Wednesday, April 2nd 2008

Intel Introduces Five Atom Processors

Intel Corporation today introduced five new Intel Atom processors and Intel Centrino Atom processor technology for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and embedded computing solutions. The technology package includes the Intel Atom processor (formerly codenamed "Silverthorne") plus a single-chip with integrated graphics called the Intel System Controller Hub that enables PC-like capabilities, an uncompromised Internet experience and long battery life in smaller devices that can fit in your pocket. Manufacturers around the world are planning to ship Intel-based MIDs beginning this summer.

MIDs are truly mobile devices that enable the best Internet experience in pocketable devices. MIDs will allow consumers to communicate, entertain, access information and be productive on-the-go, and are expected to represent a new class of next-generation, Internet-based portable video players, navigation devices, converged tablets and other consumer products.

Formerly codenamed "Menlow," Intel Centrino Atom processor technology includes the company's first-ever Intel Atom processor (formerly "Silverthorne"). The processor – Intel's smallest and the world's fastest chip under 3 watts – has a thermal design power range1 of 0.65 to 2.4 watts* (versus 35 watts for today's typical laptop), average power range2 of 160-220 milliwatts (mW) and idle power range3 of 80-100mW.

These dramatic low-power levels are achieved as a result of several major processor design power management techniques such as Intel Deep Power Down Technology (C6), CMOS mode, and Split I/O power supply. When combined with Intel's unique and reinvented 45nm high-k metal gate transistor formula, the chips are very energy efficient and smaller in size, and enable longer battery life and sleek designs.

"Today is a historic day for Intel and the high-tech industry as we deliver our first-ever Intel Atom processor and surround it with a great package of technology," said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group. "Mix in the incredible innovation coming from our fellow device makers and software vendors, and we will change the way consumers will come to know and access the World Wide Web. These forthcoming MIDs, and some incredible longer-term plans our customers are sharing with us, will show how small devices can deliver a big Internet experience."

The Heart of a New Generation of Mobile Internet Devices, and More
As the Internet becomes more pervasive, the desire to be constantly connected via wireless broadband will continue to drive exciting new compute-intensive consumer products. Intel processors are designed for and already are the backbone for the majority of the computers that run and access the Internet, and today's Intel Centrino Atom processor technology will enable users to access this Internet while on-the-go.

The Intel Atom processor (formerly codenamed "Silverthorne") will come in speeds up to 1.86GHz, support Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology, and select SKUs will support Intel Hyper-Threading technology. These capabilities make it the fastest processor in the sub-3 watt space, enabling a rich user experience with fast Web page downloads and support for the latest Web technologies such as Adobe Flash and JavaScript. The Intel System Controller Hub is a ground-up, highly integrated low-power solution that features advanced low-power 3-D graphics features, hardware accelerated 720p and 1080i HD video decode capabilities, Intel High Definition Audio, and a combination of PC and handheld I/O capabilities such as PCI Express, USB Host and Client, and SDIO. Intel Centrino Atom processor technology also enables manufacturers to integrate a range of wireless connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, WiMAX and cellular data.

The technical features of the Intel Atom processor and Intel System Controller Hub will help to create an array of MIDs that offer a range of functions and variety of pocketable devices. The processors are also designed for fan-less, small form factor devices for embedded applications such as in-vehicle infotainment systems, portable point-of-sale devices for retail and more rugged computing devices such as robotics for industrial manufacturing. For embedded applications, Intel will include longer 7-year life cycle support.

Gelsinger: Milliwatts to Petaflops
During his keynote, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, said Intel Architecture (IA) processors now span MIDs to High- Performance Servers (HPC). In HPC, Intel's Xeon processors power three of the world's top five HPC systems, and in 2007 Intel supplied roughly four of five processors in the HPC market, including one of the most powerful in China, the SINOPEC system used for petroleum exploration.

Gelsinger provided some technical details of Intel's next-generation processor family, codenamed "Nehalem," which will begin production in the fourth quarter. Nehalem will first be seen in high-end desktop processors and dual processor server systems, and expand to other market segments in 2009. Nehalem is designed to scale from two to eight cores. Gelsinger also disclosed Intel's Advanced Vector Extension new instructions that are planned for a family of processors due after Nehalem, codenamed "Sandy Bridge" in 2010.

Honglin Zhang, deputy chief director of the IT Center for the China Ministry of Railways, joined Gelsinger onstage to talk about IA-based systems playing a pivotal role in providing cost-effective, flexible and reliable end-to-end solutions. Beijing officials also discussed how the upcoming Olympics IT infrastructure and Web portal will be run on Intel Xeon processors. Gelsinger concluded his keynote talking about Intel's Visual Computing vision and need for more compute performance, higher memory and I/O bandwidth, improved graphics, better software tools and libraries in order to deliver photo-realistic 3-D rendering, high-definition video and audio, and computer modeling, all leading to a better computing experience. One critical element will be the "Larrabee" Architecture, which will feature many Intel architecture cores, a new cache architecture and new vector processing instruction set.

Perlmutter: Personalized Mobility On The Way
Also at IDF, Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobility Group, discussed the wave of personalization on tap that takes advantage of new notebook and netbook products coming to market later this year. Intel will deliver its next-generation "Montevina" Intel Centrino 2 processor technology for notebooks in June providing faster performance and longer battery life.

Centrino 2 will be the first platform from Intel to offer an integrated Wi-Fi and WiMAX wireless access option that is expected to be available in certain notebooks in the second half of the year. Other options for Centrino 2 include the processor and other components that are about 40 percent smaller, making them ideal for the mini- and sub-notebook categories. Perlmutter shared details in graphics quality and native hardware support for high-definition entertainment using Blu Ray, and demonstrated Intel solid state drive technology.

Looking ahead Perlmutter offered a first peek at Intel's 2009 notebook platform codenamed "Calpella." Before that and toward the end of 2008, Perlmutter said the company will bring Intel Anti-theft Technology to complement and enhance existing solutions by leading computer makers and software vendors. The technology focuses on asset recovery, theft management and data protection and will arrive in laptops by year's end.

Perlmutter also showcased two laptops called "netbooks" while articulating Intel's strategy for this emerging class of affordable, easy-to-use computers. These simple, low-cost Internet-centric devices will be powered by Intel's new purpose-built low power architecture, forthcoming "Diamondville" Intel Atom processors and unique transistor and manufacturing process that is perfectly suited for this new market opportunity. Source: Intel
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9 Comments on Intel Introduces Five Atom Processors

Semi-Retired Folder
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I think we may start finding chips like those in electronic toys and such. I think intel really has something going on here.
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Bird of Prey
You bet they do. As loyal as I am to AMD, Im tickled pink with Intels moving of low powered and small electronic device processors. I Wish them continued success in this venture.
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impressive, wonder how powerful they are
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Editor & Senior Moderator
Clearly it's aimed at those OLPC / Ultra-mobile and the likes. Basically, and Intel alternative for AMD Geode.

Something tells me these chips in general are to compete head on with ARM. While Intel does hold a ARM license, and it does make ARM processors, those 0.65W chips look to compete head-on with ARM. It's easier to code for x86 with more developer resources at one's disposal.
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You have to give credit to AMD for making energy consumption an issue and you also have to give Intel credit for taking it on board and seemingly mastering it.
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What is important is THIS:
The Intel Atom processor is based on an entirely new microarchitecture designed specifically for small devices and low power, while maintaining the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo instruction set compatibility consumers are accustomed to when using a standard PC and the Internet. The design also includes support for multiple threads for better performance and increased system responsiveness. All of this on a chip that measures less than 25 mm², making it Intel's smallest and lowest power processor yet.

The Atom is x86.

You can run Windows and x86 native software directly. No need to develop new software or require different SDK.

This is as big a plus to MS as it is to Intel. It means that phones, PDA, other devices, etc. can be developed on Wintel. Damn simple. These things will get everywhere.


The concept of Silverthorne is to take a regular CPU (like core 2) and rather than going QUAD... and doubling the POWER consumption, Stick with a single or dual core and ADD 2 or 4 atoms. Since an atom has more than enough power for most co-tasking applications.

All that is needed is for MS to develop a more sophisticated thread scheduler into Windows... so that it knows what is "primary" code for the core CPU and what are secondary services or co-tasks that can be scheduled to the atoms.


This is seriously bad news for ARM... the current chip of choice for embedded devices. They will now have some serious competition in the "higher value" non-PC hardware market.
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These seem really expensive, for what you get. I read these things are 10 times smaller than celerons (yet more expensive?) It's Like having a 'convenience charge' for paying your bills online, when really it costs the banks less because they use less paper and manpower.

I suppose one would be very nice to have, implanted into your eye.... hahaha... no but they are really cool man... it's the start of an almost brand new market.

Silicon is almost obsolete though, I cant wait to see whats next... probably robotic viruses that attack everything, knowing our luck.

have you guys seen this pic?
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im more intrested in the new via cpu's that are due out soon, should be compeditive with intels offerings, but avalable to people who want to build multi chip HTPC/MPC/uber small systems

my buddy got to test one of their uITX boards with 1 of the new chips running at 1.57gz(according to windows) said it was at least as fast as his pentium-m 1.6gz laptop dispite having slower ram(533 his lappy has 667), this seems intresting to me, i mean if i could get a eeepc or cloud book that was as powerfull as todays lower end laptops but used less power and cost less, yell yeah im gonna do it, or if i could build a portable system that was effectivly velcrowed to the back of an lcd that would be fun as hell :) (humm velcrow nice ssd disk, mobo to back of monotor........hummmmm )
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