Call it chip week in San Francisco. Multicore processors and the work that goes into building them will be the talk of the town the week of Sept. 25 as Intel kicks off its fall Developer Forum.
The chip maker, which holds developer forums twice annually, will again occupy San Franciscos Moscone West convention center to deliver details about its forthcoming plans to its partners, press and analysts. Intel CEO Paul Otellini will kick off the event with a keynote address.
But where much of Intels spring 2006 Developer Forum was focused turning the ship—Intel used the March 2006 event to announce a new focus on energy efficient performance, launch its Core Microarchitecture and preview its now shipping Core 2 Duo and Xeon 5100 processors—the fall forum, which starts on Sept. 26, will focus on the course that now lies ahead for the chip maker.
Since this spring, it has shed a number of businesses as well as several thousand employees in an effort to become more efficient and more nimble, while at the same time launching 40 new processors and supporting chip sets.
Otellini, in his speech, is thus expected to set the direction for the coming months and years for the company.
The chief executive will discuss Intels focus on performance and energy efficiency—the two are not mutually exclusive, the chief executive will undoubtedly say—as well as highlight new chip products and the future of the circuitry that underlies them, a company spokesperson said.
That means Otellini is likely to add to details to Intels previously announced plans to accelerate the pace at which it introduces new processor architectures.
Otellini in April 2006 said that Intel would begin rolling out new architectures, which provide the circuitry of its PC and server chips, every two years in between shifts in manufacturing technologies.
Thus far, Intel has only unveiled the code names—Nehalem and Gesher—for its next two major changes.
But it has said that the new cadence has become necessary to meet its goals of boosting performance without increasing power consumption.
It will intersperse the architecture changes with manufacturing transitions, which generally make the features inside each ship smaller, allowing for larger numbers of transistors and thus performance to be added.
Intel is now using the extra transistors to create multicore chips.
After launching Core Microarchitecture earlier in 2006, Intel will orchestrate whats called a shrink by moving Core Microarchitecture to 45-nanometer manufacturing technology. The so-called shrink will be dubbed Penryn.
Then, during 2008, Intel will deliver Nehalem, a new chip architecture that follows Core Microarchitecture. It will mint Nehalem-architecture chips using the 45-naometer manufacturing process.
During 2009, Intel will move to 32-nanometer chip-making, rolling out a shrink it calls Nehalem-C. Gesher, yet another new chip architecture, will arrive in 2010, Intel has said.
However, the changes between the architectural generations will be less radical than previous shifts Intel has made and more technology will be reused.
Just as Intels Core Microarchitecture supplanted its NetBurst architecture to provides the circuitry that underpins Intel Xeon 5100 and Core 2 Duo processors, the new architectures will yield future desktop, notebook and server chips.
Otellini may add more details about the architectures, however.
Intels chief executive is also likely to use his time to touch on new products, including the chip makers Core 2 Duo processor, its mobility, digital home and emerging market strategies as well as its Intels forthcoming quad-core processors for desktops and servers.
The two chips, Kentsfield and Clovertown, designed for desktops and servers, respectively, are both due in the fourth quarter.
Kentsfield is expected to arrive as a Core Extreme processor for high-end desktops in early November.
The chip will work with Intels 975X chip set—although some companies are likely to make it work also with Intels P965—and is likely to be used in gaming desktops or machines, including corporate workstations, designed for editing videos, movies or other content.
Otellini and other Intel executives, including Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intels Digital Enterprise Group, David Perlmutter, general manager of Intels Mobility Group, and Justin Rattner, Intels chief technology officer will also keynote.
Perlmutter will touch on notebook PCs, WiMax and the UMPC (ultramobile PC) during his speech.
However, the executive will also touch on new initiatives such as the development of its LPIA (Low Power Intel Architecture) or electrically miserly processors for devices such as UMPCs.
Intel pledged to design the LPIA line to use a watt or less of power in August 2005.
Now it has created a new low-power processor business group, headed by Anand Chandrasekher, within the Mobility Group.
Rattner, meanwhile, will touch on datacenter designs, while Gelsinger delves into product plans for desktops and servers.
The executives, as well as a range of technical discussions throughout the three-day event, will also touch on topics such as Intels flash memory business, its technology add-ons—things such as Virtualization Technology which it builds into its chips or chip sets—its LaGrande security technology, and possibly the its involvement in setting standards for measuring power consumption of servers.
At the forum, Intel will also discuss datacenter interconnects, high performance computing and server platforms as well as the work of Intel researchers in areas such as Tera-Scale computing.
The Tera-Scale project is focusing on ways to create chips that could include tens or even hundreds of processor cores.