Wednesday, May 5th 2010

New Intel Atom Processor Platform Significantly Lowers Power for Tablet and Handheld

Benefitting from the company's power-saving architecture, transistor and circuit design expertise, plus unique manufacturing process techniques, Intel Corporation today unveiled its newest Intel Atom processor-based platform (formerly "Moorestown").

The technology package provides significantly lower power consumption and prepares the company to target a range of computing devices, including high-end smartphones, tablets and other mobile handheld products. The chips bring Intel's classic product strengths – outstanding performance to run a comprehensive and growing number of rich media and Internet applications, a choice of software, and the ability to easily multitask – across a number of applications, including HD video and multi-point videoconferencing.

"Intel has delivered its first product that is opening the door for Intel Architecture [IA] in the smartphone market segment," said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group. "Through "Moorestown," Intel is scaling the benefits of IA while significantly reducing the power, cost and footprint to better address handheld market segments. As a result of our efforts, the Intel Atom processor is pushing the boundaries of higher performance at significantly lower power to show what's possible as handheld devices become small, powerful mobile computers."

Architected for Low Power and Industry Leading Performance
The platform includes the Intel Atom Processor Z6xx Series Family (formerly "Lincroft" system-on-chip [SoC]), the Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20 (formerly "Langwell") and a dedicated Mixed Signal IC (MSIC), formerly "Briertown."

The platform has been repartitioned to include the Intel Atom Processor Z6xx, which combines the 45nm Intel Atom processor core with 3-D graphics, video encode and decode, as well as memory and display controllers into a single SoC design. It also includes the MP20 Platform Controller Hub which supports a range of system-level functions and I/O blocks. Additionally, a dedicated MSIC integrates power delivery and battery charging, and consolidates a range of analog and digital components.

Collectively these new chips deliver significantly lower power including >50x reduction in idle power, >20x reduction in audio power, and 2-3x reductions across browsing and video scenarios – all at the platform level when compared to Intel's previous-generation product1. These power savings translate into >10 days of standby, up to 2 days of audio playback and 4-5 hours of browsing and video battery life3. When combined with 1.5-3x higher compute performance, 2-4x richer graphics, >4x higher JavaScript performance, and support for full HD 1080p high-profile video decoding and 720p HD video recording, these low-power innovations bring a rich, PC-like visual experience to powerful handheld computers.

Building on the C6 state in the original Intel Atom processor design, the SoC incorporates new ultra-low-power states (S0i1 and S0i3), which take the SoC to 100 micro-watts. At the platform level, Intel implemented a new, fine grain OS power management approach that manages the idle and active power states across all aspects of the system based on usage scenarios. This software-managed technique applies aggressive power and clock gating across the SoC's power islands and system voltage rails. Additionally, Intel used a new high-K 45 nm LP SOI process to support a multiple transistor design with a range of high-voltage I/Os.

These power management capabilities, when combined with Intel Burst Performance Technology for high-performance on demand, and Intel's Bus Turbo Mode for high-bandwidth on demand, help to deliver industry leading performance and power efficiency across a range of handheld devices.

"After we delivered the first-generation Intel Atom processor with 10x thermal power reduction, we challenged ourselves to achieve 50x power reduction at the platform level," said Belli Kuttanna, chief Intel Atom processor architect. "We are delighted to have exceeded this goal while increasing performance and are proud of the architects and designers who consistently reinvent the possibilities of Intel Architecture."

Availability
The Intel Atom Processor Z6xx Series Family, Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20 and the dedicated Mixed Signal IC are available today.

The new platform supports a range of scalable frequencies, up to 1.5 GHz for high-end smartphones and up to 1.9 GHz for tablets and other handheld designs. The chips also bring support for Wi-Fi, 3G/HSPA, and WiMAX, as well as a range of operation systems, including Android, Meego and Moblin. Intel is bringing together a breadth of applications and ecosystem support across these platforms to enable a software- and Internet-compatible user experience for developers and consumers.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Based on Intel's leading silicon technology and manufacturing capabilities, chips deliver >50x platform idle power reduction while increasing performance and reducing size1.
  • Platform brings unlimited "PC-like" experience with fast Internet, multi-tasking, full 1080p video, 3-D graphics, multi-point videoconferencing and voice in pocketable designs.
  • New Intel Atom Processor Z6xx based on Intel's new 45nm low-power process, packs 140 million transistors into the SoC. The platform also includes a Controller Hub (MP20) and a dedicated Mixed Signal IC.
  • Highly integrated platform capable of scaling a range of operating systems and market segments including high-end smartphones, tablets and handheld devices.
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37 Comments on New Intel Atom Processor Platform Significantly Lowers Power for Tablet and Handheld

#1
digibucc
it's gonna be sci fi before too long :)
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#2
v12dock
I'm going to have to get a phone with one of these
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#4
mtosev
by: Fourstaff
Can it play Crysis?
sure, @1 trillion FPS :D
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#5
mdm-adph
Keep your x86 out of our smartphone market, Intel. It's not wanted. :P
Posted on Reply
#6
Imsochobo
by: v12dock
I'm going to have to get a phone with one of these
Let me ask.

Do you want it ?

X86 means supporting dead tech, using transistors on something useless.
Less effecient.

You dont want it!

Intel is threatened by ARM, and loosing licencing money from AMD and VIA and a monopoly!
Posted on Reply
#7
Fourstaff
by: Imsochobo
Let me ask.

Do you want it ?

X86 means supporting dead tech, using transistors on something useless.
Less effecient.

You dont want it!

Intel is threatened by ARM, and loosing licencing money from AMD and VIA and a monopoly!
x86 refers to the instruction set, not dead tech. Foe example all processors (Intel, AMD, VIA etc) found in computers have the x86 instructions. ARM is another set of instruction, so they should be threatened by Intel rather than the other way around, because by releasing this chip, Intel is threatening the ARM's traditional market.
Posted on Reply
#8
mdm-adph
by: Fourstaff
x86 refers to the instruction set, not dead tech. Foe example all processors (Intel, AMD, VIA etc) found in computers have the x86 instructions. ARM is another set of instruction, so they should be threatened by Intel rather than the other way around, because by releasing this chip, Intel is threatening the ARM's traditional market.
I don't think Intel is threatening at all (just desperate). And it's not the instruction set that's bad, it's the licensing that really only allows 3 companies, worldwide, to make them.

How many hundreds of companies are now making ARM chips? ARM is the the practically-open way of the future, and Intel's probably worried. If we're still using x86 in 20 years, I'd be surprised.
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#9
kid41212003
It supports Android OS, Android isn't x86 is it?
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#10
Fourstaff
by: mdm-adph
If we're still using x86 in 20 years, I'd be surprised.
We have been using x86 for the past 30+ years, I believe we will still use them for the next 30+ years at least. Indeed, the x86 instructions is so robust that it relegated the ARM to only "lesser" devices.
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#11
MikeMurphy
The x86 instruction set is archaic and only remains for backwards compatibility. It won't be dissapearing anytime soon because its Intel's most significant asset.

ARM is a totally different architecture which was engineered with a large consideration towards power consumption. Intel now sees ARM as a significant threat and is scrambling to get a foothold in the ultra mobile consumer space.
Posted on Reply
#12
Fourstaff
I believe that we are still using the x86 instructions and its extensions (SSE and so on). so its not archaic as you suggested. Also, I think the x86 instruction is "open source" now, so I don't think Intel will profit from people using the x86.
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#13
aj28
...packs 140 million transistors into the SoC. The platform also includes a Controller Hub (MP20) and a dedicated Mixed Signal IC.
Pardon my skepticism, but is that technically an SoC then?

I look forward to performance and battery life numbers.
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#14
R_1
Well, an average ARM SoC consists of many cores, and most of them are not general purpose ones, but built by ARM licensee like TI, Qualcomm, Imagination Technologies etc. Some are providing 3G radio-modem/WLAN/Bluetooth function, others - GPS functionality. There is a camera DSP, capturing 20MP still images or 1080p video. Even combined DVB S/T tuner can be found inside an ARM SoC. Entire ARM SoC has peak consumption of 2 Watts and power saving mode at around 0.01 Watt. Can this new Intel SoC do that much?
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#15
AsphyxiA
by: kid41212003
It supports Android OS, Android isn't x86 is it?
android can be compiled into what ever instruction you want, it's a linux distro. That said, I think there is an SDK floating around somewhere that is set up for x86
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#16
R_1
"The chips also bring support for Wi-Fi, 3G/HSPA, and WiMAX..." What does it means? Is there built in radio part? How is this "full HD 1080p high-profile video decoding and 720p HD video recording" implemented? Can we expect 5-6 hours 720p HD video decoding on a single battery charge as seen in recent ARM smartphones?
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#17
TheGuruStud
Intel must be paying people to use these things.
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#18
Bundy
I recently changed phone from a Nokia to HTC. Wasn't really looking forward to using a different brand of phone but the change was forced on me (its a work phone). OMG, they are really good! Having full featured browser so I can log on to TPU is great.

This new offering from Intel is whats coming. It's a good thing to effectively package a netbook into a phone, and significantly more useful than an iPad.
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#19
theonedub
habe fidem
Looks like SnapDragon has some competition coming.
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#20
R_1
How can I say this more simple : A smartphone SoC is not only a general purpose CPU!!! In fact entire smartphone functionality is packed in a single chip. I am not sure if Intel can build a decent 3G radio-modem and a flock of specialized DSPs.
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#21
EarlZ
What smartphones are currently powered by Intel Atom ?
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#22
TheGuruStud
by: EarlZ
What smartphones are currently powered by Intel Atom ?
None and they never will if they know what's good for them. The power requirements are too massive. They hype the low power, but that's while idle. Plus, it doesn't include any other chips (unlike the qualcomms that have everything in them and use half a watt).

And we all know how intel rates their power consumption...basically lies.
Posted on Reply
#23
Scrizz
I welcome Intel into the smartphone world.
One more chip to choose from.
Posted on Reply
#24
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Imsochobo
Let me ask.

Do you want it ?

X86 means supporting dead tech, using transistors on something useless.
Less effecient.
Intel Core i7 980X...is an x86 processor, so is Phenom II X6.

by: Imsochobo
You dont want it!
You would absolutely want it because the same software that runs on the PC will run on your smartphone. This Atom 1.5 GHz will be as fast as a Pentium 4 @ 2 GHz, which is insanely powerful and fast compared to ARM which celebrates being slow. How fast did ARM processors get over the decade, anyway.

by: Imsochobo
Intel is threatened by ARM, and loosing licencing money from AMD and VIA and a monopoly!
Intel never was into embedded processors, so it never was into the market ARM was. In fact it's ARM that needs to be threatened by Intel's entry into the market it caters to.

As for AMD and VIA, Intel holds over 80% of the PC processor market. It's been like this for years. It's not losing any licensing money.
Posted on Reply
#25
Imsochobo
by: Fourstaff
We have been using x86 for the past 30+ years, I believe we will still use them for the next 30+ years at least. Indeed, the x86 instructions is so robust that it relegated the ARM to only "lesser" devices.
ARM is moving up and not down. Dualcore's quads, arms, working already, ready for netbooks already.

Whats keeping X86 the only desktop choice is ... Windows.
Linux can run on:
he Linux kernel is portable and supports the following computer architectures:

* Alpha architecture:
o DEC Alpha
o Samsung Alpha CPU
* Analog Devices
o Blackfin (since 2.6.22)
* Argonaut RISC Core (ARC) from ARC International
* ARM architecture:
o Acorn Archimedes and Risc PC series
o DEC StrongARM
o Marvell (formerly Intel) XScale
o Sharp Zaurus
o iPAQ
o Palm, Inc.'s Tungsten Handheld[1]
o Gamepark Holdings' GP2X
o Nokia 770 Internet Tablet
o Nokia N800
o Nokia N810
o Nokia N900
o gumstix
o Nintendo DS via DSlinux
o Sony Mylo
o Psion 5, 5MX, Series 7, netBook
o Some Models of Apple iPods (see iPodLinux)
o OpenMoko Neo 1973
o Freescale's (formerly Motorola) i.MX multimedia processors
* Atmel AVR32
* Axis Communications' ETRAX CRIS
* Freescale 68k architecture (68020, 68030, 68040, 68060):
o Some Amigas: A1200, A2500, A3000, A4000
o Apple Macintosh II, LC, Quadra, Centris and early Performa series
* Fujitsu FR-V
* Hewlett-Packard's PA-RISC family
* H8 architecture from Renesas Technology, formerly Hitachi.
o H8/300
o H8/500
* IBM
o System/390 (31-bit)
o zSeries and System z9 mainframes (64-bit)
* Intel IA-64 Itanium, Itanium II
* x86 architecture:
o IBM PC compatibles using IA-32 and x86-64 processors:
+ Intel 80386, 80486, and their AMD, Cyrix, Texas Instruments and IBM variants
+ The entire Pentium series and its Celeron and Xeon variants
+ The Intel Core processors
+ AMD 5x86, K5, K6, Athlon (all 32-bit versions), Duron, Sempron
+ x86-64: 64-bit processor architecture, now officially known as AMD64 (AMD) or Intel64 (Intel); supported by the Athlon 64, Opteron and Intel Core 2 processors, among others
+ Cyrix 5x86, 6x86 (M1), 6x86MX and MediaGX (National/AMD Geode) series
+ VIA Technologies Eden (Samuel II), VIA C3, and VIA C7 processors
o Microsoft's Xbox (Pentium III processor), through the Xbox Linux project
o SGI Visual Workstation (Pentium II/III processor(s) with SGI chipset)
o Sun Microsystems Sun386i workstation (80386 and 80486)
o Support for 8086, 8088, 80186, 80188 and 80286 CPUs is under development (the ELKS fork)[2]
* M32R from Mitsubishi
* MIPS architecture:
o Dingoo
o Infineon's Amazon & Danube Network Processors
o Jazz
o Cobalt Qube, Cobalt RaQ
o DECstation
o Loongson (MIPS-compatible), Loongson 2, and Loongson 2E from BLX IC Design Ltd (China)
o Some PlayStation 2 models, through the PS2 Linux project
o PlayStation Portable uClinux 2.4.19 port [1]
o Broadcom wireless chipsets
o Dreambox (HD models) [3]
o Cavium Octeon packet processors
* OpenRISC open core processor series:
o Beyond Semiconductor OR1200
o Beyond Semiconductor OR1210
* Power Architecture:
o IBM Servers
* PowerPC architecture:
o IBM's Cell
o Most pre-Intel Apple computers (all PCI-based Power Macintoshes, limited support for the older NuBus Power Macs)
o Clones of the PCI Power Mac marketed by Power Computing, UMAX and Motorola
o Amigas upgraded with a "Power-UP" card (such as the Blizzard or CyberStorm)
o AmigaOne motherboard from Eyetech Group Ltd (UK)
o Samantha from Soft3 (Italy)
o IBM RS/6000, iSeries and pSeries systems
o Pegasos I and II boards from Genesi
o Nintendo GameCube and Wii, through Nintendo GameCube Linux
o Project BlackDog from Realm Systems, Inc.
o Sony PlayStation 3
o V-Dragon CPU from Culturecom.
o Virtex II Pro Field Programmable Array (FPGA) from Xilinx with PowerPC cores.
o Dreambox (non-HD models) [4]
* SPARC
o SPARC (32-bit):
+ Sun-4 (to be abandoned in version 2.6.27)
+ SPARCstation/SPARCserver series (sun4c, sun4m, sun4d)
o SPARC (64-bit):
+ Sun Ultra series
+ Sun Blade
+ Sun Fire
+ SPARC Enterprise systems based on the UltraSPARC T1 and UltraSPARC T2 processors
* SuperH
o Sega Dreamcast (SuperH SH4)
o HP Jornada 680 through Jlime distribution (SuperH SH3)
* S+core
Windows:
X86
IA32
Loads of the instructions in a x86 cpu is dead tech, we hardly use some of it, but have to be there.
Makes powerconsumtion get higher with x86 no matter how you look at it.

Well, whats keeping x86 alive is mostly windows :P

The question lies in what impact will the android have.
Mobile phones, good god i love it, will it be good at tablets? will it be good at netbooks? exporting it to desktop, IT IS Linux, and linux is versatile. its kernel scales extremely well with device type. and in the end its the desktop market that remains the question.

Lastly i have to say, I dont like either inst. sets mentioned in this thread :P
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