New ‘Pineview’ 400 and 500-series chips still top out at 1.66GHz but boost performance and battery life due to streamlined two-chip design.
Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini is taking a pocketful of chips to January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – but the ones stamped with ‘Atom’ brand are a pretty safe bet.
Netbooks have once again been a smash hit, if not the sole bright spot, in the year’s PC sales charts, and buoyed by Windows 7 and Google’s Chrome OS that trend continue into 2010.
Intel is also pushing the pint-sized yet punchy processor beyond netbooks and low-cost ‘net-tops’ including all-in-one desktops, into home servers, automotive systems, indeed anywhere that low-power but relatively high-performance x86 chips be deployed.
When Otellini takes to the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton for his CES keynote on Thursday January 7, the second generation of Atom processors will be ready to build on that goal.
Intel is expected to follow up the current Atom ‘Diamondville’ processors with two lines of the Atom ‘Pineview’: the single-core 400 series and the dual-core 500 series. The first wave of these will all be pegged to a 1.66GHz clock speed, although a peppier 1.83GHz chip is slated to follow in March.
The chip of choice for netbooks will be the Atom N450, replacing the current N270 and N820. Most desktops and home servers will be built around the Atom D410, although some manufacturers will opt for the dual-core D510 with its 1MB of L2 cache (double that of the single-core chips).
Pineview’s advantages over the first-gen Atom silicon is the integration of the processor, graphics and memory controller onto a single 45nm chip for greater performance efficiency.
Paired to Intel’s NM10 Express chipset (codenamed ‘Tigerpoint’) for I/O – a combination dubbed the ‘Pinetrail’ platform – Intel expects a 50% drop in power consumption along with a 70% reduction in package size.
Pinetrail systems should also be capable of smoother graphics through to 720p HD, with manufacturers also be able to add an optional off-package HD graphics decoder chip from Broadcom to handle 1080p HD video.
Otellini may also use the CES to preview Intel’s forthcoming ‘Moorestown’ Atom chip for smartphones, mobile Internet devices and other consumer electronics kit.
Moorestown is a highly integrated design ‘system on a chip’ or SoC design which rolls the processor, graphics, video encode/decode and memory controller onto a single 45nm chip or ‘CPU hub’ codenamed Lincroft.
Lincroft will be coupled to a specialised I/O hub codenamed Langwell which will provide the connections to a device’s wireless, storage and display components, along with advanced power management to completely shut down unused subsystems rather than pout them into a low-power standby mode.
The goal for Moorestown is to slash the overall system power drain to a mere 10% of the current Atom series.