Print 14 comment(s) - last by Khato.. on Feb 8 at 12:34 PM

Silverthorne will enable ultra-mobile PCs to run full versions of Vista in a 2 watt total power envelope

There have been some interesting announcements from the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week. Texas instruments, for example, introduced its new cellular chip.

Intel also unveiled its new Silverthorne processor aimed at ultra-mobile PCs. Intel says the processor is a full x86 CPU that can handle active work at levels as low as 600mw. Projections claim that the Silverthorne processor will eventually hit 2GHz at a maximum 2-watt dissipation.

Silverthorne takes advantage of Intel’s new 45nm technology. Justin Rattner, CTO of Intel said, “What has a lot of OEMs excited is the dynamic range of this processor. It can be active at less than 1 W, but when it has a workload in front of it--like interpreting some Java byte codes to render a Web page--it can really crank."

Silverthorne performance is said to be on par with the performance of the Intel Pentium M processors that powered the original Intel Centrino notebooks. Intel says that Silverthorne uses multiple power management techniques and can switch in and out of a new C6 deep-sleep-state in a mere 100 microseconds.

As efficient as Silverthorne is according to Intel, it still has a long way to go to compete with cellular based processors used in smartphones. Processors used in smart phones have total power budgets in the range of only 600 milliwatts whereas Silverthorne is in the 2 watt range.

That means that the first generation of Silverthorne devices will be considerably larger than current generation smart phones, though the processor will give the muscle needed to run full versions of Windows Vista. InformationWeek quotes Nathan Brookwood of Insight64 saying, “Silverthorne probably won't appear in anything much smaller than a paperback book. But a follow-on design with lower power consumption in 2009 could very well appear in smart phones.”

The Silverthorne processor is one of the core components in the Intel Menlow platform that DailyTech reported on in September of 2007.

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RE: I wonder...
By Joz on 2/7/2008 4:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
Im betting on Isaiah over Silverthorn anyday.

The C7-M was equivilent to a Celeron M - Pentium M in most benchmarks and pretty much creamed both when it came to batterylife.

RE: I wonder...
By TomZ on 2/7/2008 5:09:24 PM , Rating: 1
On the other hand, Intel has an immediate advantage of launching Silverthorne at 45nm, compared to VIA which will launch Isaiah at 65nm and transition to 45nm at some point in the future.

The technology node is especially important for these types of processors because of their emphasis on power consumption and die size.

This is not too different from the situation between Intel and AMD where both have designs with similar characteristics, but where Intel is able to dominate to a large extent because of their manufacturing abilities. VIA is even one step further away from being like AMD since VIA is fabless. Maybe in some ways that is an advantage (e.g., agility), but in terms of competing with Intel, I'll bet it is a net disadvantage.

RE: I wonder...
By Pandamonium on 2/7/2008 10:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
The C7-M was nowhere near a Celeron M. I don't think VIA has released a CPU that could compete with even a lowly Athlon XP 2000+.

RE: I wonder...
By StevoLincolnite on 2/8/2008 1:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
I have a Via C7-M notebook and a Pentium M 1.6ghz - There are hardly any performance differences, and the Via notebook lasts longer on the battery by about half an hour.
Mind you the Via uses the Deltachrome GPU whilst the Pentium M uses a Mobility Radeon 9700pro. - which could make up for the battery life differences. - Still I say again both machines handle Oblivion at exactly the same settings (Medium quality, 800x600). And gain about the same amount of FPS.

Kudo's to Via for not letting the Cyrix CPU's die! :)

RE: I wonder...
By Joz on 2/8/2008 10:26:12 AM , Rating: 2
Only in the media/gaming department was it lower then comparable Intel or AMD CPU's, in office, internet, etc... (basic tasks that it was built for) it was a rough match for Celerons/Pentium Ms, Sempron/Turion64(singlecore).

But its battery life was ~30-40% better on average. And in a tablet PC, it was king.

And you fail to relize that VIA has no care to give a damn about performance vs. other companies, they have their niche and are damn good at it. I can easily expect Isaiah if it performs as expected (and im sure it will) to greatly increse VIA's market share in Asia, Eruope and africa, south america And hopefully will someday grace north america in the form of 12"-13" tablet PC's.

*drools over 12-13" Isaiah (or C7-M) tablet PC dream :D*

Im still all for the fact that Isaiah has the OfO Execution vs Silverthorms In order. Not to mention the fact that Isaiah has a nicely sized caches... vs silverthorns none?

RE: I wonder...
By Khato on 2/8/2008 12:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
True, Via's niche thus far has been low cost IA. Isaiah is moving away from that however, just as Silverthorne is moving into it. If info is to be believed, Isaiah has a 60mm^2 die size, which would likely be about even with a conroe-L, and you could fit two Silverthorne's in that space. So, that limits price/margins.

Then you have the fact that there -are- mobile core 2 processors that reside in basically every power envelope that Isaiah could hope to be in. Which leaves their only card being price, one that's harder to play when without fabs and a process behind.

RE: I wonder...
By Khato on 2/7/2008 11:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I sure hope that Isaiah can beat out a Silverthorn. I mean, considering that all the info on Isaiah is claiming it's same power consumption as the previous generation which is 10x that of Silverthorn's max.

It's not a processor for desktops, it's not a processor for notebooks even. Unless of course you're talking absolute bargain basement. It's all about bringing the IA instruction set closer to the realm of ARM cost and power.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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