Eric Kim, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Home Group, talked about the growing trend in digital entertainment and how internet video will revolutionize the way people use their PCs in the future. Kim shared about Intel's strategies surrounding products that would enable new broadcast and broadband-based information and video entertainment experiences.
In order to realize Intel's vision of digital entertainment in the home, Intel will release new chipsets in the second half of the year. The new Intel 3 Series chipsets (codenamed Bearlake) will arrive this quarter. One of the major enhancements include Intel's Clear Video Technology which boosts the performance and quality of HD video while its built-in 3D engine will support Microsoft's DirectX 10 API found in Windows Vista. During the keynote, Kim demonstrated how the latest integrated graphics version of the Intel 3 Series chipset (Intel G35 Express) could easily handle Valve's Half-Life 2 game with greater detail and smoother delivery of framerates. Intel also attempted to dispel any myths about its support for Windows Vista's Aero interface through live on-stage demos.
The new Intel 3 Series chipsets will also support a faster 1333MHz front side bus, PCI Express 2.0 and DDR3 memory support. High-end enthusiast and performance systems will also feature Intel Turbo Memory for faster application loading and boot times. These systems will feature Intel's Robson technology which uses NAND flash memory (as opposed to USB memory sticks) to boost the performance of Windows Vista through its ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive technologies.
For the enthusiasts, Intel will introduce a new "Skulltrail" platform which is targeted for release later this year. Skulltrail is essentially a dual socket platform which lets you install two quad-core processors for an ultimate eight core gaming machine. The platform will also come with four PCI Express slots for advanced graphics. We think Skulltrail is aimed at populating the enthusiast segment which AMD initially made with its '4x4' initiative but failed miserably to deliver anything to the market. Intel's Skulltrail will have better specifications than AMD's 4x4 platform (for now) - at least from what we have gathered so far. The only drawback? Well, we figured that Intel won't be making new product SKUs for Skulltrail and it may be based on their server platform. Thus, you'll be buying expensive server chipsets, Xeon processors and even more expensive FB-DIMM memory. We could not confirm this, so we'll just hope it won't be true as they are simply too costly for end users.