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Interview with Intel Interview with Intel: We sat down with Dan Snyder of Intel and talked a bit about current and upcoming Intel technologies and overclocking.
Date: May 14, 2004
Written By:
CPUs Continued

7. What are the plans for the mobile CPU market in 2004?

We currently have our Centrinos, and you know about that, everybody loves those and all the integrated wireless stuff and everything. We just released our next generation Centrino, which was code named Dothan. That doubles the L2 cache to 2MB, runs at speeds up to 2 GHz and it will also be on a newer 90nm fab process. So that will be a boost for the notebook, so even more performance but still very good battery life.

8. How much longer can we expect the Socket-478 package to be around?

That will be phasing out starting this summer with the Grantsdale/Alderwood launch. Were moving for the new package, the Socket-T. There will be ATX, microATX, BTX, and microBTX.

9. Although overclocking is officially a no-no, we all know it is something that is done. Do you have anything to say about this?

We realize that there's a big market out there and that people are going to do that kind of stuff --and we're not trying to hide it from those guys but we also tell those guys that "hey, what you do is at your own risk." It's just like if you try to take your car that only goes up to 100 mph and drive it 250 mph down the highway and you come to your dealer and you say "well, you know it was going 250 mph, I don't know why the engine blew?"

You don't get a lot of sympathy.

The key thing in terms of the support is that overclocked CPUs are not covered by warranties. We have our processors are locked at their frequency, in terms of their multiplier. People of course are going out there and doing stuff with the voltages and FSB, and we know this but as always "do this at your own risk".

I have a high end system at home and I do a lot of high-end stuff at home but I don't overclock just because, yeah, I know that it could get 5%, but c'mon in reality 60 frames vs. 58 frames per second or one minute encode vs. a minute 4 seconds--is it worth the risk?& I can wait 4 seconds. But I know people do it and feel it's more of a challenge and "how can I get this up as high as I can get it." With our Prescott review samples we sent out, we had guys well above 4 gigahertz overclocking with all kinds of crazy cooling solutions.


1. Granite Bay, hit or miss?

People seemed to be pretty happy about it. It extended technologies into the Pentium 4 platform such as AGP8X and enhanced memory support.

Let's rephrase the first question. When Granite Bay came out, it had a lot of features that a lot of people were excited about. The thing is that when it did come out, it was actually very difficult to buy and one would assume that after Springdale and Canterwoods came out so quickly, it kind of says, "Well you know, I guess Granite Bay just really didn't work out, so here's Springdales for mainstream and Canterwoods for the high end."

Canterwood and Springdale were positioned to mainstream and advanced mainstream users, the Granite Bay SKU was never intended to be a mainstream board-the chipset was designed by our workstation and server guys.

2. What is Intel's stance on motherboard manufacturers "tweaking" Springdales to perform on par (in some cases, faster) with the Canterwood?

It's kind of similar to the overclocking thing, and we have discussed that already. These guys are going to do it. Again, you are "doing it at your own risk". Well, these guys will continue to do it and we talked to the motherboard manufacturers about that and we said "hey guys, this is kind of pushing things out of spec " but these guys want to go for the most performance and really tweak up systems and all.

So again, it's like the CPU overclocking but it's on the motherboard guys, so if someone's board gets fried , the user's going to have to bring it to the motherboard manufacturer's tech support-will they like that? I always think it's so funny how people get so worked up about 1 or 2% in a certain benchmark and then it turns out they have some unneeded DLLs loaded or they're losing 25 to 30% because their hard drive isn't configured right and they don't even know it. I encourage the power users out there to pick their battles wisely! Alderwood will have some of those performance enhancements on technology like Springdale vs. Canterwood so that will still be going there in our next generation chipsets.

3. Has Intel entertained thoughts of dropping chipset development and letting 3rd party developers make chipsets, or should we expect Intel to continue making their own chipsets for awhile?

There is a lot of synergy between our chipset and CPU development, it's so vital in terms of what's going on with the system and it has to be linked so closely into what's going on at a system level.

4. How much influence does Intel have to 3rd party chipset developers? Do you work closely with them, or are they pretty much on their own?

I know we've done a lot of cross licensing.. We do work with them pretty closely because you know, it's a very classic high tech relationship with your competitors but you're also customers because VIA for example, they have got to work with us because they need those CPU samples to do those chipsets. You can't validate those chipsets, you can't design those chipsets unless you know something about the CPU. They are absolutely linked, so we have to work together in some respect and yes, they're competitors but our CPU crew would say, "Hey this is great! They're partners and we're selling more CPUs thanks to these guys, and to our chipset group, it's obvious they're going to say "well, they're a competitor but our stance on competitors is that competition is good for the market and if they do something new and creative, maybe we'll open our eyes and say, "Hey great idea, let's look at implementing it" and vice versa.


1. Is integrated graphics something Intel develops concurrently with their chipsets, or is it an afterthought?

Yeah, absolutely! Our next generation Grantsdale Intel graphics will have a new core that is 2X the performance of our current generation graphics. It also supports Pixel Shaders 2.0 and several other new DirectX 9 technologies. Recently we actually we showed this off and a lot of the press said, "Well you know you've come a long way" and were still not positioning it at the hardcore gamer. Absolutely not! Were positioning it as corporate stable platforms, but remember that 95% of the users out there are mainstream users, you know? We are fully aware that hardcore gamers will be adding the latest ATI or NVIDIA graphics cards for their gaming experience.

Thanks for the time!

No Problem.

Final Words: We'd like to thank Dan for taking the time to answer our inquiries today, and for being so candid in his responses. If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.



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