IDF 2008: What to Expect

IDF San Francisco kicks off tomorrow morning with seven keynotes over the three-day conference as well as countless companies getting ready to show their stuff to the masses on the exhibitor floor, the IDF website gives us an idea as to what we might expect from the conference between now and the end of the week.

The show boasts speakers from the likes of NASA, the iRobot corporation and some of the top names at Intel, not to mention contests sponsored by Alienware that offer “grand prizes” and Guitar Hero competitions. All of this going down proves that IDF San Francisco is definitely not just about computing platforms anymore but it is still the main attraction. So what’s in store over the next few days?

Nehalem — now known as Core i7, is set to be one of the main attractions at IDF. Expected to surface before the year is out (for high-end desktops, at least), the fact that this IDF is so close to the Core i7 release means the conference means we’ll likely be drowning in Core i7 stuff this week. Last years IDF saw a little Core i7 and we saw ten times more at Computex in Taipei. Over the last few weeks it emerged that Nehalem was to be called Core i7, an announcement that we thought Intel would have held off on until IDF unless they had something bigger to worry about, so perhaps there’s still something to be excited about after all.

Another no brainer for IDF is Larrabee, Intel’s upcoming GPU. While we haven’t seen the same volume of Larrabee news in comparison to Core i7, there’s been enough to cause a stir and create a frenzy about any upcoming announcements about the GPU at IFD.

While the high profile stuff like Larrabee and Core i7 will be at the forefront, there’s sure to be more interest in some of the less publicized topics. Recent rumors suggest that Nvidia is most likely to demonstrate CUDA and GPU acceleration with applications such as Adobe CS4 and so, a lot of interest that might have previously been on Core i7 and Larrabee has shifted to the likes of PhysX acceleration, AMD talks and basically anything else that hasn’t been done to death over the last few months.

It is indeed a big week for Intel, and to counter this, AMD has sort of made a habit of having something going on at the same time as IDF. Although a lot of people see it purely as a way to take advantage of all the journalists in the area (and perhaps when AMD first set out to hold an event around the time of IDF, that was all it was), it soon became an IDF rival of sorts. However, now that AMD is looking a little worse for wear, having its own talks at the same time, in roughly the same place seems more like a desperate attempt to piggy back off of Intel’s attendance for IDF.

Keep an eye out for our IDF coverage this week.