For those who play PC games (and please count me in), the most expensive and necessary investment has always been the graphics card (also known as the GPU, graphics processing unit). High-end cards, from either ATI or nVidia, can cost $500 and up. That's not even factoring in the case, cooling system, power supply, etc., which also have to be equally high-end to support the increasingly large and power-hungry graphics cards. And there seems to be no end to all this. Or is there?
SAN FRANCISCO--Most folks who try the Second Life virtual world grimace as the primitive 3D imagery drags its way onto their screens. Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner, though, smacks his lips with anticipation.
The chipmaker, always on the lookout for something that will give people a reason to buy a new PC, has reason to be excited about Second Life and its ilk. The technology, while still mostly for a fairly nerdy audience, has the potential to appeal to a broader audience than video games where overmuscled marines blow away aliens.
And just as significantly, Rattner said in a … Read more
Intel plans to launch an effort called LessWatts.org on Thursday, a combination of open-source software and helpful hints to reduce power consumption of Linux servers, PCs and gadgets.
LessWatts, to be detailed during a Intel Developer Forum speech by Renee James, vice president and general manager of Intel's Software and Solutions Group, is geared toward technically sophisticated folks from programmers to system administrators. It gathers together a number of Intel projects, such as the PowerTop utility for finding which software is pestering the processor and preventing it from dozing in low-power states.
Taking Intel's advice and fixes … Read more
I learned today that Intel has a Mobility Group and an Ultra Mobility Group. There's a sensible explanation for the difference: notebook PCs are defined as "mobile"; smaller systems are considered "ultra-mobile."
Intel further divides these ultra-mobile machines into two smaller classes: ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) and mobile Internet devices (MIDs). Traditionally, the former have 7" screens; the latter category goes all the way down to the tiny screens of smartphones.
Intel's Anand Chandrasekher, senior VP and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group, took the stage for the second keynote of the day to talk about "Unleashing the Internet Experience."
His primary contention is that… Read more
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:… Read more
Two and a half years ago, I wrote an article entitled Intel: The one-hit wonder. My conclusion, at the time, was that Intel's business and operating model--built around its dominance in PC processors--is a trap that has kept the chip giant from competing effectively in hot markets like communications and consumer electronics.
With Intel Developer Forum in full swing in the city by the bay, I found myself wondering, has anything changed since I wrote that story and is the conclusion still valid? In my opinion, the answers are no and yes, respectively.
Don't get me wrong. Intel is still the world's 800-pound chip gorilla. It's actually made quite a comeback from a tough bout of market share loss to perennial rival AMD. The Centrino brand is killing in the mobile Wi-Fi space and it's working feverishly to duplicate that success with WiMAX.… Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Intel will begin building flash-memory drives into servers in 2008, starting with 32GB models that the company promises will boost system performance.
Flash drives can perform 10 to 50 times as many input-output transactions per second as conventional magnetic hard drives, said Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, in a speech at Intel Developer Forum here. In addition, they consume 4.5 times less power and write data at twice the speed.
Of course, the flash-drive capacities are much smaller. "The cost per bit is clearly going to be higher," Gelsinger said in … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Chipmakers regularly shrink the size of their products, improve their performance, and cut their prices. But chips still sell for about the same price about the same when you measure it by the acre.
That's the view of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who strolled about the press and analyst room after his on-stage talk at the Intel Developer Forum. An acre of chips is worth $1 billion, he estimated, about the same as it was several years ago. You get more chips now, but the old chips sold for more.
It's a great factoid to know. Other … Read more
In a technical session following Pat Gelsinger's keynote, Intel Fellows Stephen Pawlowski and Ofri Wechsler described Penryn, the newest dual-core processor from Intel. Penryn is shipping to OEMs now, with a formal launch scheduled for November 12. The full details of Penryn are available elsewhere, so I'll just focus on some interesting points from the presentation.
Penryn has a "deep power-down" state called CC6 (I don't know what the acronym means). The state saves the core's architectural state into a special on-die memory. According to the presentation, the chip's lowest power consumption can only be achieved when both cores on the chip are in the CC6 state.
Penryn will also support "dynamic acceleration," in which one core of the chip can run faster if the other… Read more
Update: I added some details about USB 3.0 device availability and performance.
SAN FRANCISCO--Intel and others plan to release a new version of the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus technology in the first half of 2008, a revamp the chipmaker said will make data transfer rates more than 10 times as fast by adding fiber-optic links alongside the traditional copper wires.
Intel is working fellow USB 3.0 Promoters Group members Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments, NEC and NXP Semiconductors to release the USB 3.0 specification in the first half of 2008, said Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel's … Read more