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IDF Fall 2003 Update Part II
By CPU-zilla
Category : Events
Published by Jimmy Tang on Saturday, 20th September, 2003

The Digital Home

The home, as we all know it, is the place where we’ll spend most of our time. Although I’ll have to say that some of us do spend more time in the office, these minority are probably not what Louis Burns, the General Manager of the Desktop Platforms Group, is talking about.

Since most people are expected to spend a lot of their time at home, it’s only logical that consumers would spend a large amount of their income to improve their homes. In fact, Burns shared that last year alone in U.S., consumers spent about US$214 billion dollars on home related products and services. It is with this reason that Intel firmly believes that consumers will continue to spend such staggering amounts in building the digital home.

It’s really not so far-fetched to assume that consumers today are willing to invest in products that would help them build the digital home of tomorrow. In fact, we can see many of today's high-tech consumers buying a second or a third PC for their homes, just so that they can turn it into highly customized boxes, whether to be used as a digital entertainment center or a file server. This is one primary reason why HTPCs (Home Theatre PCs) and SFF PCs (Small Form Factor PCs) have increased in popularity this year. This group of products will only grow to become more innovative and better in the near future as they evolve to serve this niche but growing market. However, there is a need for standards that drives interoperability and connectivity of these various devices.

There are three key drivers that will help push the concept of digital home forward :-

  • Ease of use - these devices should be so easy to use that it should just be a matter of plug and play – as with most of today’s consumer electronics devices. Products meant for the digital home should be as simple as operating your VCR or DVD player.
  • Connectivity - since digital content is going to be the medium transmitted and received by these devices, they have to be able to connect with one another so that the delivery of these content to different locations in the home can be made simpler. Standards are also needed here to ensure that any of such device can operate with one another even though it's from other brands.
  • Great experience - premium digital content will make the digital home a great experience as the content can be used around the home, and be shared throughout the home. Imagine receiving high quality movie content from the movie studios on the same day it's being released in the theatres.

    In order to achieve ease of use, connectivity and great experience, all these devices should be able to interoperate with one another. This is where the Digital Home Working Group (DHWG), an open-industry initiative, will play its role to ensure interoperability among home networked devices including PCs, mobile devices, consumer electronics and cell phones. DHWG will complete the technical guidelines by the end of this year and later publish these standards in early 2004. The first set of products will be available in the first half of 2004 and it will include digital content servers as well as rendering devices that allows one to edit still images or home videos.

    Gaming will form a large part of the Digital Home and Intel recognizes that there is a need to address the gaming community with a processor that’s built solely for that purpose. This is where Intel will introduce a new processor for the desktop environment and it will be known as Pentium 4 processor with HT technology Extreme Edition. This processor will be made available to OEMs in the next 30 to 60 days and it comes with an additional 2MB cache. The processor will be introduced at 3.2GHz clock frequency. The extra 2MB cache will be an addition to the 512KB Level 2 cache. This cache (also called the Level 3 cache) will run at full speed, so users can expect pretty good overall performance with applications (and games) that require large memory swapping areas.

    Louis Burns surprised the audience when he announced the availability of the new Pentium 4 HT Extreme Edition.

    Louis Burns demonstrating a Prescott system using an ATI's PCI Express graphics card.

    ATI demonstrating Half Life 2 at their booth using their new RADEON graphics card based on the PCI Express interface.

    ATI's next generation graphics card based on the new PCI Express interface.

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