Intel will release new technology that improves data transfer between clients and server-based applications at its developer forum at the start of March.

Intel I/O Acceleration Technology (read a more in-depth explanation of the technology) is the latest addition to Intel's new strategy of adding features designed to improve ease-of-use rather than just focusing on small increases in raw performance.

Increasing the performance of its server chips certainly helps application performance, but a crucial bottleneck in how TCP/IP data was moving from clients to server applications was causing many IT managers to see smaller improvements in performance than they expected, said Stephen Chenoweth, a marketing manager with Intel's Digital Enterprise Group.

The I/O Acceleration Technology includes software enhancements to the TCP/IP stack and new network controllers, Chenoweth said. The combination of those technologies allows the processor to take on more of the I/O tasks when it would have otherwise sat idle waiting for the network controller to move data along. Intel server processors and chipsets with the technology will be available in 2006.

The new I/O technology is just one of the forthcoming technologies that Intel plans to reveal at the two-day IDF event starting 1 March. Over 5,000 hardware developers, analysts and media from around the world will attend the conference, said Frank Spindler, VP of technology programs at Intel.

Craig Barrett will give his last keynote address as CEO before current president and COO Paul Otellini takes over in May. Barrett will kick off the show with an overview of Intel's shift away from a product development strategy based on clock speed.

Technologies such as I/O Acceleration Technology, VT (Vanderpool Technology) for server and PC virtualization, and LT (LaGrande Technology) for security are the backbone of Intel's new focus on the "platform", or a collection of technologies designed in conjunction for specific requirement. The success that the company has had selling Centrino, a combination of power management technologies for notebooks, has spurred it to adopt that strategy across all its product categories.

The new approach has also led to organisational upheaval with the formation of new operating groups such as the Digital Enterprise Group, the Digital Home Group and the Mobility Group in January. Executives from all three of those organisations will give keynote addresses outlining some of their upcoming products.

Another historic shift, this one from single-core to multi-core processors, will be a highlight of the upcoming show. In 2004, Intel outlined its plans to develop multi-core processors, and the company is expected to demonstrate servers, desktops and notebooks featuring multicore processors, said Kevin Krewell, editor in chief of The Microprocessor Report.

Many details about the Smithfield dual-core desktop chips and Yonah dual-core notebook chips have already been made available, but Intel will be more specific about some of the benefits of those products, Spindler said. Smithfield processors are expected in the second quarter, and Yonah processors in early 2006. The dual-core Montecito Itanium 2 server processor will also launch in 2005.

Barrett and Intel Labs' new director Justin Rattner will also discuss Intel's upcoming shift to the 65 nanometer processing technology in late 2005 and early 2006, as well as future plans for dealing with the problems of shrinking transistors as they approach the molecular level, Spindler said.