Kicking off 2002
Itís not one of the largest trade shows around, but itís definitely one of the most informative. Platform Conference, a show where vendors come to exchange information, continues to garner more audience each time it occurs, and always with more interesting information. Like its name suggests, Platform Conference focuses on low-level computing platforms. This is where chipsets, memory, and board manufacturers come to meet. The main sponsors of the show are AMD, VIA, Micron, Infineon, NVIDIA and the HyperTransport Consortium. From that list, you can tell that the primary focus of the conference is either on memory technology and/or AMD technology.
As we went around and browsed through the two-floor conference, we noticed that a few motherboard companies that attended the last PC were noticeably missing from the show. GigaByte, who attended the last conference with a slew of boards to show, was nowhere to be seen this time around and we didnít see companies like Iwill or Epox anywhere on the show floor.
Other exhibitors included companies like Philips Semiconductor, who produces ICs and timing modules for various board makers. Tundra Semiconductor, who flew in from Montreal, Canada, talked about its bridging technology and the ability to support PCI-X on existing platforms. While there were interesting technologies here and there, the majority of talks were based around memory, chipsets and processor architectures Ė specifically 64-bit.
While it initially began as a show dedicated to supporting a VIA/AMD platform, there are a lot more interesting technologies that are beginning to surface at Platform that can be applied to many other platforms as well. Because of this, Intel always sends secret agents over to Platform for product snooping. Determined to find out if VIA has any ulterior motives, Intel engineers went around talking about products that donít actually exist just to see if anyone will accidentally leak out confidential information. While standing at the booth of one board manufacturer, an Intel representative with his badge flipped over to hide his identification asked ďare you guys showing the VIA dual P4 solution?Ē
Rest assured all parties were left baffled by the question. Of course, there arenít any dual Pentium 4 solutions out there and there likely wonít be. Intel has specific markets and already holds an iron grip on the server market with its Xeon processor so bringing the P4 into the foray only confuses and takes away its own market share. Besides, weíre sure chipset manufacturers will want to avoid getting into huge legal issues with Intel.
Relaxing and kicking butt
If you want to have lots of fun, shows like E3, CeBit and Comdex are probably the ones to attend. Platform is a show reserved for press and vendors. You wonít see the typical end-user at Platform and thus most of the discussion that occurs there remains rather business oriented. Even still, Platform attendees still know how to have some fun!
NVIDIA is sure to always have a cool booth, and this time it was of course showing off Xbox, with the party-favorite DOA3. This game naturally gathers an audience quickly when being played on a 50Ē wide screen plasma display and before anyone knew it, there was an Intel/AMD melee.
AMD won 5 to 0.