Intel to Demo Dobson Processor

Next-generation I/O processor will be used in conjunction with Intel's "Lindenhurst" chip set, due in 2004.

On Monday, Intel Corp. will provide several "building block" components designed to help OEMs ease into next-generation storage platforms.

During the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei, Taiwan, this week, Intel will demonstrate "Dobson," a next-generation I/O processor that will be used in conjunction with Intels "Lindenhurst" chip set, due in 2004. In addition, Intel announced two other I/O processors: an optical transceiver and a bridge chip connecting next-generation PCI Express protocols with todays PCI/PCI-X standards.

Although the industrys eyes are usually focused on Intels microprocessors, chip sets and motherboards, I/O processors play an important role in keeping those chips fed with data. Intel announced the IOP331 and IOP315 I/O processors to improve the performance of end user products, such as iSCSI adapters. The IOP331 integrates DDR memory, used to host an embedded OS, and a PCI-X bridge to push data out to the rest of the system.

Both I/O processors will serve as placeholders until the launch of Dobson, a key part of the companys RAID strategy because of its native PCI Express interface, explained Christopher Croteau, director of Intels storage components.

Privately, Intel has encouraged its customers to shift over to PCI Express, designed as a 2004 replacement for todays PCI bus. For example, Intel announced that the 41210 serial-to-parallel PCI bridge, which connects PCI Express to PCI-X platforms, will be available early next year, together with a development kit. However, the company also has to satisfy its customers, who are currently using PCI-X based I/O cards.

"We try to be good corporate citizens, and we emphasize that theres a tremendous amount of benefits with PCI Express, but we acknowledge that it wont be 100 percent of the platforms next year," Croteau said. "We have to have a little sense of being I/O agnostic because were customer focused."

Finally, Intel announced the TXN18107 optical multimode transceiver, designed to move 10-G bit Ethernet onto server backplanes. The transceiver, which will compete with third-party products that push 10-G bit Ethernet over copper wiring, will ship sometime in 2004, Croteau said.

Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.