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Intel takes wrap off Centrino Atom, next-gen chips

Posted: 08 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Centrino Atom processors? Mobile Internet Devices? high-k metal gate transistor?

Intel Corp. has introduced five Atom processors and 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, Internet experience and long battery life in smaller devices that can fit in your pocket. Manufacturers are planning to ship Intel-based MIDs by mid-year.

MIDs are truly mobile devices that enable 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.

Menlow chips
Formerly codenamed Menlow, Intel Centrino Atom processor technology includes the company 's first-ever Intel Atom processor (formerly Silverthorne). The processorIntel 's smallest and claimed to be the world 's fastest chip under 3Whas a thermal design power range of 0.65 to 2.4W (vs. 35W for today 's typical laptop), average power range of 160-220mW and idle power range of 80-100mW.

These 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.

On-the-go Internet
Intel touts its 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-3W 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 high performance functions. These include low-power 3D graphics features, hardware accelerated 720p and 1,080i HD video decode capabilities, Intel High Definition Audio, and a combination of PC and handheld I/O capabilities such as PCIe, USB Host and Client and SDIO. The 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.

Personalized mobility on the way
Also at the IDF event, Dadi Perlmutter, executive VP and general manager of Intel 's mobility group, discussed the wave of personalization on tap that takes advantage of new notebook and notebook 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 would 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. It 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 transistor and manufacturing process that is suited for this new market.

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