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Intel Atom Roadmap  (Source: PCWatch)
Next-gen Atom CPU will integrate a GPU core and memory controller

The netbook world today has many different systems available for consumers. The common thread among many of today's most popular netbooks like the ASUS Eee PC and the new Dell Inspiron Mini 9 is that most use the Intel Atom processor.

An Intel roadmap that surfaced at the Intel Developers Forum 2008 shows that Intel plans to bring the next generation Atom processor to market in Q3 2009 -- roughly a year from now. PCWatch reports that the new Atom will carry the codename Pineview and will be offered in both dual-core and single-core versions.

Today's Atom CPU is based on the Silverthorne micro-architecture, the next-gen Atom will be based on the Lincroft micro-architecture. The biggest difference between the current Atom and the one we should see this time next year is that the Pineview Atom will integrate a GPU core and a memory controller into the die or chip package. Exactly how the GPU core will be integrated is unknown. Roadmap slides at PCWatch show a "1?" for the number of die(s) -- it seems even Intel isn’t sure how the GPU core will be packaged with Pineview at this time.

Pineview Atom processors will connect to the associated I/O chip via Direct Media Interface (DMI) rather than a front side bus like the current Atom processor. Register Hardware reports that its unknown if the dual-core version of Pineview will be available for netbook systems.

Intel has big plans for the Atom processor and hopes to see it used in more places than the computer world alone. Intel expects to get versions of the Atom processor into the embedded market. Intel has also announced that the demand for Atom is far outpacing what it expected.

The higher than expected demand has led to shortages of Atom processors in the market. Low supply is forcing some netbook makers to use processors other than the Atom in lower-end netbooks. Asus is unable to get the Atom is quantities to meet its needs for low-end netbooks and has opted to use older Celeron M processors as a substitute.

Intel's first dual-core Atom processor will debut this month. However, it is questionable if the dual-core Atom will be seen in smaller and cheaper netbooks running Windows XP. Microsoft's recently relaxed XP usage criteria still limits XP usage to single-core netbooks. DailyTech reported in August that the dual-core Atom 330 would be soldered onto the Intel 945GX-based D945GCFL2 motherboard and would support up to 2GB of RAM.

Register Hardware reports that AMD is getting its own Atom competitor ready for the netbook market. AMD's Atom rival is reportedly codenamed Bobcat. Bobcat will reportedly be a single-core 1GHz AMD64 processor core and has 128kb of L1 cache and 256kb of L2 cache. The Bobcat processor is said to draw 8W of power total.

AMDs Bobcat isn’t the only challenger to the Intel Atom in the netbook world. VIA has its 65nm Nano processor that is reported to offer higher-performance in many benchmarks when compared to Intel's Atom 230.

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RE: AMD huh
By psychobriggsy on 9/5/2008 12:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
I think that AMD can provide something interesting in this area of the market, especially since they can provide a compelling integrated graphics solution.

I just think that they will fail to capitalise on anything that they create, and if they do it will likely be too late.

The 8W Athlon 64 + AMD780G is one such interesting platform that could be very suitable for a media server, and doesn't suffer the restrictions that Intel has put on the Atom CPU.

The integrated graphics on Lincroft will likely be GMA500 level, maybe running at a faster speed than in Paulsbo (is this chipset actually available yet?) due to being made on 45nm instead of 130nm. It won't be anything to write home about, but if it can do full HD decode it will solve the current chipset issues that Intel has with Atom.

RE: AMD huh
By IntelUser2000 on 9/6/2008 11:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
It's Poulsbo not Paulsbo.

The Poulsbo chipset is out, not for netbooks though. It's only out for MIDs and UMPCs.

Initial presentations put Moorestown IGP 50% faster than the one on Menlow.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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