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IDF 2011 Eden Keynote: Ultrabooks and Ivy Bridge
Date: Sep 14, 2011
Author: Marco Chiappetta
Mooly Eden Keynote - Ultrabooks

The second day of IDF began with Mooly Eden, Intel VP and General Manager of the PC Client Group, and his keynote discussion, detailing the current state of the company’s business and Ultrabook plans. Eden’s keynote began with a talk about growth in overall PC sales, due mostly to increased demand in emerging markets. Mr. Eden also spoke of the adaptability of the PC and the many transformations it has made over the years to meet market demand and dictate new usage models and experiences.



The discussion continued with some talk about the importance of the CPU, GPU, and attached media. Eden asked, “which is most important?” His answer was that all are important depending on the usage model and that, for a system to offer a solid experience, it must have a good balance of all three. He said Intel’s goal with Sandy Bridge was to try and offer a good balance between GPU, GPU, and media performance, then he moved on to a few demos designed to prove his point. In the demos, a Sandy Bridge-based machine was used to create a Picasa slideshow. And although the task seems simple, it showed about 40-50% CPU utilization. Eden’s point was that even for some relatively basic tasks, a powerful CPU is required.



Next, Eden moved on to an HDR photo demo in which three high-res images of different exposures were combined into a single HDR image. The demo was run on a 3-year old Core 2 Duo and a current-gen Sandy Bridge machine, and of course the SB-equipped system finished much, much faster than its older cousin.

The next demo used a feature of Cyberlink’s PowerDirector application that automatically creates short video clips using highlights from longer clips. The app will analyze a longer clip of video seeking “the most interesting” portions using visual cures like movement, zooms, etc. The point of the demo was to show that although the task seems complex, it was completed in a very short amount of time. A final demo in this portion of the keynote composited different styles of Ray-Ban sunglasses onto the face of the presenter, by analyzing a live video stream from a webcam.

Summarizing the importance of performance to the overall PC experience, Eden than took the chance to reveal more details of Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture. Eden said that quad-core variants of Ivy Bridge would be comprised of over 1.48 billion transistors, and of course be manufactured using Intel’s 22nm process node, with tri-gate transistor technology.


Ivy Bridge, coming to a PC near you, soon.

Eden also went on to say that although Ivy Bridge was technically a “tick” in Intel’s "Tick-Tock" strategy, many more advances were made to the design above and beyond compaction. He called it more like a “Tick Plus” because Ivy Bridge would feature lower power consumption, more advanced power management, an updated system agent, and more powerful and capable, DX11 class graphics. According to Mooly, the graphics core in Ivy Bridge will have much better geometry performance, a more powerful shader array, and other improvements throughout the core. He then showed a couple of graphics demos—one featuring twenty 1080P video streams being displayed simultaneously on-screen and another of the DX11 version of H.A.W.X. 2 running on Ivy Bridge.

Mr. Eden also called out a new feature of Ivy Bridge dubbed PAIR, or Power Aware Interrupt Routing. With current and older generation architectures, interrupt requests are always sent to Core 0, even if the core was asleep and other cores remained active. With Ivy Bridge, however, PAIR will dynamically route interrupts to cores that are already awake, ultimately saving power because idle, sleeping cores can remain in a low power state longer.

Mooly’s talk then moved on to a discussion of “what people want” from their PCs and other computing devices. There wasn’t much technical discussion here, but rather some talk of the different desires for the “left and right” brain and how in recent years Intel has been doing much more research into studying what people expect from their systems logically and emotionally.



Next, Mr. Eden moved on to discussing some of the features and capabilities of upcoming Ultrabooks. He talked about Intel Rapid Start Technology, Intel Smart Connect Technology, and Intel Rapid Response technology. There was no RST demo since but he did show an Acer Ultrabook with Rapid Start that was able to wake from hibernation in about 3 – 4 seconds.

Intel’s Smart Connect technology allows a system to remain connected while in sleep mode. And on that note, Eden showed a Toshiba Ultrabook using the technology that was able to remain connected and receive images and e-mails, while in sleep mode.

Intel Identity Theft Protection Suite

Next up, a rep from McAfee was brought out on stage to talk a bit about a few security related features of Ultrabooks, namely Intel Anti-Theft Technology. They talked about an upcoming app from McAfee that would leverage hardware and software and allow users to remotely lock or wipe their machines in the event they were lost or stolen. The app isn’t available yet, but should launch in the first half of next year. The second part of the demo showed Intel’s Identity Theft Protections suite protecting a system infected with a keylogger that was being used for an on-line transaction. Since a secure token is used to authenticate a system, in addition to requiring login credentials, a hacker remotely viewing the keylogger data couldn’t use the credentials alone to access bank accounts.

Mooly Eden Keynote - Ultrabooks & Haswell

Eden then began talking about what it takes to make Ultrabooks so thin. He showed off a number of Ultrabooks from various OEMs. He then brought out a rep from Microsoft to talk about some advances in Windows 8 that would leverage some of the capabilities of Ultrabooks. A tablet running Windows 8 was briefly shown and then they moved on to a demo which showed an Ultrabook waking from sleep in less than 2 seconds. Mooly slid on over to another array of Ultrabooks on stage and disclosed that all of the machines were based on Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture.


Thin is still in with Ultrabooks galore and tablets.

Next came another demo of a new display technology from IDT, dubbed "Panel Self Refresh," that’s designed to conserve power. With current notebooks, the screens consume a relatively large amount of power, because they’re constantly being refreshed which requires the CPU and GPU to come out of sleep states, even when a static, unchanging image is being displayed. Screens featuring Panel Self Refresh technology, however, use electronics within the screens themselves to store and display static images, allowing the CPU and GPU to remain in a sleep state longer. It was reported, that the technology can save upwards of 500mW of power, which would translate to about 45 minutes to 1 hour of adde battery life in an Ultrabook. To show how the technology really worked, the presenter even pulled the monitor cable from the system, at which point the static image remained on the screen. PDR technology is still in the development phase, but Eden hopes it’ll be the industry standard within two years.


Panel Self Refresh Technology and Thunderbolt IO, not just for Mac anymore

Mr. Eden then went on to explain that Thunderbolt technology would be coming to Ultrabooks and showed a demo of four, uncompressed HD video streams running from a Thunderbolt-connected Intel Solid State Storage array that could stream data at over 700MB/s.



Intel's Haswell processor, in the flesh.

Mooly then concluded his talk with by mentioning Intel’s future Haswell architecture, slated for release in 2013. Pulling a Haswell chip out of his pocket, he revealed that one of the demo systems on stage was based on Haswell and that Intel already had working samples in the lab. This was the first time Intel had showed Haswell hardware in action.

Mooly Eden Keynote - Ultrabook Gallery

At the conclusion of Mooly Eden’s keynote, we stopped by the Ultrabook demo area on the show floor at IDF to snap off a few pictures of the systems that have currently been announced. The demo area was mobbed, so we didn’t get much hands-on time with each system, but form factors and aesthetic differences of the various machines on display are evident in the image gallery below.






On display were Ultrabooks from Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, LG, Pegatron and Samsung. The Asus UX21 and UX31 were on display, along with the Acer SE/Aspire 3951, the LG Shuriken, the Lenovo Ideapad U300s, the Toshiba Portege Z830 series, the Samsung Series 9, and a pair of 13.3” and 14.1” machines from Pegatron.

Future Ultrabooks from Compal, Inventec, Foxconn, and Quanta are also slated, but were not on display in the demo area.

That about wraps up day 2 coverage, though we'll be sure to check back with anything juicy we stumble upon.

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