IDF 2009: Intel Mobile Technologies for the Foreseeable Future

The noise in the halls of presentations and the sidelines of the annual Intel Forum for Developers 2009, the announcements of new technologies and devices have died down; the time has passed for stormy reports from the scene about everything seen in a row, it’s time to move on to a calm detailed analysis of the huge amount of diverse information received during IDF 2009. Our today’s material is the first in a series of “forum posts” devoted to Intel innovations in the field of mobile platforms PCs, including those already presented in the days of the Forum “in hardware”, those that will only appear on store shelves in the coming months, and, of course, promising ones – those that are still in development. Let me emphasize once again: today we will talk only about mobile platforms, that is, about developments for “classic” mobile PCs – laptops. Intel platforms for ultramobile devices – netbooks, Internet tablets (MID), smartphones, as well as for ultra-economical household devices – nettops, TV and game consoles, today differ significantly from platforms for laptops, so that due to the variety and plurality of everything about Intel Atom architecture is quite fair to make a separate article.
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According to the tradition that has developed in recent years, “platform” means not only new generation processors and chipsets, but the entire hardware and software complex of new technologies, thanks to the appearance of which, in our own words, it makes sense to call all this “new generation”. Although, undoubtedly, processor innovations occupy the most important part in this complex.

Nehalem microarchitecture made it to laptops

It is no longer surprising that ubiquitous mobile devices have long overtaken desktop PCs in terms of quantity and prevalence. In the future, this trend will only intensify, and by 2012, according to Gartner forecasts, the share of mobile client devices worldwide could reach 70% of the total. Judging by the graph, this trend will be quite dynamic in our EMEA region.

Currently, the most dynamically growing market for ultramobile PCs – netbooks, and in some places even to the detriment of the development of the laptop market. According to the latest data from Display Search, in the second quarter of 2009, the notebook market grew by 10% compared to the previous quarter and reached $ 26. The decline in monetary terms occurred precisely because of the decrease in laptop prices on average. by 10%, while netbooks fell in price by about 30% and not least because of this, their sales grew by 360%. And yet, practice shows that even the most convenient and productive netbook is far from always able to replace a full-fledged portable machine with a powerful processor, powerful graphics and / or a large screen. This is facilitated by the emergence of new models of application and the growth of the complexity of traditional – powerful 3D games, HD video, multimedia and entertainment provider content, etc. Therefore, in Intel, the development of mobile technologies for the near future is positioned in three main areas – netbooks, ultra-thin models and “standard” laptops , in some cases – to replace a desktop PC.

This fall, the main event in the laptop market was the long-awaited migration of the Nehalem micro-processor architecture to the mobile platform. Thanks to this, the new 4-core mobile processors Intel Core i7 and Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition, presented during IDF 2009, fully support all modern Intel technologies. The video below (from about 50 seconds) shows the moment of the very first announcement of Intel Core i7 and Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition mobile processors on the first day of IDF 2009.

For example, the new Intel Core i7 mobile processors feature Intel Turbo Boost technology, which allows you to dynamically increase the clock speed of one or more cores depending on the system load, provided that the heat dissipation of the chip does not exceed the maximum allowable value.
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Intel Turbo Boost Technology peaks at significant levels in various modes – see table below.

Intel Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel HT), based on the principle of executing two data streams on one core, in a 4-core hypostasis allows simultaneous processing of up to 8 threads, which, for certain tasks that support multithreading, can achieve a tangible performance increase.
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The four physical cores of the new mobile processors, equipped with an integrated 2-channel DDR3-1333 / 1066 MHz memory controller, 8 MB distributed L3 cache (Intel Smart Cache) and supporting Intel HD Boost technology (full SSE4 instruction set), allow to achieve significant performance improvements in a variety of time-consuming applications, including video processing, photography, voice recognition, financial computing, CAD systems, and scientific computing. Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition chips also support Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (Intel XMP) technology and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, a dedicated software for manual fine tuning of the corresponding parameters.

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Optimized for the new mobile processors, the Intel PM55 Express Chipset works with Intel Matrix Storage Technology for RAID support, integrated Intel High-Definition Audio, and an expanded set of interfaces, including 6 SATA 3Gb / s ports with external hard drive support. disk or solid-state drive with SATA interface, 8 PCI Express 2.0 x1 interfaces with data transfer rates up to 2.5 gig transfers per second, 14 USB 2.0 ports and so on. Thus, with the advent of mobile processors Intel Core Extreme Edition i7-920XM, Intel Core i7-820QM and Intel Core i7-720QM, the performance and capabilities of new generation laptops have come close to the capabilities of productive desktop systems. The design of laptops based on the new Intel Core i7 processors was presented at IDF 2009 by a number of world-famous manufacturers, mass deliveries of such models are not far off. However, another, more significant update of the Intel Centrino mobile platform is not far off.