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Hot! IDF Spring 2003: end of the second day

More information from Alexander Medvedev aka Unclesam, our IDF 2003 reporter.

So, the second day dedicated to various client platforms (PDA, notebooks and desktops) came to its end.

Tomorrow we’ll be presented servers and storage systems. Surprises expected. Let’s try to foresee them.

Without a doubt, they’ll announce more details about Potomac and Nocona processors, most of which we’ve mentioned already. Most likely, two versions of Potomac are initially planned for release: featuring 2Mb and 4Mb cache. They’ll surely pull out companion chipsets: in 2004 we should see Lindenhurst for dual-CPU Nocona systems and Twincastle for 4-processor Potomac systems.

Both will support dual-channel DDR (along with DDR II) and 667MHz FSB. Both will feature PCI Express as all-component interconnect. PCI Express —> PCI/PCI-X bridge will also provide backward compatibility.

More on PCI Express. It is really a key tech to become a sign of the decade similar to PCI that marked the previous one (the industry first tried it in 1992, if I remember this right). Moreover, some words on Newcard.

Newcard is a codename for a new peripheral standard to replace PCMCA/CardBus. I’ll try to shoot a couple of images of it later and now I can say it’s a bit smaller and "squarer" than PCMCIA. The company found a nice way of forming full and halved design – equal in height, the latter is an actual half of the former. So, you can insert either one full-sized card, or two halved cards in a slot.

Newcard includes PCI Express (original version, as this bus is enough suited for hot swap and mobile appliances) and SMBus for management and USB 2.0 for usual peripherals.

The size of a halved card is about the size of a Mini PCI module in a case – another bonus for unification and production comfort. Of course, Mini PCI Express modules are also planned for installing notebook options (like wireless networking controllers and modems) in a usual or a unified way. Due to its serial burst architecture PCI Express can be used in a wider gamma of devices than older PCI. For example, in routers and other comms. Another plus is a possibility to expand its protocol stack for more features (there are two levels in a standard version).

According to Michael Fister, General Manager, Enterprise Platforms Group, and Pentium / Pentium II co-founder, "This bus is better, faster and more comfortable and flexible, higher-performance and cheaper in total. It’s so strangely good so I can’t even think of a single reason not to use it". :-)

We’ll describe PCI Express and Newcard later, they are just bound to be present in the market for years.

To be continued...

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