MacDonald was also keen to talk about how a Viiv PC will fit into your living room as unobtrusively as a consumer electronics device. The image below shows how much heat is generated by a number of devices when in idle mode – the cup of coffee only operates in idle mode of course. According to the data below, the Golden Gate Viiv PC produces less heat in idle mode than a DVD player or set top box.
But heat is only half the issue for a living room based device, of arguably even more importance is noise. The image below shows how much noise the same devices produce. Judging by the fact that the cup of coffee and light bulb produce 26.6dBA I’ll assume that this is what Intel recorded as ambient room noise – basically you can’t hear anything below the 26.6dBA ambient sound of the room. What the numbers show is that the Golden Gate is considerably louder than a DVD player but quieter than a games console. Interestingly, the larger form factor Entertainment PC is far quieter – probably due to larger fans with slower spin rates.
In order to make Intel’s digital home dream happen as quickly as possible, the company is supporting pretty much every type of home networking. In the wired arena Intel’s support for HomePlug AV Powerline networking is already well documented, while standard Ethernet is also part of the plan. When it comes to wireless, Intel has put heavy support behind 802.11n which will allow for wireless streaming of high definition video, while Ultra Wide Band/Wireless USB is also being pushed. All these technologies will help make all the equipment in the digital home communicate.
MacDonald gave a rather strange demonstration of a voice activated remote control – part of the Star Creek concept PC. The idea was that this was a remote that needed no button presses to work, but as with most voice activated devices it didn’t work. Well, to be honest, it eventually worked, but the demonstration hardly went smoothly. To be fair to Don, a large auditorium is not the type of place to demonstrate voice recognition, but I’m not the biggest fan of voice operated devices anyway – I generally find that you can get stuff done quicker with a few button presses rather than shouting at your equipment.
Intel’s Star Creek concept PC with voice activated remote - excuse the blurry image.
There’s no doubt that Intel is trying to develop the digital home concept, although I’m not sure that voice recognition is the way to go. Despite that, let’s hope that Intel will keep pushing forward so that a complete digital home environment will become as common as the TV in your living room.