Summary: We finally got around to covering the Intel Developer Forum. There were quite a few new tidbits announced out here in SF. All the way from Serial ATA to XScale. Take a gander.
Rolling over to SF for IDF is about as easy as it gets for us when it comes to trade shows. From our offices, we have a direct line of sight to the Bay Bridge. Why bother with traffic reports when you can just look out the window. Compared to other conferences, like E3 and Comdex, IDF is a relative breeze when it comes to registration and getting about. Even though security was supposed to be very thorough, there weren’t any delays because of them. The only thing that got in the way this time was I. With school and midterms, getting around to IDF proved to be very difficult.
Just like at Comdex, tons of new stuff is announced at IDF. The big difference here is that it’s mainly Intel’s day in the limelight, or shall I say week. Intel itself announced quite a few things on the first day of the show.
On the general Intel info stuff, they now have five fabs running at .13 micron, with plans for a new plant in New Mexico. They also started using 300mm wafers at a plant in Oregon, along with a .13-micron production line; this yields roughly four times as many processors as an .18-micron process paired with 200mm wafers. It seems as though Intel doesn’t seem consumption going down the coming years, in spite of the economic downturn.
Starting with Craig Barrett’s (CEO of Intel) keynote speech, Barret explained how Intel was going to get through the recession. It was going to spend itself silly. In doing so, they hope to create loads of new products that will stimulate the economy. This does make some sense, as sitting idle and waiting for things to get better sure isn’t going to help, especially if you want to be the one on top in the end.
Going along the Itanium lineup, Intel continues to expand, announcing an entire lineup. Codenamed McKinley, Madison and Deerfield, and the far off Montecito. The Madison and Deerfield lines are scheduled to be built on the .13 process, while Montecito is to be built on a .09-micron process sometime in 2004. McKinley is supposed to pop into production pretty soon with a whopping 3MB of L3 cache. Moving a little further down the timeline, Madison appears with a 6MB L3 cache.
With the upcoming Plumas E7500 server chipset, Intel has decided to use dual channel DDR SDRAM, forgoing the expected RDRAM path. The new Xeon processors that go in the chipset will run at 1.8,2, and 2.2GHz. It has been quite some time since Intel released a server level chipset, and it means quite a bit that they went with DDR SDRAM. If one looks at Intel’s current chipset pipeline, it’s rather interesting to note that Rambus doesn’t seem to play a large role.
Serial ATA II?
After getting everybody all aboard for Serial ATA, it was time to up the stakes on this fledgling technology. Whereas the original specification was designed with the home PC in mind, Serial ATA II intends to bring all these benefits to the server market. This new spec will bring with it second generation signaling rates. Normally the spiffy stuff trickles down, not up.
New on the Intel networking side is the introduction of three single chip Gigabit Ethernet chips. Covering the range from server to desktop PC these chips provide absurd transfer rates while at the same time reducing size and power consumption. The new controllers are dubbed the Intel 82546EB, 82546EM and the 82540EM. The first two controllers are meant to enter the server market, providing dual port access with a single chip. The 82540EM is meant for the desktop PC, the current size of the chip is smaller than a dime, resulting in minimal changes for motherboard manufacturers and thereby reducing the time to market.
Not too much information was available on this rather interesting tidbit. There are quite a few different case form factors in the pipeline at the moment. All want to reduce the noise, and space requirements taken up by the modern PC. New designs in power supplies, heat flow and case design will help to reduce noise and improve on aesthetics that have been shoved under the mat for nearly two decades.
While Rambus and Intel seemed to have parted like a pair of scorned lovers out of some Jerry Springer rerun, Rambus is still trying to put out. On display were RIMMs capable of 1066 and 1200. Soundly trumping anything DDR has to offer for quite a while, and at the same time seemingly an afterthought to the company that has had 800 out for years now. According to Rambus, 1066 should be cakewalk to manufacture. It seems to only be waiting on the release of the 533MHz Northwood.
That should be wrap for our IDF coverage. IDF plans on coming around twice a year; with any luck we’ll have better coverage of it in the fall. Until then wait patiently for the new toys. As a teaser, stay tuned for a new 1066 article paired with the Northwood.
|© Copyright 2003 FS Media, Inc.|