SAN FRANCISCO Eager to turn the corner after a yearlong stretch of rough road that culminated in massive layoffs announced earlier this month, Intel President and CEO Paul Ottelini came out swinging Tuesday (Sept. 26), emphasizing his company's process technology lead over semiconductor industry competitors and implying that the world's top chip maker is making a fresh start.
Asked if a slew of Intel Developer Forum (IDF) announcements and technology breakthroughsincluding a programmable processor said to deliver 1 trillion floating point operations per secondwould alter the widespread perception that Intel's competitive advantage is eroding, Otellini characterized it as a step in the right direction.
"Perception doesn't change overnight," he said. "It moves in bits and pieces. What you are seeing is Intel rebuilding itself, rebuilding its product line and becoming more competitive."
Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) has been struggling over the past year following a series of missteps amid increased competition from rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc. Earlier this month, Intel announced it would slash 10,500 jobs by mid-2007 as part of a restructuring.
Ottelini used his keynote address kicking off IDF here Tuesday to reiterate the company's aggressive technology roadmap, saying Intel would achieve a 300 percent performance-per-watt increase by the end of the decade.
Ottelini boasted of Intel's process technology advantage over competitors, noting that the company remains the only semiconductor supplier shipping 65-nm products. This month, Intel reached an important crossover point, Ottelini said, shipping more 65-nm products than 90-nm products for the first time.
Intel has now sold more than 40 million 65-nm processors, Ottelini said. "Compared to zero for the rest of the industry," he added.
Intel expects to complete its first 45-nm design next quarter, Ottelini said. The company currently has 15 more 45-nm designs in the advanced stages, he said. The company expects to start 45-nm production by the second half of 2007, he said.
Ottelini also showed a wafer that he said contained a prototype for the industry's first programmable processor to deliver 1 trillion floating point operations per second (Tflops/s).
A subsequent address by Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner expanded on the company's new tera-scale research program, noting that looming changes in server data centers driven by exploding Internet bandwidth needs will challenge the industry to deliver the 1 trillion Tflops/s of performance and terabytes of bandwidth.
Otellini also announced the Intel Core Processor Challenge, a contest created to award up to $1 million in prizes to the PC designer or manufacturer that builds the smallest and most stylish PCs power by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
Otellini praised the early success of Intel's Core2 Duo processor, which he called the fastest ramping product in the company's history. More than 5 million Core2 Duos have been shipped since its introduction less than 60 days ago, Otellini said.
Finally, Otellini provided some details about the company's forthcoming quad-core processors. As the name implies, the devices will feature four cores.
Intel's first quad-core processor, the Core2 Extreme, will be shipped in November, targeted at gamers and content creators. The company's mainstream Core2 Quad processor is scheduled to be shipped in the first quarter of 2007. For servers, the Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor 5300 series brand for dual processor servers will be shipped this year, as well as a new low-power 50-watt Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor L5310 for blade servers that will be shipped in the first quarter of 2007.
Rather than being a monolithic quad-core processor, Intel's forthcoming Core2 Quad and Quad-Core Xeon processors will initially be comprised of two dual-core chips one multi-chip package. Intel plans to make monolithic quad-core processors when the company transitions to the 45-nm node next year.