Photos: Intel forum in review--from Atom to Tolapai

From the UrbanMax concept PC design to the Moorestown and Nehalem processors, there was a lot to take in at this year's IDF.

Update with Dunnington and Core i7 photos, text.

The latest and greatest silicon and derivative products is what the Intel Developer Forum is all about. Moorestown, Tolapai, and Canmore are just a few of the chips detailed at IDF this week, while UrbanMax, new netbooks, and the first laptops based on the quad-core mobile processor were among showcased products.

Barrett criticized America's K-12 educational system and said great technology still can't take the place of great teachers.
Intel Chairman Craig Barrett delivers the IDF keynote. Barrett criticized America's K-12 educational system and said great technology still can't take the place of great teachers. Brooke Crothers

Intel Chairman Barrett brought out Carnegie Mellon University's Johnny Chung Lee, who demonstrated how cheap, off-the-shelf technology--in this case a makeshift whiteboard--can go a long way. "To be interesting today, technology has to be the fastest, the best, the brightest, the lightest, but here you can see if you sacrifice a little bit of capability and performance for dramatic savings in cost, you can have a pretty dramatic impact," Chung said.

One of the more novel devices demonstrated was the 10-inch Intel UrbanMax a computer that can switch between a laptop and tablet. This by itself isn't groundbreaking because tablet PCs from Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba already do this. The novelty is the size and design: it is smaller than an ultraportable--like the Toshiba Portege--yet is designed like an oversize mobile Internet device such as Compal JAX 10. When configured as a tablet, the keyboard is hidden but can morph into a laptop by sliding out the keyboard, which tilts the screen.

Intel UrbanMax concept design has a 10-inch screen and uses special low-power Centrino 2 processors
Intel UrbanMax concept design has a 10-inch screen and uses special low-power Centrino 2 processors Intel
Intel UrbanMax in laptop configuration
Intel UrbanMax in laptop configuration Brooke Crothers

An Intel official demonstrating the device said that "UrbanMax is an innovation platform from Intel. This is a product-ready concept." UrbanMax uses "Montevina" Centrino 2 small form-factor (SSF) silicon. SSF chip packaging is used in the MacBook Air and results in lower voltage and smaller size than typical Intel low-power mobile processors.

It is interesting to note that major PC makers have adopted Intel concept designs in the past. Last year, Intel offered a ultra-thin laptop concept design that was eventually adopted by HP for its Voodoo Envy 133 notebook.


The Core i7 desktop processor will be the first of the "Nehalem" family of chips to launch
The Core i7 desktop processor will be the first of the "Nehalem" family of chips to launch Intel

The "Nehalem" Core i7 will use DDR3 memory and QuickPath interconnect technology, both expected to improve performance. The i7 is slated to ship in the fourth quarter.


Intel's David Perlmutter (blue shirt) holds a quad-core HP laptop as he listens to Keith LeFebvre, vice president and general manager for business notebooks, HP PSG Americas.
Intel's David Perlmutter (blue shirt) holds a quad-core HP laptop as he listens to Keith LeFebvre, vice president and general manager for business notebooks, HP PSG Americas Brooke Crothers

Intel also officially rolled out its first mobile quad-core processor, the QX9300 (2.53GHz). Hewlett-Packard's EliteBook 8730w can be configured with the new processor.


The headliner of this year's IDF was the Nehalem processor and Intel had a lot to say about a power-saving technology inside Nehalem called Turbo Mode, which is based on Intel's Power Gates Silicon Technology
The headliner of this year's IDF was the Nehalem processor and Intel had a lot to say about a power-saving technology inside Nehalem called Turbo Mode, which is based on Intel's Power Gates Silicon Technology Brooke Crothers

Intel's Nehalem processor was a focal point of IDF because it's a new microarchitecture and because it's coming soon: the fourth quarter. One of Nehalem's features that Intel detailed was Turbo Mode, which is essentially a switch that turns off unused processor cores and then uses the remaining active cores more efficiently. Intel Senior VP Pat Gelsinger said that NASA is "anticipating delivery of thousands of Nehalems" for climate modeling and space exploration.


Intel's 2009-2010 Moorestown processor consists of two chips called Lincroft and Langwell
Intel's 2009-2010 Moorestown processor consists of two chips called Lincroft and Langwell Brooke Crothers

The smartphone-targeted Moorestown processor--due in 2009-2010--is centered on a highly integrated part called Lincroft, which Intel said has now reached the "first silicon" stage. Langwell is a supporting chip that will handle I/O, or input-output.


Intel introduced the Media Processor CE 3100 for consumer electronic devices
Intel introduced the Media Processor CE 3100 for consumer electronic devices Brooke Crothers

The CE 3100 has been developed for Internet-connected consumer electronics (CE) products such as optical media players, connected CE devices, advanced cable set top boxes, and digital TVs. The media processor (previously codenamed "Canmore") combines features for high-definition video support, home-theater quality audio and advanced 3-D graphics, all based on Intel's ubiquitous IA x86 architecture. Intel expects to begin shipments of this product next month.


Intel Tolapai system-on-a-chip motherboard
Intel Tolapai system-on-a-chip motherboard Brooke Crothers

The Intel Tolapai system-on-a-chip (SOC) accelerates encryption and decryption of data and the handling of algorithms needed for firewalling.


Intel's Tukwila chip (a.k.a Itanium) is overlooked these days because lower-end server chips are adequate for many corporate customers
Intel's Tukwila chip (a.k.a Itanium) is overlooked these days because lower-end server chips are adequate for many corporate customers Brooke Crothers

The often-ignored Tukwila (Itanium) processor will go quad-core later this year. Intel bills it as the world's first 2 billion transistor processor. Tukwila is designed to provide highly scalable and reliable performance for mission-critical enterprise server solutions. The chip will put 4 processor cores on the same die (like the "Nehalem" i7 processor) and pack in a whopping 30MB of cache memory.


The "Dunnington" Xeon 7400 series is a six-core processor that will ship in September
The "Dunnington" Xeon 7400 series is a six-core processor that will ship in September Brooke Crothers

The Xeon 7400, previously codenamed Dunnington, will be the last of the "Penryn" class of processors that Intel will ship, Gelsinger said at IDF. Sun Microsystems, HP, and Dell are slated to ship servers with this chip.


An Atom processor-based fanless tablet PC from Nexcom
An Atom processor-based fanless tablet PC from Nexcom Brooke Crothers

The Atom processor is being embedded in industrial devices that often require fanless operation.


Lenovo IdeaPad S series netbook
Lenovo IdeaPad S series netbook Brooke Crothers

The IdeaPad S series netbook comes with a 10.2-inch XGA screen, an Atom N270 processor (1.60GHz/533MHz front side bus/512KB cache memory), 512MB of memory, a 5400RPM 80GB hard disk drive, Broadcom 11b/g Wi-Fi wireless, and Windows XP Home Edition.

This configuration is priced at $429 and will be available in the next few weeks, according to a Lenovo official at IDF.


The tiny Fujitsu U2020 has a 5.6-inch screen and uses an Atom processor
The tiny Fujitsu U2020 has a 5.6-inch screen and uses an Atom processor Brooke Crothers

The Fujitsu U2020 uses a 5.6-inch screen and packs 60 GB storage and 1GB of memory. It comes with Windows Vista.


Aigo P8880 also packs an Atom processor
Aigo P8880 also packs an Atom processor Brooke Crothers

The Aigo is one example of many similar mobile Internet device designs (such as the Compal JAX 10) that have sliding keyboards.

Click here for full coverage of the Intel Developer Forum.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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