Intel Circus Hits Town Complete With Sandy Bridge Ringmaster

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A quick flip from CES in Las Vegas to Sydney was all in a day’s work for Mooly Eden, Intel’s Sandy Bridge Circus ringmaster who last night put on a show of his own at Sydney’s Luna Park.
In what might well have been the liveliest show in town during Sydney’s Art Festival the action last night came not at the Opera House or the Spiegeltent, but at Luna Park where Intel Australia introduced its new quad-core Sandy Bridge processors, more formally known as the 2nd Generation Core Processor family.

And centre of attraction, holding a large audience pretty well spellbound, was Intel’s ringmaster extraordinaire, Mooly Eden – vice president of Intel’s PC client group and its No 1 presenter worldwide, the wickedest, most entertaining and most informative in the business.

Dressed in his trademark outfit – jeans, black tee shirt, black coat and black Kangol cap worn backwards – Mooly (who is on his first trip to Australia) had a vast range of notebooks and all-in-ones turning virtual cartwheels and dancing to his tune, as he extolled the virtues of the new processors.

Thanks to 32nm technology, Sandy Bridge crams 1.6 billion transistors onto a sliver of silicon, and includes media and integrated graphics. There are i3, i5 and i7 versions. The resulting performance specially on anything involving graphics or video, is stunningly fast – 831 times faster on Excel, 333 percent faster on Photodex slide shows, Mooly claimed.

 

He stunned the audience – journalists, retailers, partners – with a display of Sandy Bridge-based avatar technology, in one case producing an eerily lifelike, speaking avatar of himself.

Want to correct some red-eye in your photos? Mooly showed a Sandy Bridge laptop correcting not one but dozens of photos simultaneously. Lightroom effects get rid of wrinkles and skin blemishes in a second or two: “digital Botox,” enthused Mooly.

Sandy Bridge’s Quick Sync Video near-instantly transcodes video from one format to another – from an iPhone to a laptop in a few seconds.

Best of show might have been a glimpse of Intel Insider: technology that enables movie studios to stream first-release encrypted HD movies to your laptop. Users can then beam the movie wirelessly to a big-screen HD telly using Intel’s “Wi-Di” technology.

The Insider service commences in the US this year, with several major studios including Warner, Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox on board. Australia, alas, must wait until deals can be put in place with local distributors, Mooly explained.

Insider was contested by many journalists as part of a potentially invasive technology, alongside the anti-theft capabilities locked inside of Sandy Bridge processors. With Insider, Intel and film distributors work together to stream movies over a secured network to computers that it detects are fitted with a Sandy Bridge chip. Mooly stressed that neither he nor Intel were not looking to spy on their customers and that its only efforts were in facilitate that secure network.

A similar question arose from the anti-theft capabilities that allow Intel to shut down a processor remotely via an Internet connection or SMS “suicide pill” if the computer is reported stolen. A clever invention to some and potential chip-monitoring to others.

 

Intel predicts that PCs in the near future will use hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state drives (SDD) in unison.

Mooly alluded to the idea of using a HDD as typical storage on a computer, while having a separate SDD that can be used as a separate cache for commonly used applications, almost in the way that RAM works on a computer to speed everything up.

This was part of a growing Intel trend to work toward pushing for enhanced speed with energy efficiency.

Intel seems poised to roll over the processor market, pushing out competition like AMD by eliminating the need for graphics cards by integrating it into its latest chip hardware. On display was World of Warcraft played with and without a graphics card, showing similar performance. According to Mooly, 40 percent of all GPUs on the market are slower than the Sandy Bridge processor’s graphics capability.

Intel’s move into movies with Insider that would necessitate all users to possess a Sandy Bridge chip seems to also be part of that strategy.

More than 500 laptop and desktop models using Sandy Bridge are expected from major makers this year. A promising number were on show at Luna Park. – David Frith & Matthew Lentini

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