Intel has laid out its roadmap for introducing dual core technology to its mobile line and demonstrated desktop running on dual core silicon. However, the vendor, chastened by a series of recent execution fumbles, remains tight-lipped on when the technologies would actually reach users.
The vendor has yet to ship its Sonoma notebook platform, originally due this quarter, but now scheduled for the first quarter of next year. That platform will feature the 90 nanometer Dothan CPU, the Alviso chipset and will support 802.11a, b and g.
Yesterday however, at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, the company revealed details of the successor to Sonoma, codenamed Napa. The platform will feature a dual core CPU, codenamed Jonah, and built on a 65 nanometer processor, as well as a chipset dubbed Calistoga and featuring integrated graphics. A mobile I/O hub will support up to six PCI Express ports, while the wireless capability will be handled by a wireless minicard, dubbed Golan.
The vendor would not give a timeframe for the launch of Napa. It has previously said that it will ship dual core technology for desktops and clients in the middle of next year. If it sticks with this schedule, that means Sonoma will face an unusually short lifespan as Intel’s flagship mobile architecture.
While Intel has been trumpeting its upcoming dual core technology, it has released little detail on the architecture prompting speculation on whether a common micro architecture or core would be utilized across different product segments.
Mooly Eden, vice president and director of marketing for Intel’s mobile platforms group, said yesterday that Jonah would be a mobile specific chip. It’s not a powered down desktop product.
Mr Eden said that performance improvements from the shift to Napa could range as high as 200%, depending on how optimized applications were.
Mr Eden was also emphatic that Napa would not skimp on any the requirements for Intel’s Digital Office or Digital Home visions, pointing out that notebooks were taking an ever larger share of the market. Notebooks were the one platform that had to straddle both those environments, he said, with the added need to be able to do this on the go.
The Digital Office vision was outlined by Bill Siu, vice president and general manager for Intel’s desktop systems group. He detailed four key elements of the vision: embedded IT, covering issues such as self-diagnostics and automatic updates; Instant Teamwork, covering issues such as built-in collaboration and multi-modal communication; Information Assistant, covering adaptive learning and intelligent search and analysis; and Pervasive Connectivity, ensuring device and network transparency, simplified service and billing and secure connections.
While Intel said the Digital Office blueprint represented a seismic shift, the company didn’t offer much in the way of product announcements to support it yesterday. It did announce Intel Active Management Technology, which it said would offer IT managers improved manageability and maintenance across their networked PCs.
Other elements, such as built-in collaboration and multi-modal communication seem as if they will come into play as the vendor ramps up the performance of its desktop products by shifting them onto dual core technology.
Intel has previously said dual core would hit desktops in the middle of next year, but Mr Siu would not comment on timelines for the technology yesterday.