Chicago (IL) – Intel will open the doors to its Fall developer forum in San Francisco next week. The new Nehalem micro-architecture, which will first surface in Core i7 high-end desktop processors in the fourth quarter, will be the technical highlight during the conference and be the source for more news topics than we have seen at any previous IDF, if we believe Intel’s promises. Here is a quick outlook on what to expect next week.
Nehalem and the Core i7 processor will be occupying most headlines in IDF headlines next week, revealing actual products, architectural details, performance data, availability dates of desktop, server and mobile versions as well as prices. i7, which by the way “does not have any deeper meaning”, according to Intel representatives, is the successor of the Core 2 Duo and its derivates that were introduced in July of 2006 and helped Intel to regain the processor performance crown from AMD.
The new architecture, which initially will be available in quad-versions only, is widely expected to extend Intel’s lead and reveal Intel’s product strategy for the next two years. Information coming out of IDF will help to create a more credible picture whether Intel in fact will be rolling out another big chip.
AMD, on the other side, has returned to its tradition to organize an anti-IDF a few blocks away from IDF. The doors to its hotel suite will be open to invited journalists over the course of the entire IDF. Executives will be available for meetings “to discuss developments in desktop, notebook, server and graphics computing, as well as AMD’s plan to keep up with and ahead of the competition.”
The company said it will also show “competitive notebook and desktop comparison demos that are pretty eye opening, clearly demonstrating that the combination of AMD’s processor and graphics technologies provide end users with a far better experience than competing solutions.” At this point, it seems that the AMD meetings will be mostly discussions of what Intel is showing journalists, actual news may be coming out of a news conference prior to IDF, during which AMD’s CPU and GPU leaders Randy Allen and Rick Bergman will discuss possible IDF topics and disclose “some upcoming AMD news about its server platform.“ Conclusion: Expect AMD to ride on Intel’s back during IDF.
The IDF show scheduled itself has changed in recent years. The company experimented with more or less technical opening keynotes discussing the firm’s latest vision on the IT industry as well as new products in recent years, which featured either CEO Paul Otellini or CTO Justin Rattner as speakers. This year, Intel is bringing back Craig Barrett, currently chairman of the company. Barrett, 69, last spoke at IDF as CEO at the spring developer forum of 2005 and was Intel's executive to kill the company's gigahertz race. He retired from his position as CEO in May of 2005 and has moved into different activities since – such as promoting technologies for developing nations.
Barrett, who joined Intel in 1974, will open IDF Fall 2008 with a speech focused “the groundswell of innovation and opportunities developers and the high-tech industry at large to help solve problems and advance societies all around the world,” followed by Pat Gelsinger and Dadi Perlmutter who apparently will hold much more product-oriented speeches. Of course, we do hope that Barrett - without doubt Intel’s best active speaker – will provide some thoughts on Nehalem and especially if a horse named “Core i7” will be added to the stable of his ranch, which is or was the home to two other horses called Pentium and Itanium.
Actual product announcements besides Nehalem are scarce at this time. At least we know that Perlmutter has the honor of unveiling Intel’s first quad-core mobile processor and discuss Intel’s WiMax strategy, which should result in actual products by next month. Gelsinger will spend some time on Intel’s discrete graphics card and floating-point accelerator Larrabee, which, however, will not announced, but should be ready for a few demonstrations, including a follow-up on the firm’s cooperation with Dreamworks .
Other news will include new solid state drives, more information about Intel’s future consumer electronics processors as well as the next generation of Atom CPUs.
CTO Justin Rattner will close IDF on day 3 of IDF with a keynote on the far-out future possibilities with dramatically more powerful computers and how they interact with people. Apple Computer’s co-founder Steve Wozniak will be featured in an on-stage interview.