Intel developer forum: Shanghai showcase
The spring edition of the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) opens its doors tomorrow in Shanghai for two days. The focus will be on the Atom mobile processor (alias Silverthorne), its low-cost version called Diamondville, and the Nehalem CPU generation to be launched at the end of 2008. Atom's ecosystem not only includes Poulsbo, a "single-chip chip set", but also Intel solid-state disks and Linux (or, more specifically, Moblin) as an operating system. Other issues to be discussed at the IDF include high-end notebooks with overclocked dual cores and faster graphics as well as high-end x64 servers. Additional tidbits of information on the graphics-enabled multicore Larrabee application accelerator are also expected; Intel has already promised OpenGL and DirectX APIs for it.
To keep costs down this spring's IDF will take place solely in Asia, and just for two days; only the autumn IDF will be held in the US. Over the past 10 years, Intel has generally organized the developer forum in the spring and fall in San Francisco, with smaller regional versions taking place in Europe and Asia.
Visitors to the IDF can listen to presentations or take part in workshops on current technical issues. Several firms will also be presenting products. Founded by the current head of the Enterprise division, Pat Gelsinger, the developer forum has traditionally provided an outlook of upcoming innovations, technical strategies, and product road maps. Intel's competitor AMD therefore has its own events for analysts, but at congresses such as the ISSCC and Hotchips, AMD and Intel jointly present technical product details.
AMD is currently struggling and does not have any processors that are particularly fast to show for itself, so Intel is mainly comparing its latest products to its own previous generations. One exception is the Atom processor for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), which Intel wants to use to infiltrate ARM territory.
The catalogue of events for the IDF shows that Intel plans to present attending journalists and developers with quite a bit of information about the innovations in the Nehalem processor generation, expected to be released at the end of 2008. As AMD has been doing since 2003, Intel plans to use a memory controller integrated in the new processor and (for the Nehalem variants for a multi-processor machines) fast serial QuickPath Interconnects (QPI alias CSI) to connect CPUs to each other and possibly to application accelerators. Starting in 2009, Nehalem versions will be available with two and four physical cores in addition to Hyperthreading/SMT for desktop computers. Some of them (such as Havendale) will probably also include an integrated graphics processor.