Intel's top brass endured over seven hours of PowerPoint briefings at the company's annual Investors' Day in Santa Clara, explaining the state of the market and where the company is going over the next five years. Here's the edited highlights so you don't have to endure it.
Firstly, the tone was distinctly upbeat. Intel is expecting double-digit growth for the next five years, and the recession is well and truly over as far as the company is concerned.
Of course, the entire day began with the obligatory statement about the dangers of forward looking statements but, barring another recession, the company is confident.
Intel showed its silicon roadmap up to 2017. The company will have chips in 15nm by 2012, 11nm by 2015 and an 8nm line in 2017. The third generation of High-K and metal gate technology is forecast to produce more improvements in power and leakage reduction.
Intel will ship its next-generation Sandybridge 32nm Xeon chip in the first quarter of 2011, and send samples to manufacturers this year.
The Nehalem replacement combines the graphics controller and memory controller on a single die, and will be transitioned down to 22nm with its Ivybridge successor, and possibly one more after that if there is room for development at 22nm.
"Sandybridge will rock. It's not an evolution product, but a revolution," said an exuberant Mooly Eden, vice president of Intel's client group.
The Sandybridge architecture will be scaled to a broad range of devices, from servers to desktops, laptops and embedded devices. Intel's Turbo Boost technology and Hyper-Threading will also be improved, and each core will be able to run at 1GHz or more on many models.
Manufacturers should not expect too much more in the way of Nehalem this year, Intel said. The company got its announcements out of the way in the first half of the year, and will concentrate most of its efforts on next year.
The future for Itanium, meanwhile, is HP-UX. Intel said that Itanium had carved itself a $4bn (£2.7bn) niche in the server market, explained Kirk Skaugen, vice president of Intel's datacentre group.
"Around 95 per cent of servers using Itanium are running on HP-UX, which won't run on Xeon systems," he said.
Intel will also target RISC systems heavily in the coming year, using Nehalem's performance advantages to create a "$1bn RISC silicon opportunity".
There is also room for growth in the installed base, according to Skaugen, particularly in the small business sector. Around 76 per cent of servers are due for an upgrade from single-core or dual-core chips, he said.
On an organisational note, Intel used the event as a reminder that strictly speaking it no longer has a server group as such, and that servers are now just a part of the new datacentre group. This also includes high-end routing, wired networking and storage.
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