Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vlog: Intel Core i7 Ushering In Era Of Ubiquitous Processing

A confluence of events -- faster processors, 32-nm fab technology, and the ubiquity of computing power -- make this an incredibly exciting time in the chip industry. So I made a video about it. Click through to see my eight minute vlog, where I opine on these trends and also showIntel (NSDQ: INTC)'s new Core i7 processor, the X-25 solid-state drive (SSD) that's taking the PC storage market by storm, and one surprisingly large heat sink.

Since this blog post is mainly an excuse to get you to my vlog video, let me just summarize the high points, which involve both a couple of new product and some philosophical stuff. (I'll dive into the discussion more deeply in an upcoming online column.)

The product stuff revolves around Intel's new Core i7 processor family and its solid-state drive. As I've previously written (see Intel Raises Performance Bar With Nehalem Core i7), the Core i7 line is significant because of the wonderful performance: dollars ratio it delivers to the desktop. (For one thing, I think we're going to see video creation become ubiquitous, since there's no longer any impediment to content creation by the home user. Well, maybe on the software front -- non-linear video editing programs still aren't cheap and require training. But we're headed in the "everyone's a video producer" direction.)

This leads directly into my broader, philosophical point. Namely, what chips like Core i7 spotlight is the trend towards a world where processing power is essentially free to anyone who needs it. (OK, not free, but $290 for a quad-core, 2.66-GHz processor is close.)

For businesses, this frees them from the chains of having to worry about how to afford the computing power they need to be competitive. As well -- and this is the great part -- they no longer have to even buy, manage, and support that computing power themselves. If you want to own your own big-ass desktops and servers, great. But if you'd rather purchase computing power and storage capacity in the cloud, you can do that do.
This second option is available, because nearly free processing power has made the cloud possible, by allowing Google (NSDQ: GOOG) et al to cheaply deploy massive armies of servers of their own.

OK, so I haven't even gotten to the Intel SSD. For that, you'll just have to watch my vlog:

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