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  IDF, Convergence of Technology 
  Feb 18, 2003, 08:00pm EST 
By: Sander Sassen

Welcome back as we bring you our first update from the conference floor. Today is the first day of the Intel Developer Conference which means 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 simple 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.

Craig Barret, Convergence Cowboy

Fig 1. Craig Barret, dubbed the ‘convergence cowboy’ by Pat Gelsinger during the keynote.

Today the opening keynote was held by Pat Gelsinger and Craig Barret. They talked about what to expect from IDF Spring 2003 and what new technologies by Intel and other manufacturers would be featuring in the many keynotes, tracks and seminars that’ll be given this week. They mainly spoke about the merger between computer and communication devices and the convergence of technology.

Image without processing

Fig 2. The focused ion beam microscope image prior to processing the image with the algorithm.

Image with processing

Fig 3. The focused ion beam microscope image after processing the image with the algorithm.

One of the most impressive demos that featured during Craig’s part of the keynote was a live demonstration of newly developed software that enables Intel to take a closer look at the CPU die after manufacturing. Naturally at nanometer scale simple optical microscopes don’t work anymore and exotic solutions, like an FIB, focused ion beam, microscope, have to be used to make the individual transistors and interconnecting traces visible. The picture pretty dramatically shows what a combination of a powerful algorithm, fast real time processing and an FIB microscope are capable of.

Abit SI7, SiS 658 Chipset, PC1200 RDRAM

Fig 4. The Abit SI7 motherboard featuring the SiS 658 chipset, with PC1200 RDRAM.

After the keynote we also got a chance to tour the product showcase were we looked at many products we’ve seen at previous trade shows already. Seagate and other Serial-ATA manufacturers for example had the same products on display as we’ve seen many times before, so that was certainly nothing innovative. One of the products that was at least pushing technology forward one way or another was the Abit SI7 motherboard on display at the Rambus booth. Featuring PC1200 RDRAM this motherboard promises to push RDRAM to new performance heights and might very well be offering better performance than Intel’s upcoming Sprindale chipset which, in case you’re wondering, will not be launched at this IDF.

Tomorrow we’ll be back for the 2nd keynote after which we'll again be attending a large number of sessions and seminars. And naturally we'll be touring the product showcase again to see if there’s anything we missed. Sofar we’ve seen very little new products or technology at this IDF Spring 2003 so we’re hoping to bring you more news tomorrow, but it unfortunately looks like there's simply not many new and innovative products to report on.

Sander Sassen.

Next update: IDF, Centrino and Prescott - Feb 19, 2003, 4:00 PM

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