Creating Versus Consuming
TH: A few years back, the move from NetBurst architecture to Core was pretty radical in terms of power efficiency and giving Intel a new lease on mainstream success. Now we’re seeing a similar leap with the move to Moorestown. Do you see these two families coexisting harmoniously, or are the leaps of Moorestown so substantial that it might eat into the Core families’ markets?
TT: I actually built the first-generation Centrino platform, so I have some perspective on this. These are two different platforms, and for the foreseeable future, we see them continuing. Because what you have in both of these environments is a thermal image. The thermal image on a notebook allows you to have much higher capabilities. It’s a very different class of device. On the mobile device, at least starting out, they’re going to be more consumer devices, meaning they’re going to be more about consuming than creating. It’s also limited in thermal power. So what we’ll try to do here is to deliver the highest performance possible in the thermal envelope that allows us to deliver what we need. On a phone, that’s about 1.5 to 2 watts. That’s the platform’s complete thermal envelope. On a Centrino platform, I think the last generation was able to go all the way up to 35W. So you have very different capabilities that are going to appear in those two devices.
At some point in the future, when you have a high level of multi-threading capability and a lot of multi-threaded software available, you can see how quad-core might play out well on one platform with a single- or dual-core on the other. Hard to say what’s going to work out. So far, we still believe that single-thread performance is going to be very pertinent and important for both classes of devices. We want to make sure that we deliver the highest single-thread performance, and that means that you’re going to have disparity in what the two systems can deliver.
TH: I like that distinction you made of consuming versus creating and how those models differentiate what these platforms are built for. Am I right in interpreting your statement that way?
TT: Yes. At some point, the little device will pick up some creativity, as well. I mean, as you’ve seen, an iPhone is already able to do any number of creative things. We should be able to do more than that on this class of device. And as the capability increases, they will morph into full-blown computers, but they’ll still be limited by their thermal envelope.