“Do you know the way to San Jose?” crooned Jerry Vale through the Kittys laptop speakers. Spencer was checking e-mail in his room at the Fairmont San Jose hotel before heading downstairs to check out the Microprocessor Forum. El Gatos in-box indicated that the 419 Nigerian e-mail scammers organization must need a good HMO. In each made-up missive the Maven of Murmur received last week, a “merchant from Dubai” claimed to have only three months left to live.
Arriving downstairs, Spence and other longtime forum attendees noted that things would be different this year. The forum was—for the first time within memory—an Intel-free zone.
“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?” joked Kevin Krewell, morning-session moderator and senior editor of Microprocessor Report.
But Krewell was kind compared with others, whose comments El Gato overheard amongst the throng. Several attendees jokingly referred to Intels Pentium 4 EE as the “Emergency Edition” because its thought to be a frantic response to the high-performance AMD Athlon 64 FX-51. While sequestered behind a potted fern in the main ballroom, the covert Kitty overheard folks from the AMD camp espousing rumors that only reviewers will probably ever see the P4 EE chip and that it may never wind up in actual machines, at least not in any significant volume.
“We sell products that people can actually buy,” said another AMD rep. “Me-ouch,” hissed His Hirsuteness. “I wonder what folks say about me when Im not around?”
During his keynote, AMD CTO and VP Fred Weber compared the convergence of processor instruction sets to Europes convergence on a common currency and suggested that the costs of porting software across different chip families just isnt economic. Eventually, as one might have expected, the monetary monologue meandered into the mantra that AMDs 64-bit extension of the x86 instruction set makes more sense than dealing with Intels completely different 64-bit instruction set.
Weber was followed to the podium by John Rayfield, VP of U.K.-based ARM, a company whose processors are not x86-compatible. Rayfield congratulated Weber on his clever metaphor and added, “and the U.K. doesnt use the euro, either.”
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