Tag Archives: Intel

Microsoft Releases ‘Faster’ Windows

The brand new Windows 7 operating system (OS) is set to deliver “better battery life and quicker boot times,” according to Microsoft and Intel.

The statement was made during a press conference in San Fransisco, where engineers gave the new OS a stringent test.

Microsoft will be expecting Windows 7 to avoid the negative exposure generated through the release of Windows Vista, and joined Intel in saying they have never worked as closely and have released a product that “they are proud of”.

Mike Angiulo from Microsoft told the BBC, “we both made a larger investment than ever before on the engineer side to improve on the hardware and software.”

Collectively known by some as Wintel, the two companies began the day after Windows Vista was released over two years ago and used hundreds of engineers in the process of development.

Steve Smith, the vice president at Intel’s digital enterprise group “we have spent 20 years getting to know each other and have businesses that are very well aligned.”

Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat, the popular internet technology blog, believed that Windows Vista needed drastic improvement.

He went on to say, “the collaboration was in the name of making Windows 7 better and more bug-free than the January 2007 launch of Windows Vista, which was broadly criticised in the industry and was one of the best advertisements for buying a Mac in history.”

Engineers have looked into the technological advances made by Microsoft and Intel, such as improved energy efficiency, security and performance.

One demonstration involved two identical Lenovo T400 laptops playing the same video, one using the Windows 7 OS and the other using Vista. Microsoft reported that the machine that ran Windows 7 experienced a 20% improvement in power efficiency due to “timer coalescing,” a design that extends battery life by holding the processor in low power states.

Ruston Panabaker, Microsoft’s head programme manager wouldn’t comment on how much battery power Windows 7 would save computers, stating “we’re achieving a very significant amount of battery savings.”

Engineers at Microsoft and Intel believe that end performance was dependant upon how manufacturers configured their machines.

Engineers were capable of boot up a system running Windows 7 in just 11 seconds. Intel’s Mr Smith told that “what we showed today was real capability in actual scenarios.”

CNET’s Ina Fried had reported on Microsoft for over 5 years and felt that this was a hurdle that both Microsoft and Intel needed to cross.

Ms Fried insisted, “in order for the computer users to get the benefit of all this work, it’s down to what choices the PC maker makes. It requires them all to be talking to one another all the time.”

“In the Vista time-frame, we saw not necessarily the kind of communication that leads to happy users and I think they have really tried to address that this time.”

“We will see how far they have really got when we see those Windows systems shipping in October.”

Intel Release Technical Information on ‘Larabee’

Intel have released technical details about its upcoming line of microprocessors with the code-name of ?Larrabee?, in advance of the company?s presentation at the SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interface Techniques) conference, in Los Angeles next week.

The chips will act as a springboard for a many-core x86 chip architecture. Intel says the processors should be on the market around 2009/10.

Larabee will launch an industry-wide effort to design and optimise software for thousands of cores expected to power the computers of the future, according to Intel.

“It’s revolutionary in that it is different from conventional GPU architectures, but evolutionary in that it uses existing (i.e. x86) technology,” said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research, said.

Intel says the technology will offer a ?new approach to the software rendering 3-D pipeline, a many-core programming model, and performance analysis for several applications.?

The architecture behind Larabee was derived from Intel?s Pentium Processor. The new chip adds updates including a wide vector processing unit (VPU), multi-threading, 64-bit extensions and pre-fetching. Each enhancement facilitates a sizable increase in available power.

The processors? architecture supports four execution threads per core, with separate register sets per thread. ?This enables the use of a simple, efficient in-order pipeline while retaining many of the latency-hiding benefits of more complex out-of-order pipelines when running highly parallel applications,? Intel said.

“We have a lot of people trying to position different processing architectures. You’ve got Nvidia trying to position the GPU with CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture), which is basically a programming structure to use it as an accelerator, as a general purpose CPU (central processing unit) or whatever,” Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat, said.

“Basically what Intel is doing is trying to leverage the x86 architecture in a way that it has not been leveraged before, as really kind of a head-end core to a high-end processing element that can be used as a server accelerator, [and] as a graphics accelerator.”

Peddie says some of the industry will just see Larabee as a graphics processing unit (GPU), but he believes the more accurate term for the chip I graphics capable processing unit (GCPU).

“Larrabee is not a GPU in the sense an ATI, Nvidia or S3 chip is a GPU; it is a gang of x86 cores that can do processing, so it is a GCPU — graphics capable processing unit, as are ATI, Nvidia and S3′s chips,” Peddie posted on his firm’s blog.

Intel has already said that Larabee will initially target the personal computer graphics market ? which means gaming machines. These early implementations will focus on discrete graphics applications, supports DirectX and OpenGL, and run existing games and programs.

Intel does however see Larabee as more than just a high-end gaming chip, and believes that the chip, with its native C/C++ programming model, will also have a place in a range of parallel applications, including scientific and engineering software.

?The chip will be optimal for any application that can use a SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) processor – 3D graphics, scientific computing, etc.,” Peddie noted.

The standalone chip will go head-to-head against offerings from Nvidia and AMD’s ATI.

“It will be easier for people to program applications for Larrabee. That’s the value of Larrabee. They’re going after the ultra high-end; stuff that’s going to be doing scientific simulations and stuff like that. They’re really cranking the power up to see what they can do, and then they’ll scale it back to see how it can fit into PCs,” In-Stat’s McGregor said.

Larabee is not aimed for the “heart of Nvidia’s and ATI’s market at this point in time. But obviously if they’re successful and they create a new computing/programming model around this type of architecture, it does go after that,” he explained.