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IDF 2008: Highlights of Day 1 Keynotes

With IDF entering into day two, we look back at the announcements and presentations from yesterday and take a look at the some of the biggest news to come out of IDF Day one.

With both Intel’s CEO and Vice President out of town for IDF San Francisco, it was Chairman of the Board, Craig Barret that gave the opening keynote speech yesterday. Barrett’s speech was certainly interesting and focused on the need for better education, especially in the maths and sciences area if the U.S. was going to remain at a competitive level globally (along with some interesting comments about the cost of Iraq and oil prices).

Everyone was waiting with baited breath for news on Nehalem or Core i7, Intel’s latest addition to it’s line of processors. It was a sure headliner for IDF and day one saw senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, Pat Gelsinger divulge some more information about what’s been at the front of everyone’s mind over the last few months.

Gelsinger said Nehalem processors will commercially be available in the fourth quarter for desktops and servers, but this wasn’t anything new. Most people suspected to see Nehalem for desktops around November anyway and we also knew that it won’t be too long before we see it downsized for laptops. Mr. Gelsinger said the processor will debut as a multi-threaded quad-core processor, capable of running eight threads and will feature an on-die memory controller and built on a monolithic die. He spoke briefly about the benefits of Nehalem’s triple-channel DDR3 and “turbo mode” power saving feature to keep power consumption as low as possible by moving thinly threaded applications to run on fewer cores. Intel is already testing six-core server versions of Nehalem and they have 16 MB of cache and run at 2.66 GHz and Gelsinger boasted that these chips have broken several supercomputer records.

Gelsinger also spoke briefly about Larrabee, Intel’s upcoming GPU, which the company expects to launch in 2009/2010, initially targeting the personal computer graphics market and Embedded Internet. Intel believes that bringing the always-on connectivity that consumers seem to crave these days to emerging markets such as IP networking and security, video intelligence, medical, in-vehicle infotainment and home automation could be an estimated $10 billion market. There was significantly less time spent on Larrabee than we would have thought, however with all the hype that’s been built up about Nehalem over the months, Intel probably decided to devote more time to the new processor and will more than likely reveal more about Larrabee today or tomorrow or failing that, at the upcoming IDF in Taipei this October.

The other major keynote from IDF day one was by Dadi Perlmutter, entitled “Where will on-the-go, go?” Intel’s executive vice president and general manager of Mobile Platforms announced a mobile platform named Calpella, highlighting an increasing need and demand for mobility. Perlmutter also showed us the first Intel mobile quad-core processor based workstation and one of many low-voltage, thin and light notebooks. The notebook madness continued as Dadi detailed some other enhancements for the company’s mobile platform that we can expect to see before the year is out including the Intel High-Performance SATA Solid-State Drive Product Line and Anti-theft technology. The icing on the cake for all of this was a showcase of laptops, netbooks and MIDs, proving the success that’s come from Intel’s advancements in mobile processor technologies.

Stay tuned for more IDF coverage all this week.