At Intel's Pre-CES briefing today, execs discussed a new super-small solid state drive, WiMax-capable devices, and 45nm Penryn chips in everything from UMPCs to television sets to slender desktop all-in-ones from your favorite computer makers. Here's the rundown:
• In January, Intel will introduce what they claim is the smallest SSD in the industry. Officially named the Z-P140 PATA SSD, the drive holds 2GB or 4GB and is 12x18x8mm (about the size of a penny if you couldn't tell from the pic), and 0.6 grams. The Z-P140 can act as a controller for compatible NAND memory, which means these drives are expandable to 16GB. Intel says that this new style of SSD should be showing up soon in several UMPCs and other mobile internet devices from companies such as Asus, BenQ, Clarion, Lenovo and more.
• Intel will also bring WiMax and other wireless connectivity options to these devices. A WiMax/Wi-Fi combo chip, code-named Echo Peak, will also come to market in 2008. Of the 25 devices in the mobile computing category planned for next year, Intel says that 20% will have WiMax, 60% will have 3G and 40% will have GPS. 100% will of course support both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
• For desktop users, processor capacity and hi-def performance will see major enhancements in 2008. "Skulltrail", a new dual-processor based platform, will enable high-end and professional computer users to run dual quad-core Core 2 Extreme processors for a massive 8-core performance, for gamers and other hardcore users. In addition, a new feature called HD Boost is an instruction set that will provide faster video encoding/decoding, 3D rendering and photo editing.
• Consumer electronics such as set-top boxes and digital televisions will also get a boost from "Canmore", a "system-on-a-chip" that combines 1GHz processing core with A/V processing and graphics and I/O components onto a single chip. Intel sees increased internet connectivity in these types of devices, and cited examples such as playing video games over your cable box as possible implementations.
• Santa Rosa Refresh, an updated version of the Centrino processor, is a 45nm Penryn chip with better graphics capabilities. The Refresh will be offered in notebooks and desktops and is geared to improving the quality of HD DVD and Blu-ray, among other graphic intensive applications.
• Finally, Intel says that the Gateway One and Dell XPS All-In-One will get the Penryn boost next year, and I was also told that they are "talking to Apple."