The first Intel Developers' Forum to be held on Beijing kicked off today (17 April) with a raft of new announcements and product enhancements.
Pat Gelsinger, senior vice-president and GM of the Digital Enterprise Group at Intel, used his keynote presentation to detail a number of announcements, including more information on the upcoming 45nm processor families, Penryn and Nehalem.
For Penryn-based desktop PCs, users can expect increases of about 15% for imaging-related applications; 25% for 3D rendering; more than 40% for gaming; and more than 40% for video encoding with Intel SSE4 optimized video encoders.
These indicators were based on pre-production 45nm Hi-k Intel quad core processor running at 3,33GHz with a 1333 front side bus and 12Mb cache versus an Intel Core 2 Extreme processor QX6800 introduced last week at 2,93GHz with 1066 FSB and 8Mb cache.
For high-performance computing (HPC) and workstation systems, users can expect performance gains up to an estimated 45% for bandwidth intensive applications; and a 25% increase for servers using Java. The indicators were derived from pre-production 45nm Hi-k Intel Xeon processors with 1600MHz front side bus for workstation and HPC, and a 133 MHz front side bus for server versus current quad-core Intel Xeon X5355 processors.
During Gelsinger's keynote, Microsoft demonstrated Windows Server codename "Longhorn" and two technologies: Windows Server Core and its new hypervisor-based virtualisation solution, Windows Server virtualisation, running on the Intel quad-core Xeon processors. This translates to running up to eight core virtual machines with "hot add" features, increasing data center uptime and efficiency.
Meanwhile, Intel's high-end quad and dual multi-processor servers (codenamed "Caneland") and branded Intel Xeon processor 7300 series will arrive in the third quarter in 80-watt and 50-watt versions for blades.
The new servers will complete the transition to its Intel Core microarchitecture for Intel Xeon processor-based servers. Just three months after announcing a joint effort with Sun Microsystems, a Sun executive demonstrated its Solaris operating system running on an Intel Xeon 5100 series processor based system using Intel Dynamic Power technology.
In the second half of the year, Intel will introduce "Weybridge," the next-generation vPro processor technology for business PCs using Intel 3-Series chipsets (codenamed "Bear Lake").
As announced two weeks ago, Intel's forthcoming Centrino platform, due later this quarter, will also incorporate vPro technology for the first time in laptops.
Gelsinger also unveiled "Tolapai" plans, the first in what will be a family of enterprise-class "system-on-chip" (SoC) products that integrate several key system components into a single Intel architecture-based processor.
The 2008 Tolapai product is expected to reduce the chip footprint size by up to 45% and power consumption by approximately 20% compared to a standard four-chip design, while improving throughput performance and processor efficiency. Tolapai will include the new Intel QuickAssist Integrated Accelerator technology.
Intel QuickAssist Technology is a comprehensive initiative to optimise the use of accelerators in servers. Accelerators increase the performance of a single function, like security encryption or financial computation, while reducing power consumption.
This initiative includes support for acceleration using IA-based multi-core processors and third party accelerators working together in Intel-based servers, and developing new integrated accelerators inside the IA-based processor itself. The approach includes a software layer (Accelerator Abstraction Layer) that allows applications to easily manage accelerators and protect software investment.
The next processor after Penryn, is the Nehalem family, which Intel will start manufacturing in 2008. Among many other features, the processors will have from one to more than eight cores per product, and include simultaneous multi-threading to show two to 16 threads per chip.
Certain future Nehalem processors will also include options such as system interconnects and integrated memory controllers and high-performance integrated graphics engine.
Concluding his presentation, Gelsinger revealed that Intel has begun planning products based on a highly parallel, IA-based programmable architecture codenamed "Larrabee".
It will be easily programmable using many existing software tools, and designed to scale to trillions of floating point operations per second (Teraflops) of performance. The Larrabee architecture will include enhancements to accelerate applications such as scientific computing, recognition, mining, synthesis, visualisation, financial analytics and health applications.