Intel has high hopes for its Atom
processor platform. Intel believes that the
processors will allow it to tap into nearly
$40B in new markets around the globe.
The current Z5xx
family of Silverthorne-based Atom
processors is indeed impressive given their small 13mm x 14mm package size.
The processors range in speed from 800MHz to 1.86GHz and feature a thermal
design power (TDP) ranging from 0.65 W to 2.4 W.
Intel has actively courted Apple with its new line of Atom
processors -- and its future variants -- for use in a number of Apple products,
namely the iPhone. While Intel's Atom looks impressive on paper, it appears
that the performance-per-watt is still not quite to Apple's liking, hence the
Cupertino-based company's decision to purchase fabless chip company PA Semi.
Apple yesterday confirmed that it purchased microprocessor
design company PA Semi -- a person familiar with the deal said the transaction
was worth $278M. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to
time, and we generally do not comment on our purposes and plans," said
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling to Forbes.
PA Semi was founded in 2003 by Dan Dobberpuhl who was the
lead designer for DEC's Alpha and StrongARM processors. PA Semi is now
best-known for its PWRficient
64-bit multi-core processors which are based on Power Architecture.
Apple's move to have greater control over major components
included in its mobile products could help the company stay out ahead of the
competition with regards to innovation. However, new Apple products using PA
Semi's processors could still be more than a year away so we still have a while
to see how Apple will take advantage of its recent purchase.