Intel Touts Quad Cores, DirecTV, and…Sex

At the Intel Developer Forum being held thhis week in San Francisco, Intel said it plans to being offering quad-core processor chips as early as this November, touted a Viiv-enabled set-top box from DirecTV, and announced a $1 million contest to come up with small, sexy home PC designs.

Keeping up pressure on rival chipmaker AMD—even after the company announced 10,500 job cuts earlier this month—Intel announced it plans to start selling quad-core processors as soon as this November, as much as two months earlier than anticipated by industry watchers and analysts. The first quad-core processor will share the Core 2 Extreme monicker, and will target gamers and content creators, offering as much as a 70 percent performance boost over today’s Core 2 Extreme processors. "The industry is going through the most profound shift in decades, moving to an era where performance and energy efficiency are critical in all market segments and all aspects of computing," Otellini said. "As we move to high definition video, users will need eight times greater performance just for encoding. To that end, in the first quarter of 2007 Intel plans to roll out the Core 2 Quad processor for mainstream users; server customers will see Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 series (for dual-processor servers) later this year, and a new 50-watt Quad-Core Intel Zeon L5310 in early 2007 for blade servers. Intel CEO Paul Otellini extolled his companies forthcoming products, noting the user demands for processing power are increasing swiftly.

"More than ever processing power matters, even as the need to reduce heat, extend battery life, and reduce electricity costs in data centers becomes more critical," said Otellini.

Analysts aren’t sold on the idea that quad-core processors are going to help Intel in its fight against AMD in the short term, since they focus on high end applications and server technologies, and a good deal of AMD’s momentum is on the consumer side of the market. Nonetheless, Intel is pining hopes that its processor advances—and belt-tightening—will let the company recover marketshare lost to AMD in recent years.

Oh, and hey, remember Viiv? Intel’s vague "consumer" brand, having to do with…well, media stuff, and, um, home things, which Intel launched last year? Well, Intel and DirecTV are partnering up, using Viiv technology the create a set-top box with integrated digital media adapter (DMA) technology which will enable users to pipe their music and pictures from their Viiv PC to their television. As if, somehow, this wasn’t possible in a Viiv-less world. It’s taken the companies almost a year to get this far—they made their first public appearance as a couple at last January’s CES—and DirecTV hasn’t actually said when its products will hit the market. But it’s planning a new Viiv-certified DirecTV Plus HD DVR which will be able to record about 200 hours of standard definition video (that’s about 50 hours of HD programming in MPEG-4 format).

And if all that news wasn’t sexy enough, Intel also announced it wants to pay up to $1 million to PC developers and manufacturers to come up with small, stylish, and sexy personal computers for the home. Apparently, the "big biege box" doesn’t appeal to some design and style-conscious lifestyle types, so the Intel Core Processor Challenge will award up to $1 million to the PC designer and manufacturer who creates and builds the smallest and most stylist Viiv PC with Core 2 Duo processors. Intel will give the grand prize winner up to $300,000 to jumpstart production of the winning system, plus $400,000 for co-marketing with Intel. The first-place winner will receive up to $300,000 to help enable the mass production of their system. "Our intent with the Intel Core Processor Challenge is to think outside of the box—think sexy, small and sleek PCs optimized for multimedia entertainment – and we’re putting our money where our mouth is," said Eric Kim, intel’s vp and general manager of the Digital Home Group.

Think it might be a long shot, especially with Apple making Intel boxes these days? Remember: it’s gotta be a Viiv system, and that takes Cupertino out of the equation. So get out your CAD programs.

Product Review

Digital Storm’s Lynx PC appeals to gamers with stylish, upgradeable design

Digital Storm’s Lynx provides an excellent alternative to gamers who don’t want to build their own gaming PCs. Equipped with powerful hardware and space for two graphics cards, the Lynx is a PC that’s capable of growing with your…
Computing

Apple iMac gets more powerful with new Intel CPUs, Radeon Pro graphics

Apple on Tuesday, March 19 refreshed its iMac lineup with new models featuring slightly more powerful Intel processors and new AMD graphics cards. The new 27-inch 5K model comes with options for Intel's six-core or eight-core ninth-gen…
Computing

Intel’s next-gen Comet Lake processors will reportedly arrive with 10 cores

Intel may give its next-generation desktop processor, known by its Comet Lake code name, a maximum of 10 cores, according to code found within the company's Linux drivers. Laptop CPUs will reportedly top out with six cores.
Computing

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.
Computing

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.
Computing

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.
Computing

Netgear’s new Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 router brings Wi-Fi 6 speeds to the masses

Available in May for $600, the Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 router allows for maximum Wi-Fi performance on smart home devices and offers everything needed for gaming, streaming, and other high-bandwidth applications. 
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Computing

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Computing

Old Nvidia graphics cards to get ray tracing support in upcoming driver

Nvidia's RTX ray tracing technology will no longer be limited to RTX graphics cards. An upcoming driver update will add support for low-end ray tracing to GTX 10-series and 16-series graphics cards.
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.