Intel quickly expanded its developer forum to include many stops across the globe, but after recent cost cutting measures it scaled back the number of IDFs down to just three. The Spring IDF, normally held in San Francisco, has instead moved to Beijing, while Fall IDF will take place in SF as usual.

China is a logical location for an IDF given the focus of technology on its booming population, and this IDF comes at a particularly open time for Intel making it even more likely to be the site of great disclosures.

This Spring IDF follows on the coattails of Intel’s Penryn/Nehalem announcements and while we won’t get nearly as many details out of it, there are definitely important items to come.

Intel’s Justin Rattner spoke briefly about Intel’s plans for producing even lower powered CPUs before the end of the decade; the target being a 10x reduction in power consumption for at least one chip in Intel’s lineup by 2010. Rattner also demonstrated a 2 TFLOP version of Intel’s 80-core Teraflops research chip, most likely running at a higher clock speed to hit the 2 TFLOPs figure.

A trail of Skulls

An unusual announcement came out of IDF today about Intel’s upcoming Skulltrail platform. Skulltrail is effectively a competitor to AMD’s Quad FX platform, it is a dual socket motherboard capable of supporting two quad-core CPUs. Intel lists Skulltrail has having support for “four PCI Express slots”, which we can only assume means four PCIe x16 slots.

Skulltrail won’t make its debut until later this year and Intel isn’t confirming whether or not it uses LGA-775 chips or Xeons. The predecessor to Skulltrail is Intel’s V8 platform, originally demonstrated at CES 2007 in Las Vegas, and unfortunately that platform requires the use of Xeon CPUs. Since it’s effectively a Xeon based workstation platform, you’re stuck with using FB-DIMMs which are hardly desirable from a cost, performance or thermal standpoint when building an enthusiast class PC. We do hope that Skulltrail severs the tie with Xeon/FB-DIMMs but we are quite suspicious of Intel’s lack of full disclosure today at IDF.

The Long Awaited Penryn Update
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  • rqle - Monday, April 16, 2007 - link

    My fear for AMD is that intel can clock their chip relatively higher and can ramp it up much faster than AMD. K10 will probably prove to be a stronger Quad chip clock for clock. But intel easy response is going to ramp up its Penryn chip up to 3.5+ range either matching or beating AMD chips and then KO? with its Nehalem onboard controller chip VERY shortly after the plan AMD launch.
  • fikimiki - Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - link

    You forget that every MHz means more power to consume. 3.5GHz chip will have 150W TDP or more. And 45nm won't help.
  • defter - Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - link

    Why wouldn't 45nm help? At 65nm, Intel will achieve 3GHz for quad core 130W TDP parts. It's quite logical to assume that Intel will hit at least 3.6GHz for quad core parts in Q1 2008 if necessary with 130W TDP naturally. That's only 20% clockspeed increase at the same TDP.

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