Intel demos 350MHz Pentium

Intel's Developer Forum has kicked off with a burst of speed as the first keynote speaker used a film clip from the movie 'The Mask' to demonstrate the performance capabilities of a 350-MHz Pentium II processor running with a 100-MHz Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) memory bus. This was the first public demonstration of both technologies. The film clip, which had no apparent degradation in quality or speed, was running in a software implementation of MPEG2 video from a DVD-ROM disk on a wall-size display rather than requiring special MPEG hardware to achieve similar performance.

Intel's Developer Forum here has started off with a burst of speed as the first keynote speaker used a film clip from the movie "The Mask" to demonstrate the performance capabilities of a 350MHz Pentium II processor running with a 100-MHz Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) memory bus. This was the first public demonstration of both technologies.

The film clip, which had no apparent degradation in quality or speed, was running in a software implementation of MPEG2 video from a DVD-ROM disk on a wall-size display rather than requiring special MPEG hardware to achieve similar performance.

Intel's Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of the Desktop Products Group, used the clip, which incorporated numerous interdependent technologies, to set the stage for the theme of the conference.

"Competition no longer works," Gelsinger said. "We must co-evolve relationships rather than compete. We are in an industry where no one succeeds unless everyone cooperates."

Gelsinger likened the PC industry to an ecosystem. Then enticing the hardware developers with numbers that indicate the worldwide market for PCs is still in its nascent stage, he laid out for the audience how Intel will participate in the ecology.

"There are more than one billion households worldwide, with only about 150 million households having PCs," Gelsinger said. "That's less than 10%."

Intel will continue to produce IA (Intel Architecture) 32 processors "as far as we can see into the next decade, along with IA64 processors," Gelsinger said. SDRAM running at 100 MHz will be available to OEMs in the first half of 1998, with Rambus DRAM coming in 1999. Also in 1998, will be IEEE 1394 I/O, also known as firewire, running at 100Mbps to 400Mbps with performance as fast as 1Gbps by the end of the decade. In 1999, Accelerated Graphics Port will move to 4X performance.

All of the slated performance increases, a total of 10X improvement over the current performance of a system, require a balanced platform, Gelsinger said. To nurture that balanced platform, he told the developers that Intel would be offering them three new toolkits to analyze various hardware component performance.

"It can't be guesswork," as it often has been in the past, Gelsinger said.

The three toolkits, dubbed IPEAK, for Intel Performance Evaluation and Analysis Kit, will assist developers in "platform integration" and "performance tuning," Gelsinger said. There will be a Graphics Toolkit, Storage Toolkit, and Power Management Toolkit. The power management toolkit for example, tests for supported Advanced Configuration and Power Interface states at both the system and device system and analyzes the behavior of applications.

Gelsinger told the developers that they must learn to translate market demand into systems quickly and that the toolkits will help them do that.

Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, California, is at http://www.intel.com/.

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