Digital entertainment gets a boost

Intel has promised that PC gamers will soon get their very own Pentium 4 processor.

Intel has promised that PC gamers will soon get their very own Pentium 4 processor.

The Pentium 4 processor with Hyperthreading Technology Extreme Edition will be available in 30 to 60 days, said Intel vice-president and general manager Louis Burns, speaking at the Intel Developers Forum

The processor will be shipped at 3.2GHz, and Intel added 2Mbytes of Level 3 cache to it, Burns said. Additional cache means the processor can store larger amounts of frequently accessed instructions close to the CPU (central processing unit), improving performance.

Burns also shed more light on the DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Content Protection over Internet Protocol) standard designed to protect premium content as it travels between home networking devices.

The DTCP-IP provides a way to ensure that only devices within a home network can share digital content by requiring public key authentication before transferring a file.

By implementing the standard in PCs and consumer electronics devices, film studios will be able to distribute content and prevent the files from being shared around the globe through peer-to-peer networks. Without such protection, studios will be extremely reluctant to deliver such services as in-home premium movies on demand.

Products based on the standard will be available in the second half of 2004.

Intel's vision of the digital home was on display for the conference attendees, complete with futuristic products as well as demonstrations of existing technologies.

Burns demonstrated a compact PC from Gateway that uses the next generation of Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system.

It allows consumers to run multiple programs at the same time, such as downloading a video while playing an interactive game, and is designed for use with digital entertainment. Gateway will release the device within 30 days.

Intel also announced a reference design for future PCs. Formerly known as Big Water, the Balance Technology Extended (BTX) design is available to motherboard designers, and products based on the design are expected to appear next year.

BTX will contain technologies such as a resilient power supply, which protects unsaved on-screen data in the event of a temporary power interruption.

Tom Krazit wrties for ISG News Service

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