Intel parades PC partitioning and server chips

Intel announced Vanderpool, a technology which will let desktop PCs run independent operating systems on a single chip, at its...

Intel announced Vanderpool, a technology which will let desktop PCs run independent operating systems on a single chip, at its Developer Forum yesterday.

Intel president and chief operating officer Paul Otellini said the initiative separates the processor into two partitions upon which users can run two independent operating systems or applications. Users will be able to recover more quickly from system crashes and improve the reliability of their PCs.

Partitioning technology is available for software on servers, but no one has brought that technology to hardware on desktops yet, Otellini said. Products featuring Vanderpool will be released within five years.

Otellini also revealed Intel's plans for future server chips in both its 32-bit Xeon line and its 64-bit Itanium processor family. The company is heading toward multiple core designs for its server chips.

Intel will release its first dual-core Xeon product with the launch of Tulsa, which will come after the launch of the previously disclosed Potomac chip in 2004, Otellini said.

On the Itanium side, Intel will release a chip known as Tanglewood some time after 2005. Tanglewood will contain multiple cores, and is based on work done by a group of engineers who originally developed the Alpha processor for Digital Equipment.

Most of the opening address to the 4,500 developers, analysts and media gathered in San Jose for the biannual conference focused on the convergence of communications devices and computers, a theme Intel has been pushing for several quarters.

The company demonstrated a personal communicator device which places phone calls and sends digital still and video images over a wireless network, with performance claimed to be similar to that of a modern Pentium 4.

Consumers wanting to move video and audio wirelessly from their PCs to their televisions will be able to secure that content with the new DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Content Protection over Internet Protocol) standard, Otellini said.

Intel's transition to a 90-nanometer process technology is well under way, Otellini said. The company will see revenue from shipments in 2003 from both Prescott, its 90nm desktop chip, and Dothan, its 90nm mobile chip, he said. However, the ramp toward full volume production will extend into 2004.

Otellini expressed optimism that the semiconductor industry and the tech world in general is starting to come back from the doldrums of the past few years. "We've survived the depths of the industry. Things are starting to move again."

IDF ends tomorrow (Thursday).

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

Read more on PC hardware