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Intel's "Silverthorn" processor was designed from scratch to deliver about the same processing power as the original Pentium M processor in a 2.5 Watt envelope

Intel's new Centrino and Atom branding
10 Watts, 4 Watts -- why stop there? Intel debuts 0.6 Watt x86 processor

A flurry of announcements and roadmaps from Intel this week shed light on the company's 5.5 Watt Penryn and the 4 Watt Diamondville processors.  The company went one step further today, claiming it can get a fairly powerful x86 processor down to 0.6W for ultra mobile devices.

Intel first brought us news of Intel's Silverthorne processor in April of last year. At the time, details were light on the processor and it was just known as a successor to the 90nm Stealey-based A100 and A110 that were introduced at the time.

As the months progressed, more details began to leak out regarding the Menlow platform and the Silverthorne processor. Today, Intel officially pulled the wraps off the Silverthorne processor and the Menlow platform.

Silverthorne, a two-issue processor designed from the ground up, is now known as the Intel Atom processor. Atom processors based on Silverthorne are aimed at Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

To confuse matters a bit, Intel’s Diamondville processors will also fall under the Intel Atom processor nomenclature. Diamondville-based Atom processors are derived from Silverthorne, feature SMT technology and will be available in both single core and dual core versions. Atom processors based on Diamondville will see duty in low-cost notebooks (known as "netbooks") and desktop computers (also called "nettops").

As previously reported by DailyTech, Diamondville-based Atom processor will fit within a 4W (single core) to 8W (dual core) TDP envelope. The single core, Diamondville-based Atom 230 will launch at 1.6GHz and will feature a 533MHz FSB and 512k of L2 cache. TDP for the Atom 230 is listed at 4W.

Silverthorne-based Atom processors heading for MIDs will have a TDP ranging from 0.6W to 2.5W and will top out at 1.8GHz.  Sources inside Intel hint that the 0.6W version of the processor reaches just over 500 MHz.

Anand Lal Shimpi conjectures on the difference between the two cores. "Intel lists the 1.6GHz Diamondville TDP as 4W, a bit higher than what you'll see in MIDs but I'm guessing it'll run at a higher voltage and thus be a higher yielding part that's cheaper to produce, resulting in the higher TDP."

Intel confirms Diamondville will be the first Intel processor to support simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) since the Pentium 4.  The entire Silverthorne architecture supports SMT, though Intel has only confirmed Diamondville processors as SMT-enabled at this time.

Intel says that a single Atom processor measures just 25mm2 and contains over 47 million transistors. According to Intel, 11 Atom processors would fit on a penny and it's built on Intel's high-k 45nm manufacturing process.

"This is our smallest processor built with the world's smallest transistors," said Intel's Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Maloney. "This small wonder is a fundamental new shift in design, small yet powerful enough to enable a big Internet experience on these new devices. We believe it will unleash new innovation across the industry."

The overall Menlow platform is now known as Intel Centrino Atom. The Intel Centrino Atom platform will include an Intel Atom processor, Intel 945GSE chipset and a wireless radio.

Although Intel expects the bulk of its Atom processors to see duty in MIDs, netbooks and nettops, the company also sees the huge potential for sales in consumer electronic devices, embedded applications and thin clients.

Consumers can expect to see the next generation Eee PC with an Intel Atom processor onboard -- HP may be wise to include an Intel Atom on its 2133 sub-notebook, but rumor has it that the company already decided on a VIA platform.

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By phatboye on 3/2/2008 10:56:53 PM , Rating: -1
Nice new tech but the branding sucks, ATOM CPUs? I mean come on my 5 year old brother could come up with something better than that.

I don't know what is going on in the marketing departments of these tech companies but these new school band names suck. Xbox, Phenom, Core (I always thought Pentium was a cool name), Vista and now the ATOM.

RE: Branding
By fxyefx on 3/2/2008 11:15:10 PM , Rating: 5
Well, it could be worse. At least the Xbox isn't instead dubbed the "Microsoft 3D Entertainment Experience Platform."

RE: Branding
By KristopherKubicki on 3/2/2008 11:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, the MEEP ...

RE: Branding
By MADAOO7 on 3/3/2008 12:22:12 AM , Rating: 1
or the, standard features include a 30% chance of showing three blue lights and never starting ever again....

RE: Branding
By dflynchimp on 3/3/2008 6:26:53 AM , Rating: 2
Add a "Version Build 2.0127" to the end of that for the 360

RE: Branding
By Murst on 3/2/2008 11:34:32 PM , Rating: 3
Nice new tech but the branding sucks

It is not as bad as Sempron.

RE: Branding
By Gul Westfale on 3/3/2008 1:02:16 AM , Rating: 2
it's intel buddy. after pentium, celery (sorry, celeron), and just plain "core" what did you expect? well they could have gone with minium, nanium, micronium, wattium, watteron, mobilium... so i guess atom isn't so bad.

RE: Branding
By 1337cookie on 3/3/2008 2:00:21 AM , Rating: 3
I like all of those alternatives...

RE: Branding
By eye smite on 3/3/2008 8:28:38 AM , Rating: 3
Those are good names. lol

How about the Intel Militant Midget?

RE: Branding
By MAIA on 3/3/08, Rating: 0
RE: Branding
By crystal clear on 3/3/2008 4:09:14 AM , Rating: 2
The explaination below could give you an idea-"why Atom"

Atom. One of the smallest things in our universe, and a very appropriate name for Intel’s new line of processors that are not only Intel’s smallest processors, but also contain the world’s smallest transistors.

Enough performance to deliver an amazing internet experience in your pocket. Low power. Built on world class manufacturing technology using the world’s smallest transistors. A new miracle in miniaturization: The Intel® Atom™ processor.

Brian Fravel Intel Director of Marketing, Brand Strategy

Its not how the brand name sounds because Intel are not selling a toothpaste or a shampoo or a toy.

Intel is selling a product line thats one of the many components that go into a handheld device.
The name relates to characteristics of the product line....

anything extremely small.... (nontechnical usage)

Intel’s smallest processors, but also contain the world’s smallest transistors.

RE: Branding
By MAIA on 3/3/2008 10:54:10 AM , Rating: 2
Its not how the brand name sounds because Intel are not selling a toothpaste or a shampoo or a toy.

I do agree with you to some extent, but let's face it: Anything that goes to the market is subjected to marketing and advertisement. Commercial names can mean alot, probably not in this case, but it can mean something. Imagine this thing called "smallium" or "tinyum" ... not wait that sounds like a pharmaceutical of some sort ...

"Atom" is not that bad anyway ...

RE: Branding
By TheOtherBubka on 3/3/2008 8:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the background on this. However, apparently nobody has explained to 'Director of Marketing' that the 'world's smallest transistors' are not on a 45 nm node and 'the world's smallest transistors' will be even smaller in 18 months if not sooner...

And maybe someone can clarify this, but isn't flash already on a smaller process than 45 nm somewhere? I think Mr. Fravel needs to clarify his statement to 'the world's smallest x86 production transistors' as at least that is an accurate statement and not an embellishment and not misleading.

RE: Branding
By crystal clear on 3/4/2008 1:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
This applies to all/anybody introducing a new product into the market.

In this age of superlatives I think it would be a refreshing change for a manufacturer to be a little conservative in thier claims and actually surpass them for once.

I'd just like a dose of reality back in the computing hardware/software world.

"It is better to be envied(Intel) than to be pitied (AMD)."

RE: Branding
By DOSGuy on 3/3/2008 7:49:55 AM , Rating: 2
I like it. It's a small processor with small transistors. What would your 5 year old brother call it?

RE: Branding
By bupkus on 3/3/2008 11:46:31 AM , Rating: 2
"Annoying Small Child"

IK, IK, IK, wrong subject

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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