Intel to Go Back to the Future with Next-Gen Chip Architecture

Updated: The chip maker will discuss a new processor architecture in between details on new initiatives for desktops, notebooks, servers and even health care at its Intel Developer Forum.

Intel Corp. will have mobility on its mind at its Intel Developer Forum later this month.

Paul Otellini, CEO of the Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker, will kick off the three-day event, to be held starting Aug. 23 at San Franciscos Moscone Center West, with a keynote that will unveil the first details of a new processor architecture the company has been preparing.

Analysts expect that the architecture, which Intel hinted will become the basis for its future desktop, notebook and server chips, will draw heavily from the chipmakers recent experiences with notebook processors.

A dual-core notebook chip dubbed Merom, which Intel has said will arrive late 2006, is expected to be one of the first new architecture chips.

Intel typically uses its developer forums or IDFs, which happen twice per year in the United States, to set the tone for its partners for months and often years to come.

It uses them to disseminate a wide range of information, including details on its processor road maps, updating its plans for communications chips, such as flash memory, and showing off some of its research projects.

At times, it even discusses new business ventures.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Intels dual-core processors.

Given its relatively new "strategy around platforms—which is a big shift for the corporation—were going to be talking about [platforms] and our road maps, going forward, and making sure our partners…are aligned with us," said Rob Chapman, general manager for the Intel Developer Forum, in a briefing with reporters.

But the unveiling of a new chip architecture is likely to be the big news from the show.

Intel shifts its chip architectures much less frequently than it rolls out new processors. Intel last added a new architecture in 2000, when it introduced NetBurst, giving rise to its Pentium 4.

Although Intel declined to share details about the new architecture ahead of the conference—Chapman said only that Intel will offer detailed information, including its product and product platform plans at the IDF—the new architecture is expected to take a turn from NetBurst, whose emphasis was on high clock speed and multimedia, toward energy efficiency and accomplishing more work per given clock cycle, tendencies its Pentium M exhibits.

Building its future desktop, notebook and server processor lines on the same basic circuitry will represent a change for Intel as well.

Next Page: The Intel P6 architecture.