updated 01:20 pm EDT, Thu September 28, 2006
IDF Special Report: Part 2
(continued from IDF Part 1) Another segment of the keynote was devoted to Intel's adherence and advancement of Moore's law which was supported by a video tribute. Next, Otellini announced that 65 nm shipments had crossed over the 40 million mark which now out- ships 90nm. No one else in the industry has yet to ship a 65nm system, touted Otellini.
As the steward's of Moore's law, Otellini began to shift the discussion to Intel's next generation 45nm CPU technology which promises to deliver an additional 20% performance boost – beginning in the second half of 2007. Intel has up to fifteen new and distinct 45nm processor designs in development which will roll out over the life cycle of this technology.
Otellini stated that "beyond processors, Intel plans to provide a sustained model of technology leadership through two-year cycles by providing new microprocessor architectures in 2008 with Nehalem and 2010 with Gesher which will launch on 32nm silicon." In the short term, however, it should be noted the actual slide that Otellini presented did in fact place the 45nm CPU's bordering between their current Core Microarchitecture and that of Nehalem's. So let's hope that the first generation of quad-core iMacs launching in the latter half of 2007 will also include Nehalem's new Microarchitecture. Otherwise, we may see Apple delay their launch of this dynamic-duo until Q1 2008.
The last thing to note from this slide is Intel's claim that they'll provide the market with a 300 percent performance per watt increase by the end of the decade. Performance per watt, if you remember, was a core selling point that Steve Jobs made during his bombshell 2005 WWDC keynote whereby he announced Apple's intentions of switching to the Intel platform in 2006.
On the mobility front, Otellini discussed Intel's next generation Centrino line up which will most notably include 802.11n wireless capabilities and the addition of NAND flash memory placed unto the motherboard for the very first time.
Otellini stated that "NAND on the motherboard significantly improves notebook performance and battery life. Essentially what the NAND cache does is that its frequently accessed data will be stored on the NAND cache rather than the hard drive. This means it's more available to the main memory and the microprocessor, it doesn't have to go out to the hard drive. Since it doesn't have to go to the drive as often, it consumes less battery life under notebook mode. But more importantly, because it's closer and faster in semiconductor memory, you have faster boot times, 2X faster application load times and a 2X decrease in the time you resume from hibernation. All of this coming along with power consumer reduction."
He continued by saying that "802.11n is the next generation of the Wi-Fi 802 standard. Today, most notebooks ship with an a/g wireless card or chip in them. The data rate on the a/g card is 54 Mbps. 11n has more than 5X the data rate and more than 5X the throughput rate of a/g."
"This gives you stunning new capabilities. You could have multiple video streams; you could actually have multiple high-def video streams wirelessly now, being enabled on this new class of notebooks."
"The next inflection point though for mobility is really what I call Broadband2Go. What do I mean by that? I mean by that we have a personal, portable, broadband Internet available to us as individuals wherever we're going."
"To make this happen, to make it a reality we need two things. We need pervasive wireless broadband and we need a new class of ultra mobile computers that we could literally carry around in our hand."
From there, Otellini provided a brief update on Intel's WiMAX front. Most important is the fact that the Mobile version of WiMAX, 802.16e, has been approved by the IEEE. Secondly is the fact that Sprint and Clearwire have committed to WiMAX networks that will cover over 100 million users nation wide by 2008. Otellini used Sprint's own assessment as to why WiMAX is superior to EV-DO: it's four times faster and one-tenth the cost.
At the moment, Otellini stated that there were over 200 WiMAX trials around the globe and many deployments.
In 2007, WiMAX will be available via add-on cards whereas in 2008, WiMAX will be integrated unto a single module with Hi-Fi and essentially becomes a part of the Centrino platform.
Otellini also updated Intel's roadmap for mobility concerning the ultra small ultra portable device market. In the first half of 2007 the CPU Thermal Design will only use half the power and one-quarter the surface space in terms of driving down the form factor's density. In 2008 Intel will offer 10X lower power consumption and only one-seventh the surface space. Beyond 2008, Intel has plans to move to single chip integration.
In 2008, battery life will be extended from an average of about three hours today to more than seven for handheld devices. All of the ultra mobile handhelds will offer full internet capabilities and be able to run multiple versions of operating systems like Vista – and obviously Mac OS X.
Otellini's decision to kick start his keynote with an Apple themed video and sharing the stage with Phil Schiller as his first guest truly demonstrated the importance that Intel is placing on their partnership with Apple. Yes, duly noted.
While Otellini's keynote in general was short on any jaw-dropping announcements, I appreciated his no-nonsense promise to deliver real products to market in satisfactory time frames. To be fair, Otellini's keynote was simply an overview of the Forum's focus and other keynotes will be covered in the days ahead.
Two things stood out for me in Otellini's keynote. The first was Intel's aggressiveness to be ahead of the curve on delivering quad-core systems to market over the next 12 months. The second was Intel's dedicated focus on WiMAX and all things mobile to ignite the next wave of the internet.
Lastly, Otellini touched on new internet services being made available for the ViiV platform and covered recent partnerships established with DirecTV and so forth. However, in light of Apple's plans to introduce their first iteration of their new iTV device in Q1 2007 and Apple's general lead with iTMS web services, I didn't see anything in Otellini's keynote on this front worth reporting on specifically.
Special Report contributed by Neo.