THE SECOND KEYNOTE of IDF was given by Dadi Perlmutter, and it focused on Sandy Bridge, and the uses that it enables. There is a lot you can do with 2 256-bit AVX vector units for voice, video and other data intensive streams.
What a Z-Depth camera sees
The first demo that was shown was with Gesture Tech, a company that has done a lot of work with cameras and gestures. In the demo above, you can see the side view of what a Z-depth camera sees. Gestures can be recognized in 3D, demonstrated by playing a racing game with only his hands. Steering wheel motions were read by the camera, and the throttle read through hand spacing. It worked, and in case it isn’t obvious, this requires a lot of CPU power.
No, this is not Steve Jobs
Then Adam came out, and he looked resplendent in black and shiny contrasting buttons. [Editor’s note: the author indicates that if this does not make sense you did not attend the event.]
After that, it was on to hardware. For the first time in public, Intel mentioned Ivy Bridge, the 22nm follow up to Sandy Bridge. Don’t tell them that Haswell is the follow up to that one, and the next is known as Rockwell, the follow on to Haswell. Pretend that you are surprised when they mention those names next year.
From there, a few other bits were mentioned. Westmere-EX, the 10 core follow on to Nehalem-EX. If that isn’t enough hardware for you, Dadi also mentioned that there will be 35W and 45W Sandy Bridge SKUs for the desktop. What he didn’t say is that they go up to 95W for mainstream parts, so act surprised when you hear that officially.
Next up was a new marketing term that I am sure you will hear a lot about in the future, “Visibly Smart Computing Solutions”. I sense a nascent marketing campaign in the making based on a new slogan. It will probably be released on or about January 5th.
The last interesting demo from Dadi’s talk was based around AVX, the new vector ISA in Sandy Bridge. Intel claims that Sandy doubles the vector throughput of Westmere, and that chip wasn’t exactly slow.
The demo had 8 separate 1080p video streams all being run through a single Sandy Bridge box at full speed. On top of that, Intel was running some video analytics software. Before Sandy, this could only be done with a discrete DSP, but that market is about to be subsumed by the ever marching CPU.S|A