Intel Roadmap Introduction

We've skipped a lot of the corporate and enterprise discussion for most of our recent Intel roadmaps. There's a good reason for the omission: very little had changed from the previous roadmaps. Every time we see a new Intel roadmap, the amount of information compressed into the 60 to 80 slides is simply staggering. Desktop, Mobile, Server, Enterprise, and Internet Appliance plans are included, and that's just the broad categories. Within each of those you find information on the chipsets, motherboards, and sometimes cases and other details. With few exceptions, there is almost always enough content for a couple articles, though you often need to dig a little deeper to find the interesting bits. We've got several pieces coming out of our latest Intel roadmap, with this article focusing primarily on the corporate sector.

Besides the information density of their roadmaps, devoting large portions to the needs of businesses and corporations is one of the things that really sets Intel apart from AMD right now. Sure, AMD has the faster desktop parts, and there are many AMD adherents that feel that should be enough for anyone looking to purchase a new computer. That is, simply put, a distorted view of the world. For home users and enthusiasts, that attitude makes a lot of sense. As much as I like my AMD systems, though, if I were to start a business that had 25 or more computers, there's a good chance I'd be running Intel systems, and there's a good chance they would come from Dell (or some other large OEM). How can that be!? Am I not an enthusiast? That's near-blasphemy! Before any of you begin leveling charges of Intel favoritism, let me explain.

If I were running a medium-sized or larger business, as much as I would like to have faster systems, taking the time to hand-build that many PCs is simply not making good use of time. Businesses normally want identical PCs (in order to simplify support), they want better warranties, they want one point of contact, and they want all of the systems assembled and delivered in a relatively short time frame. Higher performance that might enable employees to play games would actually be a bad thing, so sticking with an integrated graphics solution unless something faster is required would be a good idea. Finally, businesses don't want some fly-by-night shop to disappear after building the systems, leaving them to deal with problems on their own.

Until AMD can get partners that focus on bringing out Corporate/Enterprise desktop systems - not just "Small or Medium Business" systems - with AMD processors, most companies won't consider switching. (Incidentally, we're actually testing some AMD SMB systems right now, and they've left a good impression. It's unfortunate that they aren't billed as Large Business systems, though.)

Before we continue with the roadmap, we found some information at the end of the roadmap that can serve as a helpful glossary and/or technology primer. Intel throws around code names, acronyms, and technical jargon with wild abandon in their roadmaps, and we tend to follow suit. (We would guess that there are at least 50 code names listed in any given roadmap!) We'll use quite a few of these terms throughout many of our roadmap articles, so it's only fair to give you a quick cheatsheet.

Intel Technology Glossary
Feature Description
Hyper-Threading Technology (HTT) Improves CPU utilization by processing two software threads on one core.
64-bit computing / Intel EM64T 64-bit computing and related instructions.
Demand Based Switching (DBS) with EIST Enables server/workstation platform to go into reduced power state during periods of low use.
PCI Express Next generation serial I/O technology offering scalable bandwidth up to 8 Gigabits/Second.
DDR2 Memory Enables faster memory and increased memory bandwidth at lower power compared to DDR.
Dual Core Improves processor throughput by increasing CPU resources.
Intel I/O Acceleration Technology (I/OAT) Platform level I/O acceleration based on improvements in the Processor; MCH and LAN (ESB2 or NIC).
FBD (Fully Buffered DIMM) Memory Next generation memory technology that uses DDR2 DRAMS in a serial point-to-point interconnect.
Intel Active Management Technology (IAMT) System state-independent access to management functions and asset data.
Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) Hardware enhancements to the processor enabling Improved virtualization solutions.
Pellston Certain cache errors can be handled without restarting the system.
Foxton Enables CPU to operate at increased frequency when CPU power is below specified max levels.

You know things are complex when the simplified definitions of terms include cross references and even self-references. Virtualization Technology enables improved virtualization solutions? Who would have guessed? If you'd like additional explanations of what some of the terms mean, feel free to ask and we'll do our best to answer. Several of the above features that are summarized with a single sentence could easily be the topic of a lengthy article.
Stable Image Platform Program
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  • ShizNet - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    ...25 such systems will cost around $35000, which is on the low end of the salary scale for an IT worker. ... you to cut at least one IT position per 25 computers

    NICE advise!!! that's must be the BRIGHTEST idea u came up with

    who do you think reads your webSite?
  • Doormat - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Cutting 1 IT worker is a LOT of money. $35,000 doesnt do anything, when you start to consider any health benefits, pensions, etc. Usually, you have to double the salary to find out what any one employee really costs the company, from overhead of cubicle space, electricity used, benefits, etc, PLUS salary.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    As I said, the low (VERY low) end of the IT salary range. How much would Joe Computers charge to build and assemble 25 systems? How long would it take? How long will Joe stay in business? 3 year warranty and 17" LCD plus the rest of the computer for $1400 (including XP Professional) is a very good price for a corporation. I'm positive that the Wal-Marts of the world don't really care about whether or not Intel and Dell make the fastest PCs.

    Let's say a business formerly had 10 IT workers supporting 150 users and PCs (not unheard of in the business), and they switch to Dell and eliminate six of those IT people. They may end up with $300,000+ a year in additional budget for computer costs. That would buy them brand new PCs every other year, or else they could upgrade over time - just replace older PCs with a new model when necessary - and end up saving on $200K+ in IT costs yearly. That's a small amount for a large corporation, but everything adds up over time.
  • ShizNet - Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - link

    it's all good as of - Coulda, Shoulda, Musta been...
    but in real world - some ppl r SO stupid they can't even create folders on their PC.. and don't even start me on CEO level - those ppl need PERSONAL tech 24/7 - ppl who's been around the block know what i'm talking about.
    so PC worth crap in 2 yrs. and tech jobs don't get easier w/every ServicePack and patch. who do u think will service those dinos in 5-6 yrs. if u trade them for tech with your BRIGHT solution????

    next time find better analogy
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    Some ppl r so stoopid that they cant spell and complain about others that r smarter than they r....

    Four IT techs can support 150 people quite easily. I did that at college, where it was actually one supervisor and two techs supporting the entire HR department. For a university of 30,000+ students, the HR staff gets quite large. We had at least 150 PCs at the time, although we used Micron instead of Dell. We would typically order about 10 to 20 new PCs a year, they would be installed at the locations that needed the additional processing power the most, and everything else would shift down. We'd then retire a similar number of PCs to the grave yard (i.e. recycling center).

    The "bright solution" Jarred mentions is pretty much how most corporations run things. So, who has the better grasp on the way the market works: a person describing how corporations actually work, or someone whining because they don't like reality? Try to broaden your perspective on the world a bit, ShizNet. To much shiz in your head right now, I guess?
  • Questar - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    You may not like it, but it's true. The fewer people needed to support a system the better.

    Really what value to a business does a tech provide? Does he increase revenue? Reduce costs of products or services? Increase shareholder value?
    No. A tech is nothing more than additional overhead.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    FYI, I work as a tech at a large corporation. There's a reason we can have 4 technicians supporting phone, network, 150+ PCs, etc. We still have a lot of down time, but there is job security in not having 20 IT workers at a location. Of course, HQ has a ton of computer people running most of the server stuff, but you still need a few onsite technicians.

    If I were offered a job as a computer tech supporting a company with only 10 to 20 PCs, I'd be concerned about what would happen long-term. Setup a place properly, and there's not much to do other than sit around waiting for something to go wrong. You either get people trying to expand your job functions (to "better utilize resources"), or else they start having you "train a backup" who functions as a regular employee.

    Anyway, I'm simply reporting how big business usually functions (in regards to IT). Is it good, bad, right, wrong? That's not the point; this is - as far as I can see - how corporations view the PC market. They want it to work, and they want to spend as little as possible getting it to work.
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    Jarred, are u sure about the intro date of Q2 2006 on the later Montecitos??
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    That's what shows up in the PDF I have. It could be June 30th for all I know, or April 1st. Delays are also possible, as there is some question of 667 FSB support with Itanium. They show stuff like "667 Enabled FSB", but in the past FSB speed ramps for Itanium have been slow in coming. I also don't see any mention of RAM type for the Montecito update. I'm guessing it's still DDR, but DDR-200 is listed under Q3/Q4'05 and nothing shows up under the later quarters. Heh... odd. Maybe we'll get FBD on Itanium as well, sooner rather than later? (Don't quote me on that!)
  • IntelUser2000 - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    Intel won't make faster chipsets until 2007, when Tukwila is out. They cancelled the original 667MHz FSB chipset for Itanium. I dunno why, I guess its the validation time, or something else, but cancelling that chipset was one of the most stupidest thing to do, as Intel wouldn't rely OEM companies for performance. Intel will rely on companies like SGI, HP, Hitachi for 667MHz FSB enabled chipsets.

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