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  IDF, The Current State of Technology 
  Sep 17, 2002, 03:00pm EDT 
By: Sander Sassen

IDF, the uber-geek-fest of all things Intel has once again come to an end. Five days of utter geekiness, tech-talk, wireless 802.11a access throughout the convention center and last but certainly not least thousands of developers, analysists and press people from around the globe attending the conference. People that are usually open to discussion and very willing to, for example, tell you how things are done on the other side of the globe, interesting to say the least. On top of that you get a chance to talk to some of the most influential people in the industry such as Intel’s CTO Pat Gelsinger. But also meet face to face with engineers and learn more about the hurdles and difficulties they, and others, had to overcome to continue to improve upon their products and push technology forward.

For someone with a degree in EE this was as much fun as a car mechanic in a Formula 1 workshop, and thus I had a great time. A chance to get up to speed with the latest technologies from a large number of companies, not just exclusively Intel’s, and talk to engineers and developers without PR people constantly evading questions or trying to steer the conversation towards a certain topic. We did get some answers though, not from Pat or any of the other top brass we’ve talked to, but the engineers we approached during a number of the sessions did occasionally disclose info that probably was supposed to be under embargo.

Not that I’m trying to sound all too hush-hush about this, some things discussed are just a few weeks away, such as the 3.06GHz HyperThreading enabled Pentium 4, others are a bit far off still such as the dual channel DDR chipsets and processors based on the 90nm process. But overall this has been the most productive IDF ever on our behalf, and that’s not just because we were back in San Jose were the nightlife is dull and boring after 9:00pm, but because we had fewer overlapping sessions and roundtables and thus got more ground covered.

If we had to rate which products or technologies we were impressed by most we’d certainly give the HyperThreaded Pentium 4 top honors, provided Intel can deliver on their claims of a 25 to 70% performance increase. The keynote and exhibition showfloor demos of the 3.06GHz CPU were impressive and certainly bested an equally clocked regular Pentium 4. Second place is either Intel’s 90nm process or the wide acceptance of Serial ATA-II which indeed provides an evolutionary step over current ATA standards. And the runner up would have to be Banias, the new mobile architecture, which promises up to 8-hrs of battery life, but again, we’ll have to see about that first.

In summary we had a great time at IDF, the keynotes were entertaining and usually informative and the tracks and roundtables showed what progress Intel and other manufacturers had made since IDF Spring in February. And I’ll have to be honest that some indeed have gotten quite some work done since then, the industry might be in a slump, but some of the engineers certainly are still willing to give it their best. Overall a great conference and as you can see from our coverage one worth attending, we’re certainly planning on checking in again for IDF Spring 2003 to monitor the then current state of technology.

Below you’ll find a summary of our coverage of IDF Fall 2002, click the links to be forwarded to the article of your interest. Please take notice that most of these articles feature streaming video content that requires the Microsoft Windows Media Player to be installed.

IDF, Itanium 2 and Blade Servers - 11-09-2002, 10:00am

IDF, Banias a New Mobile Architecture - 10-09-2002, 3:00pm

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

IDF, Computers and Communication - 10-09-2002, 8:30am

IDF, Welcome to IDF Fall 2002 – 08-09-2002, 1:00pm

We hope you’ve enjoyed our IDF Fall 2002 coverage, if you however have any questions, tips or suggestions, be sure to drop us an email and we’d be happy to answer your questions or requests.

Sander Sassen.


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