For those who play PC games (and please count me in), the most expensive and necessary investment has always been the graphics card (also known as the GPU, graphics processing unit). High-end cards, from either ATI or nVidia, can cost $500 and up. That's not even factoring in the case, cooling system, power supply, etc., which also have to be equally high-end to support the increasingly large and power-hungry graphics cards. And there seems to be no end to all this. Or is there?
SAN FRANCISCO--Most folks who try the Second Life virtual world grimace as the primitive 3D imagery drags its way onto their screens. Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner, though, smacks his lips with anticipation.
The chipmaker, always on the lookout for something that will give people a reason to buy a new PC, has reason to be excited about Second Life and its ilk. The technology, while still mostly for a fairly nerdy audience, has the potential to appeal to a broader audience than video games where overmuscled marines blow away aliens.
And just as significantly, Rattner said in a … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft next week plans to issue its first Windows Server 2008 release candidate, a near-final version of its operating system, a senior executive at the software company said Thursday.
"We expect the release candidate next week," said Mike Neil, Microsoft's general manager of virtualization, in an appearance during a speech at the Intel Developer Forum here.
The release candidate will include a test version of software code-named Viridian and formally called Windows Server virtualization. This "hypervisor" allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously, a useful technology in improving server efficiency and eventually leading toward … Read more
The ongoing tussle between Intel and AMD has dominated the news in recent weeks, but there's another potential battleground shaping up for Intel that could have a huge impact on personal computing.
A major topic I want to cover over the next several months is the looming showdown as the smart phone industry tries to develop more powerful computers, and the PC industry tries to build smaller and smaller computers. This week has provided a decent glimpse of Intel's vision of where it thinks the industry needs to go with its Silverthorne processor, designed for a new concept … Read more
I learned today that Intel has a Mobility Group and an Ultra Mobility Group. There's a sensible explanation for the difference: notebook PCs are defined as "mobile"; smaller systems are considered "ultra-mobile."
Intel further divides these ultra-mobile machines into two smaller classes: ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) and mobile Internet devices (MIDs). Traditionally, the former have 7" screens; the latter category goes all the way down to the tiny screens of smartphones.
Intel's Anand Chandrasekher, senior VP and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group, took the stage for the second keynote of the day to talk about "Unleashing the Internet Experience."
His primary contention is that… Read more
I'm not going to try liveblogging the keynotes today as I did yesterday. There's just never enough content in IDF keynotes to justify the effort.
The first keynote for Day 2 here at IDF was from Dadi Perlmutter, senior VP and general manager of Intel's Mobility Group. His theme was "Breaking the Barriers of Mobility."
He presented the results of a survey that showed the top needs of mobile computer users:… Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Intel's a big company, with lots of money and smart people. It will need both to take over two separate industries.
The company's official search for the next big thing is settling quite definitively on mobile computers. But this is actually two big things: not only does Intel want to create an entire new category of handheld computers called Mobile Internet Devices, it wants to set up a whole new network to service those devices.
SAN FRANCISCO--Intel will begin building flash-memory drives into servers in 2008, starting with 32GB models that the company promises will boost system performance.
Flash drives can perform 10 to 50 times as many input-output transactions per second as conventional magnetic hard drives, said Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, in a speech at Intel Developer Forum here. In addition, they consume 4.5 times less power and write data at twice the speed.
Of course, the flash-drive capacities are much smaller. "The cost per bit is clearly going to be higher," Gelsinger said in … Read more
In a technical session following Pat Gelsinger's keynote, Intel Fellows Stephen Pawlowski and Ofri Wechsler described Penryn, the newest dual-core processor from Intel. Penryn is shipping to OEMs now, with a formal launch scheduled for November 12. The full details of Penryn are available elsewhere, so I'll just focus on some interesting points from the presentation.
Penryn has a "deep power-down" state called CC6 (I don't know what the acronym means). The state saves the core's architectural state into a special on-die memory. According to the presentation, the chip's lowest power consumption can only be achieved when both cores on the chip are in the CC6 state.
Penryn will also support "dynamic acceleration," in which one core of the chip can run faster if the other… Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--This Nehalem plan better work out for Intel, because the chipmaker set very high expectations for the next-generation processor design Tuesday.
Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, demonstrated a Nehalem-based system at the Intel Developer Forum here that he said will bring major performance improvements for the company's x86 processor line. The processor family itself is due to arrive in 2008.
The Nehalem demonstration featured a system with two quad-core processors; each processing core can handle two independent instruction sequences called threads, and the demo showed all 16 threads at work on various tasks. The processor was the very first incarnation of Nehalem--the "A0" version--built for the first time three weeks ago, Gelsinger said.
"What you saw today was incredible health," he boasted during a meeting with reporters after the speech. "It really is pretty spectacular, and we're excited by the progress."
Nehalem brings major changes not just to the processor but also to the way in which it communicates with memory and other processors, a technology formerly called CSI, which variously stood for Common System Interconnect or Interface, and now branded as QuickPath Interconnect, or QPI. QuickPath reproduces a technique that rival Advanced Micro Devices used for years to market share against Intel and secure a solid position in all four major server makers' product lines.
The Nehalem processors demonstrated Tuesday each had four cores on a single slice of silicon, the approach AMD uses with its new Barcelona member of the Opteron processor family. In 2009, Intel will sell Nehalem processors with eight cores on a single slice of silicon.
Intel also is expected to sell less expensive Nehalem processors with dual cores per die, a source familiar with the company's plans said. … Read more