Intel Developer Forum Spring 2004 - Wrapupby Derek Wilson on February 23, 2004 8:44 PM EST
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The final day's keynote is always a thought provoking experience. This is the time during the forum where Intel looks deep into its R&D labs and gives us a little glimpse of what the future holds. We heard from Sean Maloney, VP and GM of Intel's Communications Group, and Pat Gelsinger, the CTO of Intel, on all the latest and greatest ideas Intel is focusing on.
In addition to the final day's keynote, this wrap up will take a look at the floor of the Technology Showcase. We will also be looking a little more in depth at what exactly is going on with PCI Express, ATI, and NVIDIA.
We are still reading through documents and doing research on Intel's x86-64 extensions, though there isn't any more news we can bring you at this moment. As with other processors technologies, when x86-64 is finally enabled (when Nocona launches), we will have an in depth analysis of the architecture enhancements.
Broadband Wireless Technology
Back in the days of the original Quake, average users first realized that their computer just wasn't fast enough. In response, processors, graphics cards and systems were pushed to run games very well. Even still, games are the applications that tend to push users sytems to their limits. Sean Maloney pinpoints broadband as the next area that will push computers to their limit. As broadband wireless becomes a reality, portable wide pipes will push PDAs and other devices to actually use the data to which they have access.
In looking at future technology to push portable devices, Intel is targeting key areas that are current bottlenecks with portable systems. Their first announcement of the keynote was of a 90nm NOR Flash Memory device intended to help speed up the normally slow memory used. Sean then ran a demo of a portable visualization technology (codenamed Carbonado) that can play full motion video and push quite a few polygons/second to run 3D games at smooth frame rates. At this rate, we may have to expand our graphics coverage to include cell phone GPUs.
Unfortunately, Sean didn't want to talk much about their radio enhancements (indicating that the next IDF might lend a little more information in this area). He did indicate that Intel is exploring MEMS systems for use in radios.
The success or failure of products using these technologies depends heavily on the availability of wireless broadband and pervasive networking. Intel isn't going to leave those technologies alone either. We saw a demo of Xilinx's implementation of the recently finalized AS interconnect standard. In addition, Intel is working on 10Gbps and 1Gpbs network switch silicon (90nm of course), 4Gbps optical transceivers (due out 2h '04), and even a 10 gigabit PCI-X ethernet card. Sean was also very happy with the current push toward 802.16 and WiMAX. One of the most interesting numbers Intel threw out is that they expect 802.16e (portable WiMAX) to pop up in 2006.