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  IDF, Product Showcase and Racecars 
  Feb 20, 2003, 06:00pm EST 
By: Sander Sassen

Welcome back! Today was another fun day at the conference and we finally found some time to tour the product showcase. The product showcase actually features all sorts of products and not just those that are developed or marketed by Intel. Many manufacturers have a booth and basically demo their new or latest products. One of the new concepts that was demonstrated during last IDF, the blade form factor for servers, now found its way into many products that we came across during the showcase. And although the blade form factor started out as a high-density and low-power platform we also came across dual Xeon solutions such as the one pictured below, so the blade form factor certainly is able to hold itís own in comparison to traditional rack servers.

IBM Dual Xeon Blade Module

Fig 1. An IBM blade form factor module, featuring two Xeon processors, DDR memory and local storage.

Naturally Intel was keen on demonstrating all the new technology talked about during the keynotes such as the new motherboard form factors for motherboards and new chipsets for the Pentium 4. There were many proof of concept PCs to be found that more or less offered innovative new features or addressed issues such as noise production and packing a lot of performance into a very small space. The Powersville motherboard for example, featuring the new Bigwater formfactor and the upcoming Intel 865 chipset was found everywhere around the showcase teamed up with an 800Mhz FSB Pentium 4.

Proof of Concept PC

Fig 2. A proof of concept PC featuring the Bigwater formfactor, the upcoming Intel 865 chipset and an 800MHz FSB Pentium 4.

Powersville Motherboard

Fig 3. A closer look at the Powersville motherboard which has everything integrated and only offers an AGP expansion slot.

Of course we saw not one, but rather a few dozen, of Centrino notebooks, featuring an even wider variety of configurations, ranging from the very small form factor notebooks to the desktop replacements. All the Centrino notebooks however closely followed the feature set thatís integrated into the Intel 855 chipset. Upon closer inspection only the full size notebooks were running a Pentium-M processor with a clockspeed over 1.3GHz, all of the smaller notebooks used the 900MHz variety of the CPU.

Centrino Notebooks

Fig 4. A selection of Centrino notebooks, featuring the Pentium-M processor and the Intel 855 chipset.

Naturally it wasnít all work, we also had some time to play, and thereís one occasion that was exceptionally funny and I actually caught it on film. Iím sure youíve heard of the miniature R/C cars that are for sale at Fryís for example. One of the Intel PR people actually took one to the press room and both me and Anna from couldnít resist taking it for a test drive as evident from the video below. We actually challenged the Intel PR guy to a race which will take place tomorrow morning in the press room and weíll be sure to let you know if we managed to beat him with racing these miniature R/C cars.

Fig 5. A video of Anna from driving the miniature R/C car, she told us thatís exactly how she drives in her hometown Moskou.

Tomorrow the focus will mostly be on the manufacturing and Intel will undoubtedly get into greater detail about their 90nm process, strained silicon and other process techniques. Tomorrowís keynote and the following tracks and sessions will focus on the advances made in silicon technology and manufacturing, micro architectures and circuits, but also computing hardware platforms, software, communications and networking and everything else thatíll help to enable the convergence thatís been the central theme of the whole IDF Spring 2003 conference.

Sander Sassen.

Next update: IDF, R/C car race, MHz doesn't matter - Feb 26, 2003, 7:30 AM

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