Intel to Reveal Updated Multicore Schedule

By John G. Spooner  |  Print this article Print


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Highlights of the chip maker's fall Intel Developer Forum, beginning Tuesday, will include updated plans for chips with two or more processor cores and a new processor architecture.

Intel will have a multitude of multicore processors on hand this week at its fall developer forum, which opens Tuesday.

Paul Otellini, CEO of the Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker, will kick it off by unveiling what is likely to be the biggest news from this year's fall event. Otellini will open the three-day fall Intel Developer Forum with a keynote address that will include the first details of a new processor architecture. The architecture will present a new take on the circuitry that underpins the bulk of Intel Corp.'s future PC and server chips.

The architecture, whose planned announcement has already sparked much discussion, is expected to draw heavily from the circuitry behind Intel Pentium M notebook processor. It is likely to focus on attaining a mix of performance and energy efficiency for multicore processors, which pack more than one processor core into a single chip.

Click here to read more about Intel's new processor architecture.

Intel typically uses its developer forum, which takes place twice a year in the United States and which visits a multitude of international venues as well, to set the tone for its partners for months and often years to come. The company's multicore plans, which include nearly 20 different chips, have been the main focus of its developer forums during the last year.

Intel began to outline its plans to shift its Pentiums, Xeons and Itaniums to dual-cores—and later multiple cores—at its developer forum in the fall of 2004.

This time around, Intel will show some of the results. The chip maker has either begun shipping dual-core chips, in the case of desktop chips such as its Pentium D, or is getting ready to. Servers based on Intel's dual-core Xeon server chips, machines which have been sampling since July, will come out later this year, the company said last week. Previously, it had aimed to roll the chips in the first quarter of 2006.

Click here to read more about the progression of Intel's multicore plans.

The new multicore strategy, which emphasizes a processor's overall performance over its sheer speed, is starkly different than the picture Intel had painted in the past. During its spring developer forum of 2002, the chip maker discussed plans for its Pentium 4 to hit 5GHz. Instead, following its shift to a multicore strategy, its single-core Pentium 4 has been hovering at 3.8GHz and, right now, its fastest Pentium D dual-core chip runs at 3.2GHz.

Next Page: Intel will also discuss product platforms and business groups.

Aside from unveiling its chip architecture plans and discussing its progress in multicore processors, Intel will offer up details on its product platforms and its business groups—it will discuss its efforts in the health care market for the first time—as well as show off some of its research projects.

Forum attendees will receive updates on Intel's plans for its desktop, notebook and server platforms. Earlier this year, the company reorganized itself around the new strategy, which focuses on offering its hardware in a package that's tuned for a specific job, versus selling it piece by piece.

Sean Maloney, general manager of Intel's Mobility Group, will use his keynote address to offer an update on Napa, the chipmaker's latest notebook platform. Napa, which represents the third generation of Intel's notebook platform, also known by the Centrino brand name, will incorporate Yonah, a dual-core version of the Pentium M that is due out in notebooks next year. Intel will also add a new chipset along with wireless networking capabilities and additional features such as the ability to support virtualization, or partitioning of a computer.

Maloney will also touch on the company's plans for wireless networking, including Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and UWB or Ultra Wideband formats.

Intel may also discuss a project called Low Power Intel Architecture, designed to bring its x86 chips to devices such as ultra-small notebooks and cellular phones.

Intel will also update its desktop and server platform plans, giving details on the platforms that will ship along with its dual-core Xeon chips later this year. Server platforms, such as Truland, will support the Xeons by helping to packaging new chipsets with features such as virtualization, I/O acceleration and Intel's Active Management Technology for helping track hardware and diagnose problems.

Click here to read more about how server makers reacted to Intel shifting its Xeon plans.

Intel has also said it will start deliveries of a dual-core Itanium 2 chip later this year.

Intel's desktop disclosures will include details on its plans for the Digital Office—which includes things such as its Business Desktop Platform, a bundle of chips for corporate desktop machines.

The chip maker is also likely to discuss its plans to deliver Sossaman, a low-power server chip that's based on Yonah, in 2006.

Aside from elaborating on processors and platforms, Intel will also discuss new business ventures, along with some of its research.

Intel will detail its "Platform 2015 vision," in which it predicts computing platforms will be self aware and able to self manage.

The chip maker will also, for the first time, unveil its plans for the health care market. The company, which reorganized itself around product platforms in January 2005, made health care one of its priorities.

Click here to read more about how Intel researchers are evaluating using carbon nanotubes to build transistors.

Intel won't be the only company making announcements at its developer forum, however. A number of companies will join the chip maker at the event. Numerous companies will show off their wares at an IDF technology showcase. Adaptec Inc., for one, will show off its Serial Attached SCSI products, while UltraCell Corp. will show off fuel cell technology and Xensource Inc. will provide updates on its virtualization software.

Check out eWEEK.com's for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET News.com, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

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