IDF Spring 2007 – Day One – Opening Keynote

Justin Rattner, CTO of Intel, returns to the stage as the first day keynotes begin.

While yesterday was the first day for journalists, today was the start of IDF proper here in Beijing, hence yesterday being termed Day Zero and today Day One.

Day One naturally was keynote time, which in terms of fresh meat, threw up few surprises, with a list of impressive by steady improvements. One immediate shock though was that several guests spoke to the audience in Mandarin, which was all Greek to me, if you get my drift. This sent many journalists scurrying out of the room to pick up the wireless receivers to pick up the translators.

CTO Justin Rattner once again took to the floor and started by saying that Intel was on a mission to change the face of the PC industry. Well it passes the time. He stated that Core 2 has been Intel’s fastest ramping architecture ever having shipped five million chips in the first 60 days. It also introduced 40 new processors in 150 days and it shipped 165,000 quad cores so far and expects to sell one million quad cores in the next quarter. Busy, busy.

Key to Intel’s continued success is its regular move to smaller processes with last year’s 65nm process followed later this year by a move to 45nm, which according to Gordon Moore is the biggest breakthrough in process technology for a generation. What we can expect is a 20 per cent increase in performance, a 10 times reduction in leakage and a 2x improvement in transistor density.

The first fruits will be Penryn, coming by the end of the year, while we see an entirely new architecture next year in Nehalem, based again on 45nm. This will be followed by Westmere on a 32nm process and again a new architecture called Sandy Bridge in 2010. This alternation of die shrink followed by a new architecture is referred to a Tick/Tock – or an endless way of making everything automatically obsolete. Well, you can’t have it both ways.

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