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IDF Fall 2007, part 6-- Mobility keynote

Dadi Perlmutter talks about Intel's work on mobile PCs.

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:

  1. Performance
  2. Data protection
  3. Battery life
  4. Wireless LAN support
  5. Form factor
  6. Anti-theft protection
  7. Entertainment experience
  8. Stylish design
  9. Telephone connectivity

He said these results show that performance still matters, even in these days of dual-core 2.4 GHz mobile processors. He particularly pointed to video and rich media, and did a demo of video-encoding performance comparing Intel's current Core 2 Duo (Merom) with the forthcoming Penryn chip... but the benchmark he ran didn't make a numeric comparison, and didn't even run to completion. I'd estimate that it showed about a 20% performance advantage.

Perlmutter repeated yesterday's keynote claim that Intel's integrated graphics products will be ten times faster in 2010 than they were in 2006... but again, it's clear this will still leave the company far behind the competition. Both AMD and NVIDIA offer integrated graphics products that are several times faster than Intel's current solutions, and they too will get ten times faster, or more, during that four-year period.

He also talked about the work Intel is doing to shrink the size of notebooks, such as offering future CPU and chipset components in smaller packages. The usual claim is that these packages are roughly the same cost as standard packages, at least in Intel's umpteen-million sales volumes, so why not? But in fact a smaller CPU package often means the motherboard it's going onto needs more layers for signal routing, so there is a cost issue here. The smallest notebooks can sometimes command a price premium from buyers, but not always.

Perlmutter showed a slide that seemed to imply processors for the Montevina platform (due in the second half of 2008, for use with the Penryn processor) will have a 25W power target, vs. the 34W specification for current processors. I think it's more likely there will continue to be processors in the 35W range plus some 25W parts.

Although yesterday we saw only a desktop-sized reference board for Montevina, today there was a working notebook said to be based on the Montevina silicon.

There was also some talk about Penryn power management repeating material previously presented, some demos of WiMAX hardware, and a teaser about the Silverthorne processor... but that's to be covered in greater detail in my next post about the second keynote of IDF Day 2. Stay tuned...