Hitting the Core

DQI Bureau
New Update

The 1970s was an era of invention, the 80s were all about

scalability, and during the 90s the emphasis was on manufacturing. Today, we are

in the era of efficiency," observed Patrick Gelsinger, Intel's senior

vice-president and general manager, digital enterprise group, while delivering

the keynote at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Bangalore. Over two days,

Intel pitched hard for its new age processors based on its core architecture and

termed its recent addition-Core 2 Duo as a significant turning point in the

'performance per watt' paradigm. Quips Gelsinger, "The industry is

going through the most profound shift in decades, moving into an era where

performance and energy efficiency are critical in all market segments and all

aspects of computing." Intel characterizes its product evolution as 'amazing

products done efficiently with industry support, for the customer'.


Intel also demonstrated some of the upcoming technologies at the

IDF-such as an 80-core prototype chip, which has the capability to perform a

trillion floating point operations per second. The 80-core processor, still in

the Intel labs, uses 80 floating point cores running at about 3.16 GHz. While

Intel did not mention any commercial launch time for its chip, it's rumored

that it will hit the market by 2011. In the meanwhile Intel will be launching

its Quad Core processors in the coming quarters. Processors like Quad Core 2

Extreme and Core 2 Quad are expected to hit the market by end of this year.

Classmate PC

Bridging the Digital Divide

How often do school students crib

about hard bound notebooks? The answer would be a 'very'. At IDF,

Intel came out with a solution. It showcased a model of its low-cost

computing device called the 'Classmate Notebook PC', aimed at

developing geographies. The classmate PC is part of Intel's World Ahead

program that is aimed at improving computer penetration in developing

countries. While the actual specification and pricing is not yet known,

the Classmate PC will most likely have a Celeron processor and be able to

run Windows XP. It is expected to cost around $300 to $400.

The immediate evolution of Intel's power performance paradigm

is on Quad Core for high end computing. On the server side of things, the

upcoming Quad Core Xeon 5300 processor series will have four processors. These

chips are expected to churn out 50% more performance, consuming the same power

as existing dual core processors. On the notebook side of things, Intel says

that the Core Duo and Core 2 Duo are crowning achievements. Also, the company is

right now developing the Santa Rosa platform for the next generation mobile

computing needs. This would be an upgrade of its Merom line and will usher in

new technologies like 802.11n wireless standard and flash memory. The flash

memory will, it's said, significantly enhance the boot times and decrease

power consumption.


The underlying tone this year at the IDF was its escalation of

the 'performance per watt' slogan to 'performance per dollar'. Intel is

aligning all its processors on those lines. The processors based on its Core

architecture are a significant shift as Intel is trying to push down power

consumption and at the same time tweaking processing power. The next major

evolution is the 45nm process from its current 65nm technology.

Showcasing its journey to the 45nm manufacturing process, Intel

unfolded plans for over 50 new instructions, called SSE4, that will extend the

64-instruction set to its next generation processors. The 64 instruction will

bring more graphic capabilities to processors. In the first half of 2007, Intel

is expected to come out with 45nm technology processors. Sources say that Intel

already has 15 of the 45nm products on the development phase. What emerged at

the end of IDF was that Intel is looking at every conceivable computing need and

positioning several of its processors across user segments. With huge emphasis

on multi core and lower power consumption, Intel drove home the point that it is

right on track in creating state-of-the-art products.

Shrikanth G