Rattner wraps up IDF with a next-gen tech preview
By Darien Graham-Smith in San Francisco
Posted on 13 Sep 2012 at 21:37
Intel CTO Justin Rattner has closed the 2012 Intel Developer Forum with a demonstration of several new technologies that we can expect to see in coming generations of computing devices.
Rattner – wearing radio-controlled bunny ears for reasons not satisfactorily explained – began with a demonstration of a project visualised a decade ago by then-CTO Pat Gelsinger to integrate radio capabilities directly into processors. Rattner explained that the project had been an extraordinary challenge partly for reasons of scale: “Analogue performance actually gets worse as the transistors get smaller,” he explained. “It’s much better at 100nm than it is at 10nm.”
Research leader Yorgos Palaskas was then welcomed on stage to present the world’s first wholly digital radio unit – dubbed the “Moore’s Law radio” – representing a new approach that will enable future wireless devices to be smaller, cheaper and more power efficient.
A prototype design named Rosepoint integrates two Atom processor cores and a functioning Wi-Fi transceiver onto a single chip.
To demonstrate the potential, Palaskas introduced a prototype system-on-a-chip design named Rosepoint which integrates two Atom processor cores and a functioning Wi-Fi transceiver onto a single chip.
“We’ve implemented this on a 32nm process,” Palaskas explained. “We already have power efficiency on par with best analogue designs – and this will shrink when other radios won’t.”
Faster wireless with WiGig
The next technology to be introduced was WiGig – a gigabit wireless connection currently being developed by the industry-wide Wireless Gigabit Alliance.
Alliance president Ali Sadri explained that WiGig aims to provide not merely a conventional network link but also a general-purpose wireless connection for peripherals. He demonstrated a completely wire-free laptop streaming video from a WiGig-connected external hard disk – and displaying it wirelessly on a WiGig monitor.
WiGig operates at a much higher frequency than current wireless technologies, using a 60GHz signal to minimise interference. Though Sadri wouldn’t promise launch dates for WiGig products, he suggested the technology was little more than a year away: “Hopefully right after certification, mid-next year, we will see more and more devices in the market,” he predicted.
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