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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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Some interesting observations
By crystal clear on 3/4/2008 8:55:55 AM , Rating: 1
1) The small size of the Atom allows 2,500 of them to be produced on a single 300-millimeter silicon wafer. Intel can then sell them at a low price while maintaining high margins.

2) Centrino Atom will include a single-core Atom processor, as well as the Poulsbo chip set and a wireless chip set. Intel has yet to announce the formal name of Poulsbo, which packs a Northbridge chip set and a Southbridge chip set into a single package to reduce size and power consumption

3) Several versions of the Atom processor are on track to be delivered to during the first half of this year, according to Danny Cheung, an Intel spokesman in Singapore.

4) To differentiate "netbooks" and "nettops" from mainstream desktops and notebooks.
Intel has set guidelines for device makers that limit the features of Atom-based devices, preventing the chips from being used in notebooks with a 15-in. screen instead of a Core 2 Duo processor.

5) Intel visions MIDs to run on LINUX rather than Windows.

6) To use the Centrino Atom brand OEMs have to meet Intel specifications for handheld devices.Intel refers to as a "thinner and lighter" form factor.

The products can measure NO MORE than 25 inches or 19 cms diagnolly & must offer wireless networking, using Intel chips for wireless networking & microprocessors also contain an integrated graphics.

To summarize-

In short plenty of restrictions & preconditions with several versions of the Atom processors being introduced in the market.

Branding confusions - "netbooks" and "nettops" from "mainstream desktops" and "notebooks".

Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64, said branding remains an important part of the company’s ability to sell its processors, but Intel needs to ensure that customers know what they are getting.

“Intel has to make sure that customers don’t confuse these processors with its more expensive models,” Brookwood said. “You don’t want a situation where people go out and a buy a $300 notebook and think its going to have the same capabilities as the $600 one they bought last year. Intel has to create a difference with its branding so that it doesn’t kill its high-end products.”

The mainstream buyers confusions from UMPCs to subnotebooks to MIDs to netbooks to nettops......

OEMs/retailers/resellers etc have to use Intel marketing funding to educate/guide the mainstream buyers in choosing the right product/s suiting their requirements/needs & BUDGETS.

Intel has to ensure these OEMs etc do not misuse these funds to dump their hardware on the buyers to boost their own sales revenues/profits etc.
Intel has to ensure the buyers recieve the best suited product at low prices.

These OEMs etc used VISTA FUNDINGS to dump their hardware on the buyers-INTEL should learn from the VISTA/M.S. experience & ensure NO REPEATS !

By murphyslabrat on 3/4/2008 10:46:57 AM , Rating: 2
which packs a Northbridge chip set and a Southbridge chip set into a single package to reduce size and power consumption

The "chipset" is the combination of northbridge and southbridge.

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