SAN JOSE—Surprising many long-time attendees, Intel Corp. chose not to present at this years Microprocessor Forum, held here this week. Its presence was implicit, however, in many of the keynotes and technical sessions during the forums first half day.
Keynote speaker Greg Papadopoulos (as seen in photo above), CTO of Sun Microsystems Inc., invoked Intels Pentium M and Pentium 4 processors as an example of diminishing returns. A Pentium 4 gives 48 percent better performance on a business applications benchmark, he said, quoting Intel data, but consumes 273 percent more power. Papadopoulos argued that future systems will tend to use large numbers of more-efficient processors in highly multithreaded algorithms.
Morning session moderator Kevin Krewell, senior editor of the Microprocessor Report, commented on the relative positioning of Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in the movement from 32- to 64-bit desktop systems, compared to the previous decades move from 16 to 32 bits. When Intel had the 386 chip, Krewell observed, and AMD had no equivalent, Intel promoted the need for 32-bit migration. Now that AMD has an upward-compatible 64-bit desktop solution and Intel does not, "the roles are totally reversed," he said.
In a mild barb, Krewell added, "Intel was invited but chose not to attend this week, but since they didnt talk about chips at the Intel Developer Forum, why would they talk about them here?"
Some Microprocessor Forum attendees rebuked Intel for failing to appear, especially when a non-presenting Intel attendee directed questions to a panel of the mornings speakers. Said another audience member, "It seems to me Intel should be up there, taking questions itself."
Identifying himself as with the U.S. Navy, yet another audience member took a moment to "express my displeasure" with Intel for failing to give the Microprocessor Forum an update on its plans because "Navy interest in using commercial, off-the-shelf components is at an all-time high."