Intel Atom processor will be the name for a new family of low-power processors designed specifically for mobile internet devices (MIDs) and a new class of internet-centric computers arriving later this year.
The company has confirmed Intel Atom as the name for its processors previously codenamed Silverthorne and Diamondville.
Intel also announced the Intel Centrino Atom ("Menlow") processor technology for MID platforms, consisting of multiple chips that enable this Internet experience in a pocketable device. Intel Centrino Atom processor technology includes the Intel Atom processor, a low-power companion chip with integrated graphics, a wireless radio, and thinner and lighter designs.
The Intel Atom processor is based on an entirely new microarchitecture designed specifically for small devices and low power, while maintaining the Intel Core 2 Duo instruction set compatibility.
The design also includes support for multiple threads for better performance and increased system responsiveness. All of this on a chip that measures less than 25 mm², making it Intel’s smallest and lowest power processor yet.
These new chips will be manufactured on Intel’s 45nm process with hi-k metal gate technology. The chips have a thermal design power (TDP) specification in 0.6-2.5 watt range and scale to 1.8GHz speeds depending on customer need. By comparison, today’s mainstream mobile Core 2 Duo processors have a TDP in the 35-watt range.
With personal computing increasingly going mobile and the computer industry rapidly developing new classes of products to connect the next billion people to the internet, the Intel Atom processor offers customers the unique ability to innovate around the new low-power design. In addition to the MID opportunity, Intel believes the demand for a new category of low-cost, internet-centric mobile computing devices dubbed ‘netbooks’ and basic internet-centric desktop PCs dubbed ‘nettops,’ will grow substantially over the next several years. The Intel Atom processor is perfectly suited to meet these new market segments.
Intel said the Intel Atom processor also has potential for future revenue opportunities in consumer electronic devices, embedded applications and thin clients.