by Rob Williams on September 18, 2007 in Intel Developer Forum
Paul Otellini opened up the Fall IDF in San Francisco with a keynote focusing on all upcoming technologies including the 65nm to 45nm process, Penryn and Nehalem, power efficiencies, WiMAX, Havok benefits and more.
Physics or Fizzicks?
Intel shocked the industry last Saturday when they announced the acquisition of Havok, a leader in physics middleware for PC and console gaming. Unlike AGEIA’s PhysX, Havok relies on the CPU entirely, which is a bonus for most gamers since an additional PCI physics is not required.
The benefits of such an acquisition are easy to spot. By acquiring Havok, they have access to the physics leader, which could reap rewards for upcoming technologies, such as the modular Nahalem architecture or Larabee platform. While AGEIA’s PhysX requires a PCI card for all calculation, Havok relies on your systems available cores. This is where Quad-Cores would really shine, and to prove that, Paul invited Josh Resnick, President and Co-Founder of Pandemic studios, to show off Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and what physics can accomplish in gameplay.
If you are not familiar with Mercenaries, it’s a game that allows intense destruction of the environments and objects around the world. It’s obvious how physics could play a huge role in the overall excitement of a scene. Throughout the playthrough, trucks were blown up, as well as buildings. Throughout all of this though, nothing really blew me away. Pun intended. As impressive as everything looked, it didn’t really show off the capabilities of physics, or at least they were not that obviously seen. Maybe with actual playtime of the game, it would be more obvious, but many of the explosions could have well been pre-rendered and I would not have noticed the difference.
That said, I’m sure Quad-Cores will show obvious benefits with physics in the future. More in-depth demos are sure to be on their way. Intel did acquire Havok just within the past week, afterall.
At IDF 2005, Paul made public a goal of lowering idle power consumption by 10x within five years. Today, he boasted the fact that they will hit that goal a full two years early. Impressive. But made more impressive was the fact that he made a new goal to increase efficiency by another 10x by 2010. This would effect all product-types from handtops to servers.
Santa Rosa’s successor was touched on briefly as well. Montevina will be based on the Penryn architecture and when released, notebooks should include capabilities for both high-definition video as well as WiMAX. The system was so early in production, that the “notebook” is what you see below. Quite a few hearty laughs filled the auditorium.
Towards the end of the keynote, Andrew Fanara, Product Specifications Developer Team member of Energy Star was invited to the stage to give thoughts on the progress of Intel’s products. Since energy efficiency is a huge topic lately for various reasons, including global warming, the push is on the hardware vendors to create exceptional products that are very energy efficient. Energy Star released their 4.0 spec in July which addresses many of these new concerns, and upcoming Intel products have already passed these tests.
As anticipated, Paul’s keynote was an exciting look at what’s to come. With so many note-worthy products right around the corner, it’s an exciting time to say the least.
During the press Q&A session following the keynote, Paul was prompted with the question of when Intel would come to market with Triple-Core processors, to which he replied with something to the effect of, “We’d rather release processors with working cores.”
What better way to end an article?