At the Linux Collaboration Summit in San Francisco, Intel Open Source Technology Center director Imhad Sousou discussed the company's plans for the next major version of its Linux-based open source Moblin platform. The aim of Moblin, Sousou says, is to improve the quality of the Linux user experience on Atom-based devices. For Intel, this is a broad mandate that reaches deep into the platform and will require improvements at many different layers of the stack. One especially important aspect of Intel's platform improvement agenda is to reduce overall startup time.
At the Intel Developer Form in Beijing this week, Senior Vice President Anand Chandrasekher introduced and detailed Intel's 'Moorestown' - the next generation of the Intel Atom-based MID platform. In addition, Intel used the anniversary of the introduction of the Atom processors to offer two new Atom chips: the Z550 and Z515. These two new Atom processors are designed with gaming and small form factors in mind.
InfoWorld's Paul Venezia put Intel's new Nehalem to the test and found the technology a "game-changing development". Using an HP ProLiant DL580 with four quad-core Intel Xeon X7350 CPUs running at 2.93GHz per core as a baseline, Venezia's Nehalem system - which ran two quad-core Intel Xeon W5580 CPUs at 3.2GHz per core with HyperThreading enabled - performed roughly 60 percent faster across a battery of tests, including gzip compression, WAV-to-MP3 encoding, MPEG-4 to Flash Video conversion, and mysql-bench. Even more impressive, Venezia found, was that the Nehalem system did all that while serving double-duty as his workstation. "At the same time the Nehalem was executing my battery of tests, it was driving a 30-inch and a 24-inch monitor off an Nvidia Quadro FX 5500, playing an MPEG movie in full-screen on the 30-inch monitor, and running more than 500 processes across four virtual desktops, including dozens of terminal sessions, Firefox browser sessions, Java applications, and streaming audio â€” and it still put up these numbers."
On Friday, Intel engineers are detailing the inner workings of the company's first graphics chip in over a decade at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco - sending a signal to the game industry that the world's largest chipmaker intends to be a player. During a conference call that served as a preview to the GDC sessions, Tom Forsyth, a software and hardware architect at Intel working on the Larrabee graphics chip project, discussed the design of Larrabee, a chip aimed squarely at Nvidia and at AMD's ATI unit.
"Back in January Intel had pushed out its first alpha release for Moblin V2. This Intel-optimized Linux distribution targeting systems with Intel Atom hardware was quite unique and offered a number of advantages for being a netbook-oriented operating system. Particularly special about Intel Moblin V2 was its boot-time, which was extremely fast when using a Solid-State Drive. Intel has now put out a second alpha release for Moblin V2, which we are briefly exploring today."
Details are sparse, but Intel has let out word of a spiffy new graphics accelerator designed for mobile devices. This SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) accelerator renders graphics more efficiently than any other available component in that it renders them faster and at higher quality and-- here's the kicker-- it consumes ten times less energy than similar available components, providing longer battery life. Again, there's not much to go on at the moment, but Intel says that these lovely little buggers will definitely be showing up in future mobile devices be they MIDs, UMPCs, or netbooks.
Not only has Intel teamed up TSMC to produce Atom CPUs, the company has also unveiled four Atom chips that will go into devices such as entertainment systems for cars, videoconferencing devices, robots and interactive kiosks. "The Z500-series Atom processors are integrated chips the size of a penny that draw little power and do not require fans to operate. The chips draw 2.5 watts of power or less and run at speeds of between 1.10GHz and 1.6GHz. They offer integrated 2D and 3D graphics and will be manufactured using Intel's existing 45-nanometer process."
The Atom processor, the only bright spot on Intel's balance sheet, will soon no longer be manufactured by Intel itself (CNet has more). Intel has signed an agreement with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), outsourcing the production of the successful chip to Taiwan. While it's not the first time Intel outsources production of its silicon, it is still an unusual move for the company to outsource the production of such a major chip.
Intel demoed the world's first 32-nanometer processor today, showing it off in several test desktop and laptop configurations. There aren't any hard-set specifications or benchmarks just yet, but here's the scoop on the upcoming processors, according to Intel: The 45nm desktop and laptop processors (the Clarksfield and Lynnfield) with four cores will transitionally be replaced by dual core alternative 32nm processors (the Clarkdale and Arrandale) that also have an integrated graphics processor all with the same form factor as the 45nm chips. Two exciting side-notes: The first, Intel will be investing over $8 billion into the 32nm era (alright, so not immensely exciting, but definitely interesting, especially in this economy where money
isn't shouldn't be thrown around without a mighty good cause). The second bit, according to one of Intel's charts, apparently there will be a 32nm high-end desktop processor (the Gulftown) that will have six cores. The good news? Parts of the platform will be going into production in 2009 for sure. The bad news? They said "parts." Be warned: that Core i7 you have your eye on will be a thing of the past come the newer and higher-end quad-core 32nm beauties.
Intel just announced the Moblin 2 alpha release available to the public for testing. Get out the good old netbook and have a go with the release; it's confirmed to work relatively well with the Acer Aspire One and the Dell Mini 9. Those of you with bitty Eee netbooks aren't completely left out in the cold-- you'll just have to go without wireless for the time being.
Sure, Intel's been raking it in with the Atom that is powering so many netbooks being sold in these economically challenged times, but now the chip company is hoping to take a cut of an even more mobile market-- that of MIDs, or mobile Internet devices.
We already reported on the fact that updated Intel Atom chips are expected to arrive somewhere in the second half of 2009. With the Atom being Intel's only platform that's actually profitable, it makes sense for the chip maker to focus a lot of effort into improving the platform. Information provided by the usually-reliable DigiTimes points to some serious improvements making their way to Intel's Atom chip. The new chip is codenamed Pineview.
The PC industry is going through a very, very dark period right now, with the netbook being the only bright spot on many manufacturers' balance sheets. Since the saving grace of the industry is powered by Intel's Atom chip, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's also the only positive element in Intel's abysmal quarterly results.
Netbooks using the forthcoming Intel Atom N280 are expected to tip up between the second and third quarters of 2009. The N280 is the follow-up to the Netbook class leading N270 Atom CPU that finds its home in practically every netbook on the market today.
Intel joined Taiwanese mobile phone service provider Chunghwa Telecom to launch Gigabyte Technology's M528 mobile Internet device on Monday in Taipei. The device, which runs a Linux OS, sports a 4.8-inch touchscreen, QWERTY keypad and 4GB solid-state drive, has an 800Mhz Intel Atom Z500 microprocessor inside. Gigabyte's specs page for the device is here.
Not too long ago, Intel unleashed Nehalem, or Core i7, upon the world. The new Core i7 chips are not just new processors; they also introduce an entirely new platform, and this combination produces some impressive performance figures, according to Ars Technica. "The new performance gap between Nehalem and pretty much everything else of comparable cost is the result of upgrades to both the CPUs core architecture and the platform on which the multicore chip now runs." Respected in-depth review sites AnandTech and Tom's Hardware agree with Ars' findings.
APCMag has tested Intel's latest Core i7 processor architecture that does away with the Front Side Bus and replaces it with the company's QuickPath Interconnect and has (back from the dead) hyperthreading. "This month, Intel moves on from the Core microarchitecture to the next generation of processors for mobile, desktop and servers, codenamed Nehalem and officially named the Core i7 family. We've spent a few weeks with Intel's test kit for the new desktop part, codenamed Bloomfield, as well as the new compatible motherboard chipset the X58 Express, codenamed Tylersburg."
The netbook and MID (mobile internet device) markets are all the rage these days, and Intel is betting big on these markets with its Atom processor line. However, Intel doesn't stop there - the company is even buying wireless networks. According to Intel's CEO Paul Otellini, it's all part of bringing the Internet to new places and people.
With Moblin 2.0, Intel is integrating in an open source technology called Clutter. Clutter is an open source animation framework that allows for the development of applications in the same way you would develop games. The underlying complexity is abstracted such that intricate UI can be built with a minimum of code. "Because it's developed like a game engine, all the graphics happen on the GPU, freeing up CPU do to application work," he said. "When combing with Atom and the various GPU's we use in Moblin supported platforms, you end up with advanced UI platforms. We really think it will create a huge opportunity for application innovation on top of Moblin."
"Intel offered a sneak peek of the next-generation of its Classmate PC design at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco today. The new design features a tablet, touchscreen, and motion-sensing user interface, and is powered by - you guessed it - an Atom processor."