New device class, new processor class, insanely low power draws. Oh the excitement!
It seems we can’t go a week right now without Intel stumping up details of yet another even less power-hungry processor. We already saw leaks of Diamondville details, but now Intel has made them official, under the name of Atom.
Confusing matters slightly, there’s actually two processor ranges, previously codenamed Diamondville and Silverthorne, that will come under the Atom banner. These are intended for sub-notebooks and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), respectively, so will have fairly different applications.
Atom chips will, as we know, be manufactured on the 45nm hi-k metal gate technology introduced with Penryn. Those destined for MIDs will have clock speeds ranging up to 1.8GHz and TDPs from an incredible 0.6W to 2.5W with idle power consumption is touted at as low as 30mW, a far cry from the 35W power draw of similarly clocked notebook Core 2 chips.
Previously codenamed Menlow, the Centrino Atom platform, in which these CPUs will be embedded, is set to offer support for WiMAX, WiFi and 3G/HSDPA, fitting in with the moniker of being an Internet device. Hopefully this should lead to devices like the Sony Vaio VGN-UX1XN but without the limitations, such as abysmal battery life.
It will still be a while after the announcement of the processors before we see MIDs using them, which is a shame because, now we have the details, the desire to get my grubby mitts on a system has increased tenfold.
Intel press release.