Intel shows Banias, desktop hyper-threading

Several product announcements dominated the first day of the Intel Developer Forum Monday, as Intel Corp. demonstrated its new Banias mobile processors, announced that its desktop processors will soon feature its hyper-threading technology, and showed examples of servers powered by Madison, an upcoming server chip.

The company also announced a new security initiative called LaGrande, which aims to secure the physical data interconnects inside a PC using future generations of Intel chips.

The overriding theme of the opening remarks was the trend towards convergence between computing and communications devices, and the role microprocessors can play in enabling new mobile designs. While desktop PC sales will continue to grow in emerging markets like India and China due to their low cost, in more saturated markets like the U.S. mobile holds the key for future growth, said Paul Otellini, president and chief operating officer of Intel.

Intel wants to create processors that allow developers to write applications for Intel desktops and then port them to notebooks or personal digital assistants (PDAs) without having to rewrite significant amounts of code, he said.

"Our ultimate goal is to ... bring computing to everyone, anytime, anyplace in the world," Otellini said.

Two users, one with a Banias notebook and one without, demonstrated some of the capabilities of the processor. Banias is a processor designed specifically for notebooks by Intel, which sought to create an entire chip subsystem tailored to mobile users.

Improved power management features, integrated wireless technologies such as 802.11a and 802.11b and support for media technologies that should allow a user to stream live television over a Banias-equipped notebook were offered as examples of how Banias could benefit both business and home users.

Also Monday, Intel said it will use its performance boosting hyper-threading technology in desktop processors, starting with a 3.06GHz Pentium 4 processor due out in the fourth quarter. Hyper-threading allows software written with multiple threads to run those threads on one processor simultaneously, approximating dual-processor performance. It's not quite that fast, however, since a single processor has only one cache and one connection to the rest of the computer.

Hyper-threading will allow for a 25 percent increase in performance for both consumer and business applications, according to Intel. Two systems, one using a 3.06GHz hyper-threading chip and one a regular 3.06GHz chip, were demonstrated running popular applications. The demonstration appeared to show improvements running macros in Microsoft Excel, scanning for viruses and playing digital video.

The LaGrande initiative will coexist with existing security initiatives such as Microsoft Corp.'s Palladium to create a more secure computing environment, Otellini said. It will secure the physical pathways that transport data on a computer's motherboard, and will be available for both servers and desktops. The technology will take until at least next year to come to market, however, probably with the next generation of Intel's desktop Pentium processors.

Intel's third generation server processor, codenamed Madison, was also discussed by Otellini. Madison is scheduled to be released next year to supplement sales of Itanium 2, Intel's current 64-bit server chip. Demonstrations of the chip took place on the convention center floor, with products from server makers NEC Corp. and Unisys Corp. upgraded to the Madison chip while running, a practice known as "hot-swapping."

Intel also reiterated its commitment to increasing the raw clock speed of its chips, showing attendees an experiment in which a Pentium 4 chip was pushed to 4.7GHz before crashing the system.

In a question and answer session with reporters after his speech, however, Otellini acknowledged that clock speed is only one measure of chip performance. Intel traditionally has marketed its chips by their clock speeds, but Banias is widely expected to run at slower clock speeds than existing mobile Pentium 4-M processors while still providing better performance.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Krazit

PC World
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?