Sunday, June 1, 2008

Atom Processor

It's well known, Intel is one of the greatest chip maker in the world. While other companies might have developed mind-bogling processor or SoC architecture, Intel is still on the top of all in the term of fabrication process technologies.

The recent Intel System-on-Chip (SoC) processor called Atom processor reveals the use all new hafnium-infused 45nm high-k silicon technology while packs an astounding 47 million transistors on a single chip measuring less than 25mm².

The power consumption is astounding. While idling, it sucks up only milliwatts of power. In full throttle, it may go up to 2.5 W, which is still far away from the most power-efficient other processors made by Intel. Although a recent news reveals that VIA also is making a competitive processor, yet it is uncomparable to Atom in term of clock and CMOS size (they still use 65nm process).

The family of this processors is named Z5xx series (previously called Silverthorne). With clock frequencies spand from 800 MHz to 1.83 GHz and 533 MHz FSB, this processor is definitely going to compete heavily with it's own elder brother, Pentium4 Centrino.

Te following features are copied-pasted from Intel website:

  • Fastest performance in a sub 3 watt thermal power envelope based on industry leading benchmarks (EEMBC) and web page rendering performance
  • Greater energy efficiency enabled by incredibly low average power (160-220 mW) and idle power (80-100 mW) and scaling performance from 800MHz to 1.86GHz
  • Power-optimized front side bus of up to 533MHz for faster data transfer on demanding mobile applications†
  • Scalable performance and increased power efficiency with multi-threading support²
  • Improved performance on multimedia and gaming applications with support for Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 (SSE3)
  • Improved power management with new Deep Power Down (C6) technology state, non-grid clock distribution, clock gating, CMOS bus mode, and other power saving architectural features
  • 10x lower thermal power level enabled by improved power management technologies delivering high performance to run the real Internet and a broad range of software applications³

I'm eager to see a device using this processor. Perhaps next generation iPhone or googlePhone? Who knows.

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