Breaking the Gigahertz mark
"The Powers of 10"
Day One of the Forum was filled with several announcements and demonstrations. Intel Chairman Andy Grove gave the keynote address, focused on "The Powers of 10" and how the Internet infrastructure is due to grow tremendously over the next few years. According to Grove, business-to-business e-commerce now only amounts to $400 billion annually. That figure will increase to $7 trillion in just four years.
Intel's vision is to power the machines that drive the Internet. This includes high-powered servers and workstations - machines that are traditionally manufactured by Sun Microsystems. To accomplish this, Intel has planned its most aggressive processor launch in its history, with new processor architectures for every segment; including the 64-bit Itanium processor.
To complement the presentation, Grove gathered executives from three Internet companies: Google.com, EToys.com, and Commerce One.
While EToys and Commerce One both illustrated their need for high-end workstations and servers, Google.com takes a different approach with their use of low-cost Intel Celeron machines. The keynote hit a humorous moment when EToys chief information officer John Hranicek mentioned his companies' use of Sun workstations in their server farms.
I guess next time Intel will make sure to script their question and answer sessions!
"From sand to silicon"
The second half of the keynote was given by Albert Yu; Senior Vice President at Intel and General Manager of Intel's Microprocessor Group.
His first demonstration was a 1GHz Pentium III processor. In fact, behind him were 1 GHz machines from Dell, HP, and IBM. Yu specifically noted that the machine was air-cooled, no exotic active refrigeration cooling here.
After a brief performance comparison to a Pentium III 533, Yu announced that the processor was currently in limited production with volume production beginning in the third quarter. The timing of this 1GHz Pentium III is important as it reiterates Intel's plans to scale the Pentium III to speeds of 1GHz. Previous roadmaps had the Pentium III shipping at up to 933MHz.
It will be interesting to see how Intel plays out the next few months. Will they allow AMD to be the first to officially break the 1GHz barrier, or will they simply attempt a "paper launch" of the processor with volume shipments later in the year?
If AMD were able to break the Gigahertz barrier first, the mainstream press would certainly take notice, possibly sending AMD shares through the roof! But enough speculation about AMD, lets get back to Intel!