Intel Corp. executives will create a product triangle of sorts when the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) opens Feb. 15 in Palm Springs, Calif. Some 3,000 participants are expected to hear them describe the Timna processor with integrated graphics, the next-generation 32-bit Willamette microarchitecture and the Itanium 64-bit processor.
The company expects that trio of products to be introduced to the market this year and to position Intel in the value, performance and high-end-server portions of the computer marketplace.
This year Intel Developer Forum) will include three days of speeches, 17 technical tracks and 111 demonstrations in the third-party showcase area.
Pat Gelsinger, general manager of the Intel desktop platform division, said Intel has "working silicon of Timna, and we plan to bring that to the value sector of the market in the second half of 2000."
One analyst who asked not to be identified said Intel is believed to be readying two flavors of Timna, one with an SDRAM interface and another incorporating a Rambus interface. Gelsinger declined to comment, saying only that Timna would provide "smart integration," Intel's code word for integrated memory, graphics and CPU cache.
Willamette, which is both a new microarchitecture and the code name for an MPU, is scheduled to come to market in the second half of 2000. Willamette products will be "aimed at the desktop and server markets," Gelsinger said.
Andrew Grove, now Intel's chairman, will deliver the opening keynote, and is expected to stick closely to the conference theme: "designing solutions for the Internet economy."
February's IDF comes at a crucial time for Intel. Though profits and sales rebounded in 1999 to record levels after a 1998 marked by rapid price declines, the company has had difficulties in execution of late. The shortage of 0.18-micron Coppermine pro-cessors has provoked customers like Gateway to include Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon processor in their product lineup. Athlon is based on a new microarchitecture that came to market a year earlier than Willamette's planned introduction.
Also, Intel pumped the Rambus memory interface hard for this year, but costs have slowed adoption so far. Gelsinger said IDF will include sessions on Intel's chip set and memory road maps. The Solano chip set, which supports a PC133 memory interface, will be included.
Intel has been leading the industry toward the 2.0 version of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface, and analysts have speculated that Solano and other Intel chip sets may support USB 2.0 this year. Gelsinger declined comment, but said USB 2.0 would be an important topic at the IDF.
HomeRF demo due
Mark Christensen, general manager of the network communications group, will speak about Intel's Internet Exchange Architecture. Intel managers will detail the company's plans for digital subscriber line any-point silicon and provide the first demonstration of a wireless home networking initiative called HomeRF.
Dan Russell, general manager of the Intel Architecture Content Group, said software will be a major focus, including development tools from Intel and third-party vendors for the Willamette processor/microarchitecture.
The forum will include a "software alley," and Russell said the Linux OS will be on display in many of the 19 kiosks there. Third-party software vendors will demonstrate tools and operating systems that will run on the Itanium processor, which is now in the sampling stage. The second stepping of the Itanium silicon will be described at the IDF.
"Linux is becoming a key element in e-business and e-commerce," Russell said, on both the IA-64 and IA-32 platforms.
He pointed out that the software needed to create second-generation Web sites on the IA-32 architecture will be showcased at IDF.