New Intel Atom chips to power wafer-thin mobile internet devices


9 Apr 2009

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In just one year, the Intel Atom processor has led to a revolution in netbook computing. The next generation of the chip family will unleash a storm of new mobile internet devices, the chip giant promised yesterday.

Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice-president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group, introduced two new processors for mobile internet devices (MIDs) at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.

During his keynote, titled ‘Mobility’s Next Wave of Growth,’,Chandrasekher demonstrated the first live demo of Intel’s next-generation Atom-based MID platform, codenamed ‘Moorestown’.

Chandrasekher provided a sneak peek into the low-power innovation of the platform by showcasing a greater than 10x idle power reduction, compared to today’s Atom-based platform in a side-by-side demo.

This dramatic reduction is made possible through a combination of new power management techniques, a new partition optimised for the MID segments and Intel’s Hi-k 45nm manufacturing process.

Due by 2010, the Moorestown platform is comprised of a System on Chip (codenamed ‘Lincroft’) that integrates a 45nm Intel Atom processor core, graphics, video and memory controller, and a companion input/output (I/O) hub.

The platform will be accompanied by a new Moblin software version that is optimised to enable the rich, interactive, PC-like internet experience, along with cellular voice capabilities.

Intel also announced two new Atom processors for MIDs: the Z550 and Z515.

The Z550 extends the performance of the MID product line to 2GHz with Intel Hyperthreading technology support, setting a new standard for the highest performance processor in the under-3-watt power envelope.

The Z515 incorporates the new Intel Burst Performance Technology (Intel BPT), which enables the processor to run at 1.2GHz when performance is needed in existing small and sleek MID form factors.

These new Atom processors further extend customer choices to enable the best internet experience in pocketable MIDs. Chandrasekher also announced several new MID designs for the China market.

Discussing Intel Centrino 2-based laptops, Chandrasekher pointed out additional OEMs choosing to include Intel ultra low-voltage processors to create ultra-thin laptop designs that are less than 1 inch thick.

While lighter in size and weight, these notebooks still offer great performance and battery life that consumers have come to expect.

Chandrasekher then described the next-generation processors for laptops based on the Nehalem architecture that will be available in the second half of this year on the ‘Calpella’ platform.

These processors will be more powerful than their predecessors by including such technologies as Intel Hyper-Threading Technology and Intel Turbo Boost Technology.

By John Kennedy