Reporter's Notebook: At Intel's Core 2 Duo party, the last thing the chip maker wanted to talk about was layoffs and AMD.
SANTA CLARA, Calif.Paul Otellini, Intels CEO, was visibly annoyed that someone from the media would have the gumption to ask a negative question on July 27, a celebratory day in the chip makers history: the Core 2 Duo microprocessor launch.
After all, about 1,000 peoplemedia types, analysts, Intel employees, Intel customers, hangers-onwere partying it up at midday in a circus-size tent pitched on the companys Santa Clara campus. Finger food, bottled water and rock music reigned supreme.
This new series of microprocessors is supposed to save Intels bacon for at least a few years; Core 2 Duo represents the companys biggest product launch since Pentium in 1993.
Intel executives proclaimed the chipsand therefore Intel itselfthe king of the PC processor hill, based on their strengths, which promise a 40 percent increase in performance and a 40 percent reduction in power consumption versus the Pentium D, its predecessor in desktops.
"Im just wondering," the reporter asked Otellini. "Since your main competitor [AMD] has just announced it is acquiring [graphics processor maker] ATI Technologies and said it intends to put graphics functionality right in the processor, will this mean that Intel will also put graphics in its chips?"
Somewhat flustered, Otellini glared and said: "The short answer is yes. Thats the only answer Im giving. Next question."
The next reporter asked if Intel was going to announce any more layoffs. Sighs onstage. Otellini himself had said two weeks ago that his company had too many management layers and had been stifled by indecision and inefficiency, so about 1,000 managers worldwide would have to go.
Otellini was still irked, but calmed himself and said the company was still evaluating its management needs and would make some decisions by mid-August.
Finally, another reporter asked if the rumors were true that certain ATI graphics-processing products had been pulled from the show floor at the launch due to the ATIs impending merger with the Dark Side.
Click here to read more about Intels Core 2 Duo launch.
Sean Maloney, Intel senior vice president for sales and marketing, cut in and said: "Listen, this is a big day for us here ... what kind of a question is that? No, the rumors are not true ... there are about five ATI systems out there right now ..." His voice trailed off.
The questions soon stopped coming.
Launching done, lunching loomed.
Drat those reporters. Cant live with em, cant kill em. They might be a bit crass, but theyre simply doing their jobs. Nothing personal, Intel folks.
Random numbers, facts, and quotes from the event
One of the Intel customers interviewed on video and giving his take on the new chips was named Mark Bohr. Yes, some people yawned.
291 million: The number of transistors in the 65-nanometer-wide Core 2 Duo chip.
Intel said it took one year to ship 100 million Pentium chips. It will take seven weeks to ship 100 million Core 2 Duos.
34 million: Number of square feet of fabrication space Intel now is utilizing around the world.
Quote from Gabe Newell, Game Life magazine: "The Core 2 Duo is the best new chip since the original 386."
Quote from Bob Regan, Adobe Systems: "The Core 2 Duo now gives us power to do things it was previously unwise to do with other chips."
Using the Core 2 Duo, the new notebooks will have 20 percent faster performance in the same "power envelope," an Intel spokesperson said.
What exactly is a "power envelope"?
There are 10 versions of the Core 2 Duo chipsfive for notebooks and five for desktop PCs.
Intel said it is "refreshing" its entire product line with these processors.
The five most important assets of the news chips, in order, according to Maloney: 1) better cacheing, 2) improved power management; 3) better overall logic; 4) smarter memory access; 5) wider pipes, deeper buffers.
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Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz