MAX-IT managed to catch Mr. Ryaz Patel, Country Manager, Sales and Marketing at Intel Malaysia to ask him about the company’s recent announcement of several Ultra-Low Voltage processors at the C
MAX-IT: At the recently concluded Computex show in Taipei, Intel's focus seemed to be on the Ultra-Low Voltage segment. This isn't exactly a new market, so why the sudden focus on ULV processors?
Ryaz: Intel has been bringing the capabilities for OEMs to build ultra-thin notebooks as early as 1989. Key is today, we are able to strike a unique balance of performance and power consumption these processors consume less power to platforms, these products offer the best that is incomparable in the market today enable longer battery life, delivering the possible trade-off between space, weight, all in a slim, sleek package and more type of experience consumers expect performance, power and price. Importantly, at mainstream prices. Intel's ultra-low voltage processors are energy-efficient mobile microprocessors
that deliver superior performance and long battery life, enabling a wave of ultra-thin notebook PC designs - many of which will ship this year from PC manufacturers, resellers and integrators around the world. This platform provides improvements on all mobility vectors and unrivalled leadership in mobile performance. New energy-efficient low voltage processors enable sleek form factors less than one inch thick, enhanced visual quality and media, as well as expanded wireless usages with WiMAX and Intel® My WiFi technology options.
Intel's ultra-low voltage processors enable OEMs to design thinner, lighter and sleeker notebooks that are cooler and quieter because fans don't need to run as frequently. These processors have overall lower average power for greater energy efficiency. In combination with other power optimized platform components, these processors consume less power to enable longer battery life, delivering the type of experience consumers expect from Intel-based laptops.
The Atom processor has been tremendously successful, but is the performance and power consumption gap between the Atom and the Core 2 Duo processors so great that there's now a demand for ULV processors?
Ryaz: Intel does not compare performance across segments given the usage models and value propositions are different across segments. The Intel ultra-low voltage processors are designed for ultra-thin notebooks, consume less power to enable longer battery life and deliver the type of
experience consumers expect from Intelbased laptops. Intel® AtomTM processors are targeted for the netbook segment, providing users a good experience for content consumption and online usages. The new ultra-thin notebooks have similar performance of standard size notebooks and better performance than netbooks and are available at a variety of price points targeted for mainstream consumers. For those users particularly interested in thin and light computing platforms, these products offer the best possible tradeoff between space, weight, performance, power and price.
With all the concern about the environment, how much of a difference will ULV processor make, since the processor is but one component. The motherboard chipset, WiFi mini-card, etc. also play a part in power consumption. Why focus only on the processor?
Ryaz: The CPU and chipset together feature a 58% package area and 68% volume reduction (package area plus z-height reduction) compared to the standard package CPU and chipset and the processors and graphics are low power, enabling richly configured thin and light notebooks with amazing performance.
One of the most commonly asked questions is: how come battery technology hasn't evolved much? Intel has done its part to lower the power consumption of its notebook platform but there's hardly anything done to improve batteries. Why is that so?
Ryaz: The overall component average power for ultra-thin notebooks is much lower than that for thin and light notebooks, which greatly benefits battery life. Intel components including the processor and chipset, along with the additional platform components Intel does not own like screen size (14" vs. 12"), battery size (35WHr vs. 55 WHr), etc, will determine the actual battery life of the specific notebook. However, Intel estimates that battery life ranging from 6 Hrs (with 35WHr battery) to 8Hrs (with 55WHr battery) could be achievable in some system configurations. Specifics are still under analysis and our standard benchmarking tests are work in progress.
With the majority of systems now sold being in the form of notebooks, will PCs become a niche market product? What is your personal view of the computing landscape in say, five year's time?
Ryaz: Intel foresees the move to stylish energy efficient desktops that don't give up on performance. IDC estimates that 35% of worldwide desktop PC TAM in 2009 will be driven by small form factor (SFF), ultra small form factor (uSFF), tiny, and all-in-one designs. In addition, 25% of Intel boards worldwide are shipped today on the mini-ITX form factor, supporting the trend in the desktop market to go smaller. Intel also is working with the display industry to bring more "all-in-one" form factors to market. The worldwide desktop market is moving from one high-volume market model to four distinct evolving segments. Corporate - This market has a focus on productivity, manageability, and security
Nettops - Cost-effective Internet access
Lifestyle and Small Form Factor (SFF)
- Stylish, media orientated, and energy efficient
Enthusiast - High performance for great gaming and media creation. Larger enclosures are often used for expandability. Some adventurous users
even like to overclock and tune their systems for even higher performance.
Solid State Discs will no doubt lower power consumption further, but at the moment, their cost is prohibitively high. Intel had had great plans to make SSDs more widely available, but consumers have yet to see the results. Why the delay?
Ryaz: The Intel SSDs give computer buyers a new level of system responsiveness in a lightweight, rugged, low-power package that can replace traditional hard disk drives. Intel's SSD products remove performance bottlenecks associated with traditional hard disk drives to unleash the full performance of Intel Xeon processor-based systems. By reducing the total infrastructure, cooling and energy costs, SSDs can lower total cost of ownership for enterprise applications by more than five times.
The Core 2 Solo processor has a thermal design power (TDP) close to that of Atom chips. Do you see the Core 2 Solo somehow replacing the Atom at some point in the future?
Ryaz: Intel does not compare performance across segments given the usage models and value propositions are completely different across segments - but compares brands within the segment.
There is a general perception amongst consumers that the integrated graphics on Intel's Centrino2 platform is its Achilles' heel; what is being done to address this?
Ryaz: Integrated graphics deliver outstanding graphics performance while providing extended battery life, balancing performance and power for a fantastic mobile computing experience. The new Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD is Intel's latest integrated graphics engine powering the Centrino2 platform. It features ten fully programmable graphics cores and the software drivers enabling a Windows Vista Premium experience including Aero. Moreover, with DVMT 4.0 increasing dynamically allocated video memory up to 384MB and a 640 MHz graphics frequency core, Intel® GMA 4500MHD delivers up to 1.85x integrated graphics performance gains over GMA X3100, as measured by 3DMark'06.
WiMAX adoption in Malaysia has been relatively slow, with many problems plaguing the providers (coverage, signal quality, etc.). Is Intel satisfied with the current situation? What is it doing to ensure WiMAX's success?
Ryaz: Intel is committed to accelerate the adoption of WiMAX in Malaysia. We are working together closely with Packet One, the country's first WiMAX licensee to roll out WiMAX broadband service. More than a billion people play, connect, are productive and stay informed on the Internet - virtually living their lives on the PC. WiMAX changes the way people experience communications and enables new freedom in mobile information, interaction, user-generated content and social networking. It offers the possibility of having the Internet, e-mail, online multimedia, live video conferencing, mobile TV, music downloads - practically any data-intensive application - delivered on-the-go at high speed and low cost. Intel's processor technologies such as the Intel® Centrino 2® processor technology for notebooks and Intel® AtomTM processor for netbooks will enhance the use of WiMAX services and demonstrate the expansive usage model that consumers can experience when they are accessing the Internet on the go using their Intelbased mobile computing devices. MAX-IT