said it took 18 years, dating back to the introduction of the first IBM computer in 1981, for the industry to ship 100 million PCs. Yet in 2005 alone some 200 million PCs are expected to ship.

Otellini talked about a new architecture that will guide Intel's strong ramp up to dual-core processors throughout most of its product line by the end of next year. He said it will incorporate the Netburst technology in Intel's traditional single-core architecture with its dual-core offerings.

Intel codenames for these new dual-core platforms under development are: Woodcrest (servers), Conroe (desktops) and Merom (mobile).

Otellini estimated Intel would ship over 60 million dual-cores over the next 18 months and has ten quad-core projects in the works today.

IT managers may like the faster processing dual-core promises, but they have other concerns. Otellini noted a Gartner study of CIOs which said 89 percent of their IT budgets are spent on maintenance issues, and 11 percent on innovation.

Threatening to further quash innovation are ever-increasing security vulnerabilities.

In a demonstration of security advances, computer maker Lenovo activated a ThinkCentre remotely, and ran it through a set of diagnostics without any user involvement.

This was based on Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT), and Lenovo's ThinkVantage software. Antidote, a Lenovo product announced today and due to ship in the next six months, identifies a virus when it becomes active, isolates the infected PC from the network and sends a message to the IT department to address the problem remotely. No reboot or physical contact necessary.

Even for companies with 25 employees, research has shown it can take 31 days to recover from a virus (outbreak), said Lenovo CEO Steve Ward.

Intel's push to dual-core architecture was a key theme today. The chipmaker said a majority of its processor shipments will be dual-core by the end of next year. Another key theme: billions.

Otellini talked about reaching billions of broadband users with movies and other high definition content thanks in part to Intel's efforts in promoting WiMAX wireless technology.

Looking to address emerging markets, Intel demonstrated what it calls a "Community PC" designed for environments where extreme weather and power outages could be a problem. In the demonstration the PC was unplugged but kept running. Why?

The antithesis of the ever-more mobile systems, the Community PC has a car battery attached for back up power that will let it run for several hours. Another unique addition, a filter to keep out dust and bugs "real" bugs.