Intel Unveils New Chips for Datacenter, PC and Smartphone
Intel laid out its vision, as well as some new product milestones, during a keynote speech at its Developer Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday morning.
Brian Krzanich, Intel's new CEO, covered a broad range of the company's activities, from building chips for datacenters, PCs, smartphones, personal wearable devices and "the Internet of things" world of connected devices. Intel's goals are large, but not modest. "Our plan is to lead in every segment of computing," Krzanich said.
Intel is "in the process of rearchitecting the datacenter," Krzanich said, from big data to software and software-defined systems. In that vein, he announced a new Intel Xeon E5 chip for the datacenter. This 22-nm Version 2 chip, code-named "Ivy Bridge-EP," improves performance by about 50 percent over the previous generation chip, Intel claims. The product family can extend to 12 cores max.
Amazon Web Services plans to use the latest Xeon processor in its datacenters sometime later this year and will participate in an Intel branding campaign when marketing its datacenter services, Intel announced. Intel also started up a Network Builders program that's centered on partner use of the Xeon chip's reference architecture.
PC and Tablet Chips
Next, Krzanich focused on Intel's PC and tablet efforts. While Intel had announced its fourth-generation Haswell chip earlier this year, Krzanich showed a new laptop powered by a 4.5-Watt Haswell chip. He said that this new chip provides an extended battery life in a thin, fanless device. "They are here; they are coming to market," he added, but didn't say when new products using this Haswell chip might arrive.
Krzanich held up "the first" laptop powered by a 14-nm Broadwell chip. He said that "14 nm is here and working and we will be shipping by the end of this year." The Broadwell chip features a 30 percent power improvement, he said. Krzanich added that "we will have the same performance improvements that you see on Haswell, and you'll see it in products next year."
Intel is focused on supporting so-called "two-in-one" devices, which are laptop-like PCs that convert into tablets. "By the end of this year, we will have over 60 of these systems in the market at a price point of under $400," Krzanich said.
With regard to tablets, Krzanich said that Intel can provide the same form factor to an OEM and they can choose between, Windows, Android, Core and Atom. He said that there would be "price points below $100 this holiday" season for these tablets.
Krzanich showed what he said was the "world's first 22-nm phone." Intel's chip supports a 50 percent performance gain with a longer battery life, he claimed. Intel is also moving into improving LTE wireless support.
"We've also got LTE," he said. "This phone is working on LTE right now. We are shipping data LTE this year with voice 3G. By the end of this year, we will ship data LTE with voice LTE in phones."
Intel is also working on "LTE Advanced" support, with data access rates of 35 Mbps to 75 Mbps. Intel plans to increase that LTE support to "up to 150 Mbps and above," Krzanich said.
Intel is currently shipping its XMM 7160 modem with LTE roaming support. Its next-generation XMM 7260 modem will have the LTE Advanced support. The XMM 7260 modem is still under development, but it's expected to ship in 2014.
The Internet of Things
Intel thinks of the Internet of things and wearable computing devices as similar approaches. These kinds of devices need to work under very low power conditions and have small form factors. In addition, security becomes more important with such chips, Krzanich said.
In that regard, he announced Intel's new Quark family of system on chips (SoC), which he described as "Intel's smallest SoC ever." He said that the Quark SoC is one-fifth the size of Intel's Atom chip and uses one tenth of its power. "It's designed for the Internet of things," Krzanich said.
Intel has already built the Quark reference designs that are ready for the developer community. Krzanich said that companies can add their own intellectual property into the silicon. "The idea is to come up with devices that partners could use to develop their own products in an open ecosystem," he explained.
Krzanich concluded his talk by saying that "the landscape of computing has never been bigger" for Intel and its partners.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.