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Monday, March 3, 2008

Intel chooses 'Atom' name for new chips

Intel Introduces ‘Atom’ Brand For Its Innovative Microprocessors.
Intel Corp couldn’t have chosen a better name for the latest family of low power microprocessors - “Atom”, with two versions coming up sometime this quarter, namely what was previously known as Silverthorne and Diamondville.

Intel’s smallest microprocessors are especially designed for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) – Silverthorne, and a new class of low-cost Internet-centric computers named “netbooks” that will become available later this year – Diamondsville. The low cost computers will have an estimated price of $250.

“This is our smallest processor built with the world’s smallest transistors,” said Intel Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Maloney in a statement. The new chips will be based on Intel’s 45nm cutting-edge technology, will have a thermal design power (TDP) specification in 0.6-2.5 range and scale to 1.8 GHz, depending on the customer’s needs.

“This small wonder is a fundamental new shift in design, small yet powerful enough to enable a big Internet experience on these new devices,” Maloney also said. “We believe it will unleash new innovation across the industry,” he added.

The California-based company strongly believes that the Intel Atom processors have great revenue potential in consumer electronic devices, embedded applications and thin clients.

Intel also announced the Intel Centrino Atom processor technology brand for MIDs, formerly known as “Menlow”. This Intel Atom processor - a low-power companion chip with integrated graphics – will support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WiMax, GPS and will have a lighter, thinner design.

The Intel Atom processor is designed for small, low-power devices, while maintaining the Intel Core Duo 2 instruction set compatibility consumers are accustomed to, measures less than 25 mm², making it the smallest and lowest power processor yet.

“Soon, you will see the Intel Centrino Atom brand on handheld devices that can bring an amazing internet experience in a device that fits in your pocket. You’ll see the Intel Atom processor powering a growing category of devices aimed at delivering affordable, Internet-centric uses”, wrote Brian Fravel Intel Director of Marketing, Brand Strategy, on the company’s blog.
Intel introduces the Atom processor

you thought the Intel processor inside the MacBook Air was small, think again. We had anticipated that Intel was going to launch a new line of low-power processors today, and they did so in the form of the new Atom processor, which according to the Santa Clara-based company is by far the smallest processor ever built by them.

The chips previously codenamed Silverthorne and Diamondville are based on an entirely new architecture and have been designed from the ground up to consume as little power as possible. Intel plans to target two main markets: with Silverthorne they hope to get inside the so-called 'Mobile Internet Devices' (MIDs). The more powerful and a bit more power hungry Diamondville will be targeted at small form factor laptops like the Asus Eee PC.

The Atom will be manufactured on an 45nm process and will carry a TDP specification in the 0.6-2.5 watt range - which is minuscule compared to a mobile Core 2 Duo's 35w TDP. Though comparing these CPUs' performance output would make no sense at all since they are aimed at completely different markets, the Atom is still a fully working x86 processor. To give you a better idea of how small these CPUs are, here's a promotional video from the Intel Mobility team blog.

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