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Intel's PC chief talks about 5G, changes in chip design

Agam Shah | March 10, 2017
Intel's Venkata Renduchintala talks about 5G and 8th Generation Core chips

IDG News Service: Do the cloud providers understand the implications of 5G?

Renduchintala: It's difficult to actually see. It's only when you really stand back and look at the totality of what's changing you'll actually understand how profound it is. They're no longer going to say, I build five or six mega data centers and stuff. Let's say, for example, Google wants to build out a network that is supporting self-driving cars. I don't think its network architecture is going to look anything that it looks like today, where its main service is essentially providing things like Google Drive and offsite data storage and retrieval. It could be a completely different architecture.

IDG News Service: You are developing modems a lot quicker. Why is that?

Renduchintala: The cadence is not set by Intel. The cadence is set by the market. You're going to have to have an upgrade of a modem every year. There's a big transition coming along probably in around the late 2018/2019 timeframe where instead of incrementally evolving LTE, you are going to flip to your first multimode LTE/5G. And then you get to this big disruption and then get a big stride in incremental improvement thereon. And then over time, it becomes less and less discernable to the end user. To me, this is like the classic period of a modem upgrade followed by a rapid improvement on the very first generation device and then the ability to get more and more improvement becomes diminishing returns over time.

IDG News Service: With 5G supposedly around the corner, how valuable is gigabit LTE?

Renduchintala: There's nothing innovative in gigabit LTE -- all you are doing is, instead of aggregating two carriers, I'm aggregating four carriers over a wider bandwidth. That means bigger memory, bigger chipsets, more power -- there's nothing technically mind-blowing. It's just arithmetic extension -- if I want to get a gigabit per second, I have five carrier aggregation across 100 megabits of contiguous bandwidth and therefore I get more data. With LTE, you're really getting to a point where we have to basically go towards both spectrum efficiency gains as well as better data resiliency and service security. That's going to be truly profound.

IDG News Service: At Intel's recent analyst conference, you mentioned 8th Generation Core chips coming out on the 14-nm process, while Cannonlake is around the corner. Why the change in chip development plans?

Renduchintala: What we're moving towards is a model where people can expect from Intel a yearly cadence of platform upgrade that actually gives meaningful performance improvements in the generation that preceded it. For example, Skylake to Kaby Lake was about 15 percent in overall system performance improvement. What we said is we will deliver at least 15 percent improvement from 7th Generation to 8th Generation.


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