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.
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.
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 "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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Intel Tolapai system-on-a-chip (SOC) accelerates encryption and decryption of data and the handling of algorithms needed for firewalling.
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 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.
The Atom processor is being embedded in industrial devices that often require fanless operation.
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 Fujitsu U2020 uses a 5.6-inch screen and packs 60 GB storage and 1GB of memory. It comes with Windows Vista.
The Aigo is one example of many similar mobile Internet device designs (such as the Compal JAX 10) that have sliding keyboards.