Intel shows off 2GHz Pentium 4

Hardware and software makers get a glimpse inside the future of Intel -- and see a very fast Pentium

Executives kicked off the Intel Developer Forum Tuesday with a 2GHz Pentium 4 demo and a charge to developers to work together to create standard building blocks for the Net.

Intel president and chief executive Craig Barrett urged developers to borrow a page from the PC market and work together to create interoperability standards and modular products for Internet infrastructure and the communications markets.

"Our collective task is to make those building blocks play together effortlessly and seamlessly," Barrett said. "We firmly believe that this innovation and optimisation occurs when you build standard building blocks."

Barrett drove home his point, saying "I want to urge you to cooperate not only with companies like Intel, but with your competitors. Standards will... help develop our industry much faster than isolated and competing standards."

As an example of how the industry can work together, Barrett cited the discrepancy between wired and wireless networking.

Wired and wireless will work together, he said, However, "the real challenge is to have the same sort of infrastructure created on the wireless side [as the wired side] and have them interact. Clearly multiple contact points to the Net is going to make it more interesting, more valuable, more exciting to the end user."

Another area of focus for Intel will be peer-to-peer networking, Barrett said. Later in the week, the company will outline ways of sharing resources across a network.

To make his point, Barrett called on Applied MetaComputing, which offers software that lets other companies share and secure resources across a network.

"The future is... peer-to-peer networking, where you have many computers working together that don't necessarily trust each other," said Andrew Grimshaw, president and founder of the company.

The forum allows software and hardware makers to get the latest peeks inside Intel's technology.

Albert Yu, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Microprocessor Products Group, offered an update on Intel processor technology. Yu touched on Intel's Itanium 64-bit server chip and its mobile processor technology and also made several Pentium 4 demonstrations, including showings of the 2GHz chip.

The demonstration began with a 1.5GHz chip -- its clock speed was raised to 2GHz. The chip was air cooled, without special cooling technology.

"Pentium 4 will be the fastest desktop processor in the world [when it ships]," Yu said.

Yu also demonstrated a desktop PC with a 1.4GHz Pentium 4 chip and 400MHz Rambus Direct RAM. The new chip, when compared with the Pentium III, enables higher frame rates in video and more realistic three-dimensional graphics, he said.

A 1.5GHz Pentium 4 system was then tested against an 800MHz Pentium III system in video capture. The 1.5GHz Pentium 4-based system was able to capture more frames of video than the system with the 800MHz Pentium III chip.

When watching the video captured by the Pentium III system, "It's a little jerky, I have to say," Yu said. When it comes to Itanium "We are making solid progress and working toward end-user pilots in the Q4 time frame," he said.

Yu then demonstrated an Itanium server cluster, running on Linux. Yu showed the "fail over" capabilities of the cluster, which can keep an application running even when one machine in the cluster goes down.

Yu also announced a 1GHz Pentium III Xeon chip for servers, which he said is available now. "We are shipping the very first 1GHz processor for the enterprise," he said. The 1GHz Xeon chip offers 256KB of Level 2 cache and a 133MHz bus, he said.

The 1GHz Pentium III chip for desktop PCs, however, is still in short supply. It is not expected to show up in corporate systems until next month, sources said.

Yu then took a few minutes to highlight Intel's efforts to develop low-power chips for notebook PCs. While he didn't mention rival Transmeta by name, he said "very often we're confused by thermal power versus average power. For battery life, it's average power that matters."

Intel's low-power 500MHz mobile Pentium III has typical power consumption of 5.5 watts. However, average power consumed by the chip is about 850 milliwatts when running standard office applications, he said.

At the same time, he said "CPU power is a very small portion of the entire platform."

Six hours is about the longest battery life offered by a notebook today. "That's not good enough," Yu said. "We need to collectively work to decrease the overall power of the platform."

Some 4,900 to 5,000 developers are expected at this autumn's Intel Developer Forum.

See Chips Central for daily hardware news, including an interactive timeline of AMD and Intel's upcoming product launches.

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