Sunday, April 6, 2008

Intel Atom Processors Set to Get Embedded Graphics Core, Memory Controller – Rumours

In spite of the fact that the market of ultra-small form-factor systems is not large now, Intel Corp. pins a lot of hopes on that market with its recently-introduced Intel Atom processors. In fact, not only microprocessors for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) may be in plans: according to certain unofficial sources, next-year Intel plans to release Atom-branded system-on-chip (SOC) with memory controller and graphics core.

The next-generation Intel Atom products will greatly differ from today’s implementations in many ways. The new chips code-named Pineview will be based on code-named Lincroft micro-architecture, therefore, their performance per-MHz is likely to be different compared to today’s Intel Atom chips featuring code-named Silverthorne micro-architecture. More importantly, the new Atom chips will also feature built-in single-channel DDR2 memory controller as well as built-in graphics core, reports PC Watch web-site.

Just like in case of fist-generation Intel Atom processors, Intel Pineview chips will feature simultaneous multi-threading technology and will be available in single-core and dual-core versions. It is not clear whether dual-core Atom-series processors will use single-die design or dual-dies design.

Exact thermal design power of the next-generation Intel “Pinview” Atom microprocessors is unclear, but it is rumoured that the processors will be made using 45nm process technology, the same that is used to manufacture today’s central processing units (CPUs) for small form-factor low-cost devices. Given that the presence of graphics core and memory controller are likely to increase power consumption of a solution, it is highly likely that the new Pinview chips will support very aggressive power saving features. But while energy preserving mechanisms help to prolong battery life of mobile devices, they cannot cut down chips’ temperatures under high load, which means that products on their base may get rather hot and hence uncomfortable to use.

Highly-integrated low-power and cost-efficient Intel Atom system-on-chip is likely to enable a breed a affordable computing devices with capabilities more or less in-line with today’s needs, provided that performance of the processing and graphics cores will be high enough.
Intel Corp. did not comment on the news-story.

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