backtop


Print 14 comment(s) - last by ray23.. on Sep 11 at 4:04 PM


  (Source: Paramount TV)
x86 sets its aim on super low power applications

For those wondering, about whether Intel Corp.'s (INTC) new Quark chip might use an an instruction set from ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) or MIPS (a recent acquisition of Imagination Technologies Group Plc (LON:IMG)), wonder no longer.

I spoke with several Intel executives and PR people and together they dug up some more information on the processor for me.  It's a 32-bit design, and features a standard Pentium compatible (i.e. x86) instruction set.  

EETimes corroborates this information, reportedly hearing it from Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich himself.  That report also reveals that the chip shown at the morning press keynote was a 32 nm design, a die shrink up from Intel's current 22 nm node.

SoC in hand
Samples of the Quark X1000 ship to partners in Q4 2013.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Some have questioned how Intel could get a 32-bit Atom processor scaled down enough to fit on 1/5th the die size and 1/10th the.  I don't really see how it's that unfathomable.

Let's look at Intel's Atom die, circa April 2008 (Silverthorne, 45 nm):

Atom die shot
A die shot of Intel Atom Silverthorne [Image Source: Intel Confidential via AnandTech]

Remember many small microcontrollers have no cache.  

Take away that healthy chunk of L2 cache and perhaps the L1 cache associated with the memory execution cluster (MEC) and the front-end cluster (FEC), as well and you eliminate perhaps half the die.  Eliminate one of the two I/O buses and you get even closer.  Cut out an ALU from the floating-point cluster (FPC) and integer (arithmetic) processing clusters (IPCs) (Atom chips have at least 2 ALUs per cluster) and you're pretty much there, albeit at the expense of sacrificing multithreading.

Intel Atom to Quark

But then again, cutting ALUs or I/O may be unnecessary as Intel may be comparing a GPU-less Quark's die-size to a recent Atom, most of which pack GPUs.

The lighter chip should inherently use a great deal less power.  Cut the clock down from the 1+ GHz Atoms run at to perhaps 500 or 600 MHz and you're likely at 1/10th power consumption.


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

32-bit?
By sidneytee on 9/11/2013 12:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
You mean Intel didn't go 64-bit like Apple?

Wow, I guess Intel really haven't got a clue.

/s




RE: 32-bit?
By Motoman on 9/11/2013 1:58:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and it only comes in one color. WTF?


RE: 32-bit?
By OLd SNeaKy on 9/11/2013 3:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well that 32-bit architecture can run a full version of Windows 8 with 4GB of ram memory. It can handle terrabyte storage. It has an incredible library of available applications. It can run a desktop and laptop class OS. Will the iPhone merge with or replace OSX anytime soon? We've had tiny handheld pc's before but they just weren't ready for primetime due to hot and sluggish hardware. Going forward this will not be an issue. Also it's the about the ARM 64 vs Intel x86 showdown. Intel makes 64-bit cpus for desktops and notebooks. Is an x64 smartphone cpu in the works? It would allow for more addressable memory...


RE: 32-bit?
By Motoman on 9/11/2013 3:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
^ and this is why we can't have nice things.

And have to tag blatantly sarcastic posts with "/s" - which people still miss.

Do they actually still teach English skills in school anymore?


New core
By milli on 9/11/2013 4:56:30 AM , Rating: 2
Intel already stated that this is a new core. Your theory of a cut Atom was a waste of time.




RE: New core
By phatboye on 9/11/2013 5:12:24 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think the point of this article was to show how quark is a stripped down version of the atom architecture. I think the point the author was trying to make was to show how it is possible to fit a low power core inside of a small profile chip by comparing it to the atom architecture.


RE: New core
By JasonMick (blog) on 9/11/2013 9:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think the point of this article was to show how quark is a stripped down version of the atom architecture. I think the point the author was trying to make was to show how it is possible to fit a low power core inside of a small profile chip by comparing it to the atom architecture.
Exactly... Core and Atom share some common unit, even (e.g. the FPC, IPC), despite being different designs.

I was talking about simply whether it was feasible to get a functional x86 CPU with its basic building blocks down to 1/5th the size of atom... to the above op: sorry if I confused you.

I did say in the original piece:
quote:
The new Intel chips join the Core and Atom brands, as a fourth major family of consumer chips. Intel is aiming them at wearables, consumer appliances, biomonitoring devices. Reference boards will be available to partners in Q4 2013.
So I thought that was sufficient to imply that this was a new architecture. :)


slow?
By phatboye on 9/11/2013 2:46:48 AM , Rating: 1
Seeing how slow atom is I don't have high hopes for this new Quark arch which will probably be much slower than atom.




RE: slow?
By Jeffk464 on 9/11/2013 10:46:26 AM , Rating: 2
My understanding is that its not designed to compete in mobile computing. I think its suppose to be used in appliance type stuff, say your wired refrigerator.


RE: slow?
By Jeffk464 on 9/11/2013 10:52:31 AM , Rating: 2
"Atoms are aimed at tablets and smartphones, Quark will be for devices with even lower-power requirements, such as smartwatches, glasses and medical devices that can be worn about the body" quoting fudzilla - who is quoting intel


hmm
By Bubbacub on 9/11/2013 5:44:39 AM , Rating: 2
"But then again, cutting ALUs or I/O may be unnecessary as Intel may be comparing a GPU-less Quark's die-size to a recent Atom, most of which pack GPUs."

its a system on a chip - given the targetted power profile this is the kind thing that could go in a phone - its pretty likely that its going to have a gpu

regards to performance - this could end up being reasonably quite quick - after all atom's terrible performance is partly due to it being made on a crap process and it being based on a decade old cpu design (the original mobile cpu that went into 'centrino' laptops).

a clean sheet design for low power and reasonable performance on 22nm could give us that perfect balance of performance/battery life.

this type of cpu (or maybe a variant running with higher clock speed/cores and draining a bit more power) could let ms/nokia make an x86 phone running a windows 8 type os that can dock/connect/widi to a tablet/laptop/monitor.

this type of device where all your day to day computing power stays in your pocket with you at all times is something that i would be very interested in - it might even be enough to make me ditch the android/linux combo that i've been using for most of my computing the last 18 months.

quark opens up a lot of options for the future




RE: hmm
By Jeffk464 on 9/11/2013 1:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well maybe a quad core or more version with software that really maximizes multicore processors.


Whaaaa?
By Argon18 on 9/11/2013 2:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
Intel is releasing a 32 bit x86 chip? Yawn. Pretty sure I read that same announcement 20 years ago, in 1993. This will never compete with the latest 2 Ghz quad and octo-core ARM processors, not to mention the new 64 bit ARM chips. sorry intel, ARM completely owns the mobile market.




hi
By ray23 on 9/11/2013 4:04:30 PM , Rating: 1
Abigail. I can see what your saying... Helen`s st0rry is great, I just got a new Buick when I got my cheque for $5588 this month and-just over, ten grand last-munth. it's certainly my favourite work I've ever had. I started this four months/ago and pretty much immediately began to bring in at least $83, p/h. additional info ........... http://x.co/2IgkJ




"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki