Menu
Intel looks to bring HD video to handheld gadgets

Intel looks to bring HD video to handheld gadgets

Intel is trying to create small chips that can run high-definition video on portable devices, though it could take five to eight years to do so.

Intel researchers are trying to create small, integrated chips that will be able to run high-definition 1080p video on portable devices, though it could take them five to eight years to do so, a senior Intel engineer said Monday.

One of the main issues the researchers have to overcome is that of power leakage in processors, said Shekhar Borkar [CQ], an Intel fellow, during an interview Monday. Intel engineers are trying to reduce that power leakage while also scaling graphics performance on chips to bring richer multimedia content to smartphones and other portable devices.

Intel aims to boost graphics performance by using an on-chip accelerator that will allow multiple streams of graphics data to be processed simultaneously, using a technique called SIMD, or Single Instruction, Multiple Data. Rendering high-definition video is best done using SIMD techniques, Borkar said.

SIMD is already used in some graphics processors and CPUs. For example, Intel used SIMD with the MMX extensions it introduced for its Pentium processor in the 1990s, which allowed that chip to better handle video on desktops.

However, chip circuits that enable SIMD acceleration have high power leakage and don't scale down very well to low voltages, Borkar said. As video gets more popular on handheld devices, with the arrival of applications like mobile TV, engineers need to come up with new ways to manage power.

At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, Intel is presenting a paper about a SIMD accelerator that scales smoothly to ultra-low voltages and has circuits that are up to 8 times more energy efficient than what exists today. The technology could find its way into mobile chips such as Intel's Atom processor in five to eight years, Borkar said.

"There's a lot of recent interest in how to reduce power consumption of SIMD operations so that we can take this technology and use it for really low-power graphics," he said.

Circuits that do SIMD processing today draw 1.1 to 1.2 volts, but Intel thinks it can come up with a design that will offer equal performance and draw only about 300 millivolts, Borkar said.

He hopes to apply the technology to server chips as well, to bring greater power efficiency to high-performance computing.

In some ways Intel is just now getting its feet wet in the market for small portable devices. Last year it introduced its Menlow platform for what it calls mobile Internet devices, which are somewhere between a sub notebook and a cell phone. Handset makers adopting Menlow chips have expressed concerns about their poor battery life, however. The Menlow platform has a set of components, including the low-power processor code-named Silverthorne and the Poulsbo chipset.

Intel hopes to fix Menlow's ills with the Moorestown platform, which will consume up to 10 times less power and is due for release in late 2009 or 2010, according to the company.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments