Intel Focuses Beyond the Chips

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Twice a year, Intel’s Developer Forum (IDF) promises to move the industry in different directions. If customer pre-announcements are any indication of that prediction, the fall ’03 classic should be no different.

Some 4,000 developers, engineers and Intel chip aficionados are expected to attend the three-day event here, with the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant showing off its latest wares such as its latest Itanium and Xeon server chips, as well as its Pentium lineup including its Centrino chipset.

In addition to the usual “convergence” message this year, however, Intel is planning on highlighting its advances in networking and connection standards. The company is actively participating in several groups as it is now making semiconductors for non-PC devices like cell phones, personal digital assistants, and new low-power components for laptops.

For example, a consortium from the PCI-SIG will be launching the PCI Express IT Network with and 15 hours of training and labs geared towards PCI Express product developers during the conference. The next-generation technology is a general-purpose I/O interconnect for computing and communications platforms, which Intel has become busily involved with. More than 30 companies are planning to show support of the specification, which was approved and published in July 2002. Graphics chipmaker NVIDIA, Internet Machines, Synopsys and Rambus got the jump on the rest of the pack Monday with their individual support statements.

Simlarly, DataCore Software Monday said it will release native iSCSI support for its Intel-based SANsymphony software in the fourth quarter of this year. Also expected on Intel’s agenda this week is new enhancement specifications coming from the Serial ATA Working Group team, which it co-chairs with Seagate, Maxtor, Fujitsu, Silicon Image and Vitesse.

In the connection PCMCIA, a leading technology trade association, is expected to release Version 1.0 of its ExpressCard standard — formerly codenamed NEWCARD — for modular expansion for mobile and desktop systems.

HP, Dell and IBM are also all expected to join with Intel and announce plans this week to develop common software APIs (application programming interfaces), hardware interconnects and form factors for blade servers .

Intel CEO Craig Barrett will be missing this week’s IDF. Instead a slew of the company’s top execs will be on hand including company president and COO Paul Otellini, who is expected to wax poetic about Intel’s “connect anytime/anywhere” mantra; Vice presidents Louis Burns, Anand Chandrasekher, Ronald Smith, Mike Fister, and W. Eric Mentzer are also scheduled to give keynotes as well as company CTO Pat Gelsinger, who will cover Intel’s R&D plans.

The company is also expected to highlight its server and desktop chips including its recently released Itanium 2 “Madsion” and “Deerfield” processors. The company is also expected to update on other various chip technologies such as its on-chip security product “LaGrande.”

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