Special Report: Blown Away in San Francisco - Cool Stuff at the HP/Intel Worldwide Quad-core Event

Filed: November 7, 2007
By: David Heller

I was privileged to attend HP and Intel's Worldwide Quad-core Event in San Francisco yesterday along with about 50 other press members from around the globe. These types of events are usually, to me any way, just marketing hype ... but this one was different .. it was revolutionary!

HP and Intel have really done something monumental. Last year HP introduced workstations based on Quad-Core Intel® Xeon tm processors and at this event they unveiled their next round of eight-core workstations, the HP xw660 and HP xw8600 powered by the latest generation Quad and Dual-core Intel Xeon processors.

But, what made the event revolutionary was being able to see first hand what customers have done, and how they have saved time and money over the past year using HP's initial Quad-core computers.

My first ‘blown-away' moment came at Monday evening's welcome reception when I got up close and personal with one of the world's fastest, and most stylish cars. This race/street car was built from a kit by racing enthusiast, and Intel employee, David Bordon who told me that he built it in his spare-time over the course of a year and a half, and that it's powered by a heavy duty Detroit V8 that propels it from zero to 60 in around 3 seconds. Varoooooom!!!

The breakthrough news came later when I met with Mike Pisani who designs the auto kits for Factory Five Racing. Mike uses SolidWorks software to model the chassis and body and told me that with HP Quad-core he's been able to reduce his kit design time from two years, down to just one ... essentially he's been able to double his productivity and can now turn out more cool stuff lots faster. The obvious cost savings are truly ‘monumental.'

I didn't think that the crew from Orange County Choppers needed any more power, they top the energy curve already, but since they've started using these new HP/Intel powerhouses their productivity curve has accelerated in sync with their personalities. And, just to show off they rapidly designed and produced too extremely cool choppers for the event. I caught Tom Solomone, HP's MCAD Marketing Manager fondling one of the beasts in the lobby and snapped this photo. Yep, he's born to be free!

Seeing the results of computer modeling in the material mechanical design world was exciting and I wanted to see more.

My next stop was a quick look at the latest, and hottest architectural fly-throughs I've ever seen. Neenan Archistruction treated me to a photo-realistic architectural video tour that began from outer space, zoomed into a high-end project here on earth, and then whizzed me through a virtual community. I learned that they were not only able to speed up the fly-throughs, but that their render and production time has been more than halved since they've adopted the HP/Intel Quad-core processor workstations. Neenan has lots of architectural videos on their web site, so pay them a visit and see what all the buzz is about. If you want to start with an excellent fly-through just surf on over to http://www.neenan.com/projects_health_Detail1.html and check it out.


After flying in from space for my architectural experience I was ready for something more down to earth. And what could be more down to earth than oil and gas exploration. So, I visited with Landmark Halliburton to learn how Quad-core technology has impacted this gigantic industry. Landmark works with oil and gas companies during the exploration phase of the game. After seismically pinging the ground or ocean floor they produce a sophisticated 3d model using their GeoProbe® multi-threaded interpretation and visualization software that profiles, in detail, what's below. I was shown one of their larger works ... a geological profile of the entire North Sea. And, by using Quad-core we were able to spin this multi-layered giant model and zoom in and out as fast as you can with a small mechanical model ... amazing!


With the HP/Intel combo the analysts at Landmark save thousands of hours a year and get the results they need fast, and by using another HP innovation, RGS (Remote Graphics Software), they are able to tap analyst talent from anywhere on the planet since only pixel information is sent over the wire without the data to facilitate real-time collaboration. Landmark equips their HP Intel based Quad-core workstations with dual NVIDIA graphics, high memory (in Giga bites) and multi 30" displays. Some of these exploration projects cost more than $20M and the time savings realized by using HP/Intel's latest machines really pays big dividends.

I rounded out my busy day by seeing a live demo of the latest HP Blade Workstation technology. No more workstations on the desktop, or to bump your knees against below your desk, now the trend in financial institutions, trading-floors, and any where there are lots of people who need lots of computer access and power is the Blade solution. I was shown a small Blade rack which is a highly secure centralized data center, and four LCD displays, which represented the hundreds that could be connected. The HP Blade configuration delivers just the right amount of computing power to each individual user. So, if the user needs Quad power, he or she gets it, if the user only needs word-processing power, he or she get that too, and it's redundantly fail safe to boot. They also showed how massive dynamic graphical data (like that used on a typical trading floor) is delivered using RGS without a hitch. And, again remote access without compromising data is also facilitated.

The day went by quickly and it's time for the final reception. But, before I ride off into the sunset I take a moment to reflect on all the information that I've received and all the cool stuff that I've seen, all made possible by those great people at HP and Intel. One of my passions is creating computer art and animation, and it'd be fascinating to see what rendering and production times are like using these new computers. I look forward to returning to the next event, hopefully next year, to see what other people have done, and how much time and money they've saved using HP's latest and greatest xw6600 and xw8600 Quad-core workstations.



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