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IDF Day 2: Mobility, Silverthorne, Moorestown
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Date: Sep 21, 2007
Section:Processors
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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IDF Day 2: Mobility Keynote

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Day 2 at this year’s IDF began with a mobility keynote hosted by Intel’s David “Dadi” Perlmutter and Anand Chandrasekher.  The keynote was broken up into two parts; the first focused on notebooks and Intel’s mobile platforms as a whole and the second focused on “ultra mobility” featuring a number of UMPCs and MIDs.

 

   

 

Dadi began the discussion with talk of old barriers to mobility and how Intel has broken through many of them with the Centrino platform.  He then said that as old barriers fell, new barriers presented themselves and reaffirmed Intel’s commitment to mobility.  Dadi spoke of Intel’s intention to increase the performance of integrated graphics and media playback by a factor of 10 by the year 2010.

 

   

 

He also talked about the company’s intention to reduce the size of the dies and packaging for chips used in mobile platforms, while at the same time reducing power consumption and enhancing thermal characteristics.  He mentioned that with next year’s Montevina platform, the goal is to reduce motherboard size by 60% and chip packaging by 25%, which will in-turn bring forth new form factors.  Dadi also mentioned that Montevina will fall within a 25W thermal envelope.

 

   

 

At this point, Dadi demoed a prototype notebook that featured a Penryn-based CPU, the chipset codenamed Cantiga, and Intel’s Eccopeak integrated WiMax / WiFi controller.  He then spoke to the platform’s power consumption and that due to 6 new power saving technologies coming with the Montevina platform and due to Penryn’s new deep sleep state, battery life would increase significantly when systems are introduced next year.  Finally, Nehalem’s finer grained per-core clock gating technology takes power savings even further.

 

   

 

Dadi wrapped up his part of the mobility keynote with talk of 802.11n WiFi and of WiMax.  A WiMax equipped car, segway, and scooter were wheeled out into the auditorium to demo some of the features enabled by the technology and Dadi spoke of the 350 WiMax trials currently going on worldwide.  We also learned about Intel’s Eccopeak integrated WiFi / WiMax controller. It was noted that it will be available in mini-card and 1/2 mini-card form factors, and that it will have similar power characteristics to current 802.11n WiFi controllers.

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Mobility Keynote Continued

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When Anand Chandrasekher came out for the Ultra Mobility portion of the keynote, he spoke about the upcoming 45nm Silverthorne processor core what will be part of the Menlow platform, and of Intel’s intention to have the platform featured in a multitude of low-power UMPCs and mobile internet devices.

 

   

 

Anand then went on to talk about how many current ultra-mobile solutions tend to offer sub-par compatibility with the Internet, and that many users who already have mobile devices, like smartphones for example, don’t use them for browsing the web or answering e-mail, because only a small sub-set of the internet works really well on these devices.  He expects that when the x86 Menlow is available, software developers will be better able to create more robust mobile applications that perform similarly to their desktop counterparts.

He also talked of the major advanced made with Menlow in regard to power consumption.  He showed a real-time graph showing a low-power Dothan 5.5w versus a .55w Melow emphasizing that Intel has reached their goal of a 10x reduction in power consumption with Menlow.

 

   

 

Anand talked more about Menlow and Silverthorne and brought out a couple of software partners from Canonical and Abode to talk about the products they had in the works for Menlow.  Canonical has a Linux distro based on Ubuntu in the works for MIDs and Adobe as an API and runtime distribution on the way that will make creating applications for mobile devices OS agnostic.

 

   

 

Over the course of the discussion a number UMPCs were demoed, including devices from Asus and Compal that featured WiMax.  Using the devices, users could browse to any website – not just sites designed for mobile platforms – with good responsiveness and performance, and without suffering from the incompatibilities common to mobile devices.

 

   

 

Anand then closed the discussion with talk of the Moorestown platform and showed off an iPhone-like device mock-up.  He also played an animation that was designed to show what Moorestown could do.  With Moorestown, Intel will incorporate the memory controller, a video engine, and a graphics processor onto a single-chip, to further reduce package size and power consumption.  Moorestown is due to arrive in the 2009 / 2010 timeframe. 

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