Intel CEO previews next generation chip
- By John K. Waters
In his opening keynote at last week's Intel Developer Forum, Intel president
Paul Otellini told a packed auditorium at the San Jose Convention Center that
his company plans to continue boosting chip performance and adding features
despite the downturn in PC sales. Intel, he maintained, will maintain its market
dominance by utilizing technologies such as hyperthreading, the
performance-enhancing server technology his company plans to bring to the
desktop later this year. He also promised new technology for securing data on
hard drives during 2003.
Hyperthreading allows different elements of the chip, such as the integer
unit for graphics processing the floating-point unit for complex calculations,
to be active at the same time. Otellini called the performance improvement such
multitasking yields (25 to 30 percent by Intel's estimates) a ''free boost''
because the circuitry to enable it is already on the Pentium 4. Hyperthreading
will be part of the 3GHz Pentium 4 for desktops, due later in Q3, Otellini said.
Otellini used the forum to outline Intel's plans to unveil new security
technology he claimed can prevent hackers or viruses from obtaining or
corrupting data on a PC. Code named LaGrande, this technology places a secure
wrapper around selected hard-drive data, the keyboard, the display and the
interconnects inside the box, he said.
''[LaGrande] will minimize the ability of people to steal credit card numbers
or break into your hard drive to snoop,'' Otellini told his audience.
''Protecting users' data, protecting users' identity, protecting transactions
are all on the list of things we want to do.'' Otellini said LaGrande will be
part of Prescott, Intel's next gen desktop chips, expected later this year. He
added that it will be will be ''opt in'' technology, allowing users to turn it
Otellini also demoed the next version of its Itanium processor, code named
Madison, on computers from NEC. The Madison chip contains approximately half a
billion transistors, compared with the Itanium II's approximately 220 million,
Otellini said. The processor, scheduled for release next year, will outperform
the current Itanium II by 30 percent, he added.
Otellini also demoed a new notebook chip called Banias, due in the first
quarter of next year. The Banias chips are expected to run at up to 1.6GHz, and
Intel says that notebooks running it will have longer battery life than standard
Pentium notebooks. They will also come with integrated 802.11a and 802.11b
wireless technology, Otellini said.
The four-day conference drew a record crowd to the San Jose Convention Center
(Sept 9-12), according to conference organizations. The event was
future-focused, covering such topics as nanotechnology, wireless networking,
gigabit Ethernet, advances in graphics programming and a dual-core
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached