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Low Power Key to Upcoming Intel Designs

As expected, Intel told attendees at this week’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco that the next generation of its processors will follow a low-power path to reduce heat leakage while still providing higher performance than ever.

Giving his first speech to an IDF crowd since becoming CEO in May, Paul Otellini said that the company will begin shipping in the second half of 2006 the first chips to use a new micro-architecture for notebook, desktop and server CPUs. The new micro-architecture is based on technology gleaned from the Pentium M and its predecessors. The Pentium M was originally designed for use in low-power notebooks.

During his keynote, Otellini showed off upcoming processors for notebook, desktop and server platforms – codenamed respectively Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest – built on Intel's coming 65-nanometer manufacturing process. The Merom multi-core mobile processor is due in the second half of 2006.

Over the coming years, the company expects Merom's energy-efficient, multi-core design to deliver three times the performance per watt of current processors. Otellini also predicted that coming lower-power products will lead to a new category of ultra energy-efficient "Handtop PC" devices that combine personal communications and a PC-like experience but use less than a watt of processing power and weigh under a pound.

He also said Intel is currently working on more than 10 processor designs that combine four (quad-core) or more processor cores on a single chip.

Intel also announced it will join the Network Admission Control (NAC) program, an industry effort led by Cisco in the area of security. In exchange, Cisco will join Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT) program, a part of Intel's Digital Office initiative. AMT’s aim is to provide capabilities to greatly improve IT manageability. The companies expect to achieve compatibility between Cisco NAC and Intel AMT during the fourth quarter of 2005.

Additionally, the two companies said that an existing collaboration is beginning to bear fruit. Cisco and Intel have jointly created a set of features they’ve dubbed the Business Class Wireless Suite for companies that use both Cisco's Unified Wireless Architecture and Intel Centrino mobile technology.

The Suite includes selection technology to let Centrino mobile technology-based clients find the best access points for roaming within a business wireless LAN. It also provides enhanced Voice over IP (VoIP) quality of service (QoS) technology to support reliable voice communications for laptops. The new features will be available from both companies in the first quarter of 2006, the companies said.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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