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  IDF, Computers and Communication 
  Sep 10, 2002, 08:30am EDT 
By: Sander Sassen

Welcome back as we bring you our first update from the conference floor. Today is registration day for most of the attendees and there are lots of them lining up for registration. Fortunately we pre-registered so when we showed up at 12:30am yesterday all that was required was a simply showing of our ID and we were given our press passes and a media kit with lots of IDF info. As usual Intel offers a broad range of facilities for us journalists including wireless networking across most of the conference rooms as well as the hotel lobby and the exhibition floor.

As was the case with last IDF back in February this time they again handed out a number of wireless network cards on a first-come-first-serve basis and thus we were up at 7:00am to be one of the lucky few to get an 802.11a card. In contrast to last time, when a few hundred journalists showed up for a freebee, we were quite surprised to find out we were the only ones getting up that early. But anyway enough about our personal experiences, lets start talking about was going on at the conference today.

Today the opening keynote was held by Paul S. Otelli, President and Chief Operating Officer at Intel. He talked about what to expect from IDF Fall 2002 and what new technologies by Intel and other manufacturers would be featuring in the many keynotes, tracks and seminars thatíll be given this week. As he spoke about a large number of subjects ranging from the merger between computer and communication devices to the new Madison server processor weíve taken a few items from this keynote that will be introduced in the next few months.

One of the most impressive demos that featured during Paulís keynote was a live demonstration of Microsoftís new Windows XP Media Center Edition, basically a new version of Windows XP focused on digital media content delivery to your computer. Please take a moment to look at the media clip below so you have an impression of what this new version of Windows XP will be capable of:

Fig 1. The Windows XP Media Center Edition doubling as a TV set and digital VCR, impressive to say the least. This movie requires the Windows Media player to be installed and requires a broadband connection for streaming playback.

The other demo featured the Pentium 4 desktop processor with HyperThreading which before was reserved to Intelís Xeon processor. Intel was quick to announce that the upcoming 3.06GHz Pentium 4 CPU will be the first desktop processor to feature HyperThreading. Unfortunately the demos they showed werenít that convincing to me because they didnít use any form of benchmarking other than running multiple applications at the same time. During a roundtable discussion we had later this afternoon with Bill Sui, Vice President and General Manager of Intelís desktop division, he was quick to comment that some applications might see 70% performance gain whereas others might not benefit at all.

Naturally weíll have to reserve judgment until we have an actual sample of the HyperThreading enabled Pentium 4 in our labs but it looks promising as it basically is a poor manís SMP. Thereís one physical processor in the system that emulates a dual CPU configuration and thus can handle multithreaded and heavy multitasked applications much more efficiently than a single threaded CPU. One of the things that we did manage to get a definitive answer on is that fact the Pentium 4s with HyperThreading will be compatible with most current motherboards after a BIOS upgrade.

Sander Sassen.

Next update: IDF, Pentium 4 and HyperThreading - 10-09-2002, 10:00am


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