IDF Spring 2005: Report from San Francisco

The Silent Front
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March 13, 2005 by Mike Chin

The Intel Developer Forum has become an excellent semi-annual excuse for me to combine business with a visit to family in the Bay area. IDF is best summed up as Intel University for its partners, combined with a lavish dose of marketing and PR fanfare. Industry participants generally pay to have employees or representatives attend. Intel has successfully generated revenues with IDF year after year -- while showing participants how to sell its own products or integrate them better into the customer's products. There are at least a dozen IDF events worldwide throughout the year. IDF is a testament to Intel's clout in the industry.

For SPCR, it's interesting for the plethora of genuinely valuable information, technical education (sometimes way over my head) and marketing that Intel and its partners pack into the three days. Then there is the usual guerilla marketing parallel event AMD runs at a nearby hotel, with limos shuttling willing participants back and forth from the IDF. This year, the limo was less visible, and rumored to be forcibly turned away from close proximity to the Muscone Center West by gun-toting cops. Still, AMD made a mark -- in the skies above San Francisco with several planes spelling out "AMD Turion 64 Mobility", which is their forthcoming dual-core mobile CPU.

There were nearly 120 "sessions" or classroom-type presentations at IDF, along with five large-audience keynote presentations at IDF, as well as the "Technology Showcase" hall of over 280 exhibitors. The question of priorities and focus looms even for a team of journalists covering the event. For a lone writer, it's quite the challenge. I could attend only a handful of sessions in between interviews and meetings. My focus was entirely on issues that impact acoustics in computers; this is another "silencentric" report. However, Intel's main focus was dual-core... everything.


Since shifting gears last year from CPU clock speed as the badge of performance, Intel appears to have been working hard to bring multi-core to market. There was certainly a sense of renewed focus and energy at Intel compared even to last fall's IDF. Dual core technology was everywhere in evidence: Talked about in most of the keynote presentations, covered in probably a dozen sessions, and demonstrated in a large "multi-core zone" in the open lobby of the second floor. There were numerous multi-core PCs on display, working models from Dell, Alienware, and others. Dell actually gave away several dual-core PCs in a draw at the end of the show.

Showing now but selling next year.

A couple of the dual-core Dells given away... not necessarily to this person.

Dual-core Alienware system.

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