Intel Corp. placed a big bet on dual core and WiMax technologies yesterday as it kicked off its first developer forum since a string of product delays prompted a radical reappraisal of its product roadmap.
Intel’s president and COO Paul Otellini said in his opening keynote speech that the industry was in the midst of two inflexion points. One was the evolution of connectivity, with the increasing prevalence of wireless.
The second inflexion point, according to Otellini, was parallelism. While parallel computing technologies have migrated from mainframes down to servers and workstations, Otellini sketched out a future of personal parallelization, as the vendor goes beyond its HyperThreading technology, and brings dual and multicore technology to all its CPU product lines.
He reiterated the company’s target of shipping dual core technologies into the market next year. By 2006, he said, 40% of desktop products, 85% of servers, and 70% of notebooks will be dual core.
Otellini also showed off Montecito, the upcoming dual core Itanium line. This will feature 1.7 billion transistors, will be both dual core, and multithreaded, and so in a four way system, will offer 16 logical processors. It will feature 24MB of cache. Abhi Takwalkar, vice president and general manager for Intel’s enterprise platforms group, said the chip would offer a one and a half to two times performance improvement.
In a question answer session after his keynote, Otellini declined to say whether the company’s dual core plans would be based around its Prescott platform, or the Dothan core used in the Centrino line. Rather, he said, It wouldn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to assume we’re doing multiple things.
As for wireless, Intel has previously demonstrated its belief in Wifi with the Centrino platform, and Otellini yesterday threw the firm’s weight behind WiMax, which he said could be as disruptive to existing cable-based broadband technologies as the cell phone was to landlines. He said that from 2006, WiMax would be supportion in the vendor’s Centrino mobile platform.
As well as pushing its wireless and parallel themes, Intel yesterday provided some updates on its enterprise product roadmap. It quietly confirmed that it now expects its updated Madison 9M to ship before the end of this year – it originally planned to ship the part by the end of this quarter.
New additions to the server chip roadmap included Cranford, which will be a low-end MP chip set to ship next year, its defining feature likely to be a reduced level of cache compared to its sister products. Irwindale, slated for 2005, is basically Nocona with 2MB of cache. Montvale, on the map for 2005/2006 is a follow-on to Montecito, while Whitefield is a multicore chip in the Xeon family, slated for some time after 2006.
In recent months Intel has been forced to postpone a number of product launches. Yesterday Otellini admitted the company has recently had some fumbles. He said the firm was now returning to a more conservative approach on scheduling product releases in an effort to be more predicatable.