Chipmakers to showcase new technologies to speed up processing at consumer fair

Chipmakers are set to deliver a quantum leap in the technology that powers laptop and desktop computers although the extent to which the new technology would benefit consumers and chip companies remains to be seen.
The design trend that is expected to be unveiled by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices at the Consumer Electronics Show early next month, will bring together two product classes that have remained separate: microprocessors, the calculating engines that run most PC software; and graphics processing units, which render images in videogames and other programmes.

When the two technologies are placed on a single piece of silicon, it cuts the distance for two electrical signals to travel speeding up some computing chores. In a direct spin-off, it also reduces the number of components computer makers need to buy, lowering production costs and helping to shrink the size of computers.

With such integrated chips, even low-priced systems would be able to carry out the tasks required for playing high-definition movies and videogames and quicken the pace of conversion of video and audio files to different formats.

This would save hundreds of dollars on components, say experts.

According to Paul Otellini, Intel's chief executive who was speaking at an investor conference earlier this month, the approach would change the way people build PCs and buy PCs.

However, the benefits would lend themselves for quantification in terms of savings, only after the CES show when computer makers are expected to disclose their plans for using the technology. Some industry executives believe that many PC users would continue to look for even better performance by picking systems with separate graphics-processing-unit chips.