In the hopes of keeping things interesting and keeping the relentless PC cycle cycling, Grove today made some major predictions about where computer technology is going in the next 15 years.
By 2011, he projected, there will be a 200-fold increase in processing power on Intel processors, chips that will by then integrate 1 billion transistors and run at dizzying speeds of 10 GHz and 100,000 mips (millions of instructions per second). This compares with today's 4-million transistor processors running at 200 MHz and approximately 200 mips.
To keep this promise, Grove pointed out that Intel's challenge is more one of economics than technology. "In the future, [chip] plants are going to cost $10 billion to build, we have to figure out how to keep these plants filled," he said, referring to the fact that Intel must fill the production lines on these chip plants to capacity to make money. Grove went on to say that this compares to today's $2.5 billion to construct a chip plant and that Intel has to help lead PC development to find the compelling PC technologies which would keep these humongous plants humming along building millions and millions of chips.
Grove said that Intel has finally achieved TV-quality video on PCs, but to achieve this lifelike 3D interaction, the personal computer of the future must go beyond just "matching" TV.
"Users demand lifelike interactive 3D experience. Visual computing will become part of PCs just like video has become part of today's PCs," he added. "We'll see a transition from connected PCs to visual computing by the end of century."
Photos by Don Winslow