Intel puts its best chips forward at TechX

Powerful new processors to be showcased at the TechX trade show in New York next week
Written by John G.Spooner, Contributor

Intel will use the TechX trade show next week to push its latest and fastest products off the shelves. The company, in the midst of a stagnant market for new PCs, will use a technology show next week in New York to drum up interest in its powerful new processors.

At next week's TechX NY trade show, formerly called PC Expo, the chip giant will lay out plans to ship a handful of new technologies in the coming months, according to Intel executive vice president Michael Splinter.

Splinter will deliver a speech at the show Wednesday morning in an attempt to sway reluctant information-technology buyers by highlighting the processing power, and relative low price, of new servers based on the company's Itanium chip. Splinter will discuss Intel's newest products, including Itanium and the new Pentium III "Tualatin" chips, and may preview a pair of new Pentium 4 chips, expected next month.

Despite the slow market for PCs and other computing and communications equipment, the chipmaker has launched a slew of products in the past two months.

The keynote speech, intended to rally the IT audience behind Intel's chip strategy, comes at a critical time for the company. Intel, along with rivals Advanced Micro Devices and Transmeta, is suffering through a slowing PC market.

Intel's processor shipments plunged 20 percent in the first quarter, compared with last year, and second-quarter shipments will be flat at best, Dan Niles, an analyst with Lehman Brothers, wrote in a report issued Wednesday.

PC shipments were down 14 percent in the first quarter and are expected to drop 5 percent to 7 percent in the second quarter, Niles wrote. Niles cut his earnings-per-share estimates for both Intel and rival AMD due to "a continuing deterioration in demand for PCs", among other reasons.

Other chipmakers are feeling the effects of a slowing market. On Thursday, Transmeta, which makes microprocessors for notebook computers and Internet appliances, said second-quarter revenue will be down 40 percent to 45 percent from revenue of $18.6m for the first quarter of 2001.

Intel chief executive Craig Barrett said Wednesday that the company needs to see a recovery in the chip market within six months or it will consider cutting capacity and investments next year.

The company is encountering some of its toughest competition from rival AMD. At TechX NY next week, AMD also will pitch IT managers on processors designed for business. The company is expected to tout its dual Athlon processor strategy for workstations and servers. AMD announced its dual-processor products earlier this month.

Splinter is expected to woo buyers at the trade show by highlighting Intel's new chips in virtually every area of the PC business, from mini-notebooks to servers.

The company intends to continue to invest in this strategy and the processors behind it to show its commitment to the business market, Splinter is expected to say. The Intel vice president also will demonstrate the Itanium chip for business users and will discuss customers that have plans to install servers using the chip.

The 64bit processor, launched in late May, is aimed squarely at the business market and was designed to offer greater performance than current Intel server offerings but lower prices than some of the large servers sold by companies such as Sun Microsystems.

"What we are trying to do is bring the economics [of the PC] to the enterprise" with Itanium, Splinter said.

IT managers "are the ones that we want to get a clear understanding of what we are bringing", he said. Intel will pull its chip offerings together "to show where we are and how serious we are about the space."

One of the more important products for Intel will be the Tualatin Pentium III. Splinter is expected to confirm that Intel has been shipping this chip, manufactured with Intel's newest 0.13-micron manufacturing technology, since May.

The chips that have been shipping are production-level processors, meant to stock customers with inventory. "We're not just playing around," Splinter said.

Tualatins will come in a variety of forms. The first will be mobile processors. Intel will discuss these chips in a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the show. The company is expected to discuss the frequencies and low-power properties of the chips, as well as the launching of a new mini-notebook from Compaq Computer. The official Tualatin launch is expected in late July.

The new Pentium III chips will also be available for desktop PCs and servers.

"For ultradense servers, it is really a great product," Splinter said. "It will find its way into the desktop."

However, "for the desktop, Pentium 4 is really the product," he added.

Meanwhile, Splinter hinted that he might also discuss a pair of new Pentium 4 chips. As previously reported, Intel is expected to launch a 1.6GHz and a 1.8GHz version of the chip in early July.

"I'll talk a little bit about Pentium 4," Splinter said. "I might touch on that."

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