Intel made a few major announcements during various events at CES, including its RealSense technology and the uber-tiny Quark Edison we covered here. In a posh suite at the Palazzo Hotel, however, Intel also setup an assortment of interesting demos showcasing a number of their existing technologies. Along with a monstrous 24-core Xeon-powered beast, Intel had low-power Avoton and Quark servers on display, in addition to numerous Bay Trail and Haswell-based mobile devices.
Of all of the Bay Trail-based tablets on hand, Dell’s Venue 8 and Lenovo’s Think Pad 8 made the best first impressions (review of the Dell tablet is forthcoming). The devices felt good in the hand and seemed to offer snappy performance. Web browsing in particular is especially good on these devices because they’re running full-blown Windows 8.1 and not Windows RT. Anything that runs on a traditional PC will run on a Bay Trail-based device (which can’t be said about ARM-based Windows RT tablets), so compatibility with web apps, sites, or legacy application isn’t a concern.
If you’re looking for something with a little more oomph, Intel also had some Core i5-based convertible devices in their suite. The Fujitsu device sported an excellent 2560x1600 screen, while the Dell Venue 11 Pro and Sony Tap 11 offered up 1920x1080 resolutions; all of the devices were packing Core i5, Haswell-based processors, however.
The big show in Intel’s suite came from a dual 12-core Xeon powered machine—24 cores, 48 threads total—churning away on a high-quality 4K video. The 5-minte-ish clip was going to take over a half an hour to encode. Intel used to demo to make the point that some users still require immense horsepower, and that even a beast capable of managing 48-threads can be whacked by a 4K encoding workload.
There was a tiny Quark-based machine acting as a simple web server, along with Gigabyte Brix Pro SFF system, packing Intel Iris Pro graphics. There was also an 8-core Avoton-based server on hand, equipped with 3 SSDs, running FreeNAS, that was serving up files and video to a couple of machines on a small LAN. Though the server was consuming only 25 watts throughout the demo, it was able to server up files to another machine at about 100MB/s (essentially saturating the gigabit network), while another machine streamed 4K video.