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Intel has been insisting all along that the new transistor manufacturing methods used to create the Penryn family of 45nm products are resulting in much more than just a die shrink. And when Intel CEO Paul Otellini says, "It's not an exaggeration to say that we were heading toward a premature end to Moore's Law" before implementing the high-k metal gate in its transistors, you have to believe they're pretty serious about that claim.
In this interview conducted via e-mail, Otellini talks to ChannelWeb about surprising performance-per-watt gains from its new hafnium transistors, the future of mobile and ultra-mobile devices, and of course, all the big issues that affect Intel's channel.
The early returns on Intel's Penryn products show performance-per-watt that, frankly, seems to be surprising quite a few people who maybe didn't think a die shrink could get such results. You had said as much in your keynote at IDF, but now that partners have the 45nm gear in hand for benchmarking, are you expecting a real surge in buzz around these products?
I'm not sure everyone has paused to think about the impact of our reinvented transistors. It's not an exaggeration to say that we were heading toward a premature end to Moore's Law and thus the pace of innovation everyone has come to expect from Intel and our high-tech industry. So now we have transistors that save even more on energy efficiency, and on top of that a 45 nanometer process shrink. What does this mean? New processors that have 250 million more transistors and yet are 25 percent smaller than today's version and don't require more electricity to run. So, more performance and great energy efficiency. Yes, we sold a record number of processors in the third quarter and there are a lot of accolades and interest in these new products, but we still need to stay focused on delivering upon our promises and remaining an execution machine, because every customer, every day, has a choice in what products to use.
Intel has been getting across-the-board kudos from the channel for its vPro and Centrino Pro platforms. Managed service providers in particular are encouraging their business customers to refresh with that hardware. The latest version of vPro has some cool new tools and beefed-up security, but can you give us a taste of what's on the roadmap for future editions of these platforms? And what other plans does Intel have for helping the reseller channel make that crucial leap from straight sales to recurring-revenue services?
It's great to hear that kind of feedback, thanks for sharing it. The beauty of relentlessly chasing Moore's Law is that we keep expanding processor real-estate even though our products are getting smaller. So with that real estate, the channel should expect even more enhancements or new technologies like security and PC management built right into our processors and chipsets. For example, Danbury technology next year will make data encryption stronger and deployable. The reason managed service providers are endorsing vPro is because it allows them to remotely manage and repair the PCs of their business customers -- so they are essentially the IT support for the business. All of this brings incremental service opportunities to the channel, and it's not just in the business arena. Look what's happening at home with the explosion of digital entertainment and TVs becoming PCs and visa versa. Think about those opportunities for innovative channel members, as well.