|Paul Otellini Keynote|
In typical fashion, Intel kicked off IDF 2010 with a couple of keynote addresses headlined by the company’s President and CEO, Paul Otellini, and GM of the Intel Architecture Group David “Dadi” Perlmutter. Topics of the keynote addresses included everything from Sandy Bridge to WiDi, and a myriad of others in between, but the main theme that permeated the entire conversation was how Intel is changing or plans to change moving forward.
Mr. Otellini began his presentation by talking about the huge growth in internet-connected smart devices and how the PC market has changed in such a way that the conversation is no longer centered on the “one PC per household” concept, but rather “one, or multiple PCs per person”, depending on how you define the PC. He said that current projections estimate that the number of connected smart devices will likely double in the next 4 years and that for many users, no single device will suffice. Intel’s goal moving forward is to not only power these devices, but to fulfill the needs of developers and end-users to seamlessly connect and share data among all of the devices.
Other critical elements of Intel’s plans moving forward include sensors, more robust wireless display technologies, and of course, improved performance of both CPU and graphics. To help get his point across, Mr. Otellini then began discussing Intel’s upcoming Sandy Bridge processor and walked through a number of demos showcasing the performance of the platform.
In a couple a demos, Sandy Bridge was shown significantly outpacing current Core i7 processors while encoding HD video—in fact, the SB system was 2x-3x faster in our estimation. We should point out, however, that the encoding demo used a beta version of Media Show Espresso that’s optimized to take advantage of the dedicated media processing capabilities of SB.
The graphics capabilities of the DX10.1-class graphics core integrated into SB processors were showcased in a side-by-side comparison showing versus discrete NVIDIA graphics. With a mainstream title like StarCraft II which was used for the demo, it was impossible to tell the difference between the two. Intel’s message is that for casual or mainstream gaming titles, Intel’s integrated graphics will finally offer more than enough horsepower to play the games with most of the eye-candy turned up.
Intel and Google: Partners in TV
In another demo, which was meant to showcase the real-time video encryption capabilities of Sandy Bridge, through the use of AES-NI, a couple of Intel’s reps took the opportunity to show off an Atom-powered tablet PC that was equipped with Wireless Display (WiDi) technology. Optimization to the WiDi software and algorithms, in conjunction with the increased performance offered by dual-core Atom processors, will enable Atom to work with WiDi moving forward—to this point it was only available with Core processor platforms. Mr. Otellini also mentioned that there is significant momentum with Atom-based tablets and that numerous offerings should hit the market soon.
Following Paul Otellini, David “Dadi” Perlmutter, Intel’s General Manager of the Architecture Group took the stage. He began his talk with a few words about computing challenges of the future. He talked about the immense amounts of data that will need to be processed in the future and the multitude of difference devices that will need to seamlessly access the data.
This is your brain, on Intel -
He then moved on to talk about other interface possibilities and about the need for intuitive interfaces. Mr. Perlmutter then brought out a representative from a company called GestureTek who showed off a gesture tracking interface that used inexpensive 3D camera. Using the interface, users are able to simply make gestures in front of the screen to control interface elements. GestureTek explained that the increased performance offered by Sandy Bridge, in addition to the decreased cost of 3D camera will make this technology affordable to consumers in the not too distant future.
Sandy Bridge, Lord of The Ring -
Dadi then moved on to talk about some of the specific features of Sandy Bridge, its design, and Turbo 2.0. He explained that Sandy Bridge is outfitted with a high speed / low latency ring bus that helps bring all of the core elements together. Initial Sandy Bridge processors will use an 1155 pin socket and be paired to upcoming 6-series chipsets. Desktop and mobile SB processors will initially be offered with up to four cores and that all of the cores, in addition to the DX10.1 class GPU, can boost their speed using Turbo 2.0 depending on thermal and power restraints. He also mentioned, however, that SB can briefly Turbo boost beyond TDP in some instances and that it is not limited to just one or two cores.
|Dadi Perlmutter (cont.)|
Sandy Bridge Demo Highlights: An HD Video Powerhouse
Mr. Perlmutter continued with a handful of demos that showcased the performance of Sandy Bridge using a number of different systems / form factors.
In one demo, a 1080P HD video was converted to a portable device format using Core i7 and SB based systems. The Sandy Bridge system finished the encoding process in seconds, while the Core i7-based system had barely hit about the 30% mark. The rep helping Dadi with demo also mentioned that SB is capable of processing up to eight 1080P streams, which can enable some interesting real-time video analytics possibilities.
In another demo, the new AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions) instructions in Sandy Bridge were utilized used to help render a scene much faster than current Core i7 offerings, and in yet another a number of photos were processed using HDR (high dynamic range). Of course, the SB system outpaced the Core i7 in that demo as well.
Finally, in yet another demo, a rep form Sixense was brought out to showcase a new position orientation and tracking system the company has been working on. In the demo, a couple of hand-held devices were used to navigate through a 3D environment, manipulate and add elements in the environment, etc.