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  IDF final words, SF touring and more 
  Mar 06, 2002, 08:30am EST 
 
By: Sander Sassen

This year’s IDF was quite different from previous years and not just because they moved the conference to the Moscone center in downtown San Francisco which is a far better location to my opinion, there were simply much more keynotes and seminars within a much tighter time schedule. For me that meant I sometimes had to make difficult choices as often two very interesting seminars were held at the same time, thus I either had to do half-half or pick one and hope to catch up on the information from the other one during the next few days.

But the whole IDF conference left a very good impression; the information was insightful and in some occasions touched upon subjects never before openly discussed at Intel. I specifically found the validation and design seminars very interesting, they offered a sneak peek into Intel’s ‘kitchen’ and because I have an engineering degree myself (MSEE) I could very much relate to what they were trying to get across which is simply that if proper design and validation go hand-in-hand you’ll end up with a working product. I was impressed by the amount of effort Intel puts towards their product testing and validation, we’re not talking 100s but literally 1000s of machines testing and evaluating their products and making sure they work.

Genuine ‘Next Gen products’ however were far and few behind. Serial-ATA looks promising, but is equally limited by disk mechanics as are today’s drives, so I wouldn’t expect Serial-ATA drives to blow current IDE-drives away once they are released. Naturally Nvidia had their elusive GeForce4 Ti 4600 on display which to me looks like another speedgrade of GeForce3 with some extra bits-and-pieces thrown in. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to hook up with ATi as they ‘supposedly’ demo-ed their new part in a nearby hotel, none of the other journalists that I talked to had seen it either so it could all have been a mere rumor. ATi did however have a gaming centre setup so you could try out some of their desktop and mobile products without someone looking over your shoulder or running some optimized demo. I must say the performance of the Mobility Radeon 7500 was indeed quite good, I wouldn’t mind having that chipset in my notebook.

As for concept PCs Intel’s new ‘midget-PC’ formfactor indeed looks good, but then again leaves very little room for future upgrades and I doubt we’ll see motherboard manufacturers such as Asus, MSI, Iwill, etc. manufacturing motherboards for it any time soon. For those that are looking for a small PC that’ll do well in the living room or on the desktop, instead of under it, I’m sure the OEMs such a Dell and Compaq will welcome it and launch it with all sorts of color schemes to fit your interior. From that perspective may I suggest detachable front and side panels and a wide variety of different colors, I’m sure that’ll do well with the interior designers.

What else? I can only say that IDF was a blast, great keynotes, some very good ‘put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is’ one-on-one interviews with key Intel people and last but not least a great atmosphere, good food and a change to once more put our driving skills to the test in a trip we took through Marin County. We took a bright yellow Honda Integra Type-R for a drive through Marin County and the SF bay area, which turned out to be a great sight-seeing tour.

Welcome to IDF, snowboarding and more
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/daily_column/article/1483/

IDF in full swing, 3GIO and more
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/daily_column/article/1485/

Goodbye IDF, AMD's Hammer and more
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/daily_column/article/1486/

Back home, Rambus' Next Gen and more
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/daily_column/article/1487/

The above list summarizes our coverage of IDF with a large number of photos and streaming media video footage. Now that we’re back home again we’ll go back to writing our usual articles and news but do expect us to have a follow-up to some of the items we already discussed during IDF. I hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage from IDF and found the streaming media video footage useful as we plan to do that more often. For those that sent me emails during IDF, please be patient, I got a few hundred in backlog but I’ll get around to answering yours within the next two weeks.

Sander Sassen

 

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