Lights! Cameras! Intel courts Hollywood

The chipmaker will show off a 2GHz version of its high-end Xeon chip at the Siggraph computer graphics trade show starting Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Intel will go Hollywood next week to demonstrate its fastest Xeon processor yet.

The chipmaker will show off a 2GHz version of its high-end Xeon chip at the Siggraph computer graphics trade show starting Tuesday in Los Angeles, Intel executives confirmed.

The 2GHz Xeon will star in demonstrations of single- and dual-processor workstations.

PC makers IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell Computer also are expected to demonstrate new Xeon-based systems slated for release later in the quarter.

Intel will take the stage at Siggraph to reach companies involved in Hollywood's digital media and entertainment industry. The chipmaker will target production houses and other operations involved in the moviemaking business with demonstrations of the Xeon chip and new graphics software from companies such as Alias-Wavefront.

"What we're seeing right now is a greater adoption (of Intel chips) in Hollywood for the rendering of movies," said company spokesman Seth Walker.

Digital media is one of the markets the company has been targeting as part of its Solutions Enabling Group, a recently formed operation aimed at driving business for Intel into so-called vertical markets.

Production company Square USA, for example, used 1,000 Pentium III-based servers to render images for the animated movie "Final Fantasy," Intel said.

Though smaller than the consumer and general business markets, digital media companies generally use large amounts of computer equipment to render animations or create special effects for movies. Through the efforts of the Enabling Group, Intel will work to sell computers based on its chips, such as Xeon, into the market.

Aside from targeting digital media, the chipmaker is looking into manufacturing, financial services, retail sales and telecommunications markets with the group.

Intel also will demonstrate Pentium 4 chips running applications such as Adobe Premier and a new concept technology called Lightning2, which connects 16 dual-processor Pentium III Xeon workstations to render video.

The 2GHz Xeon is based on Intel's Netburst architecture--the same design behind the Pentium 4.

The Xeon is available in speeds of 1.4GHz, 1.5GHz and 1.7GHz. Because it will go into more expensive workstation PCs, Intel charges a premium for the chip. The 1.7GHz, for example, is priced at $406, while a Pentium 4 at the same speed goes for $352.

Later this year, Intel will transition Xeon to its 0.13-micron manufacturing process. A resulting new Xeon chip, code-named Prestonia, will debut at about 2.2GHz in early 2002, sources said.

Though it announced its Xeon chip for workstations in May, Intel is not expected to unveil Xeon server chips until later in the year.


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