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Intel Developers' Forum: Innovate out of recession says Barrett

Intel chief executive, Craig Barrett, argued that companies should innovate their way out of recession in his opening speech at the Intel forum in San Francisco.

"Regardless of what happens, the only way to get out of a recession is with new products. Collectively, we need to invest and bring new tech into the market," he said.

Intel unveiled a new Xeon chip as well as a chipset designed for low-end servers on 25 February.

The company also announced that it has begun shipping microprocessors built on a 300mm wafer production line using 0.13-micron process technology.

Intel claimed the advance in chip production would allow it to build roughly four times as many processors per wafer compared to the previous generation developed with 200 mm wafers using the 0.18-micron process technology.

The advance in chip development is consistent with Moore's law, Barrett said, citing the formula penned by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that says the number of transistors on a chip doubles roughly every 18 months.

One attendee was impressed that Intel continues to champion Moore's law.

"I am amazed that this trend is here to stay," said Jason Matteson, a mechanical engineer at IBM.

In addition to Intel's own silicon technology, Barrett pointed to other advances he hoped would help re-ignite the technology industry. These include a growth in broadband use and next-generation wireless networking, as well as Web services.

Barrett pegged the success of these advances on a consensus around industry standard technologies and protocols, as well as efforts to make the Internet more secure.

In a demonstration during the keynote, IBM gave a preview of its x360 server with Intel's as-yet-unreleased Xeon MP chips, designed for multiprocessor systems. The company has started early shipments of these servers, which should show significant performance improvements over current Intel-based systems.

IBM showed the Xeon-based x360 server working with another IBM server running on Intel's McKinley chip, its next-generation 64-bit server processor. The x360 worked as a front-end server, handling user requests and hooked into an IBM DB2 database on the McKinley-based server. IBM will ship McKinley servers later this year.

Intel also launched its Xeon chip for lower end servers, code-named Prestonia, looking to boost the performance of one-way and two-way servers.

The McKinley processor is the second generation in the company's 64-bit line of chips that were built to help Intel better compete against the likes of Sun Microsystems and in the high-end server market.

Although Itanium has lacked momentum so far, Intel restated its commitment to the platform.

"No matter what you read, we are absolutely committed to making the Itanium processor family absolutely real," said Mike Fister, senior vice-president and general manager of the enterprise platforms group at Intel, during a speech after Barrett's keynote address.

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