Intel Introduces Atom Chips for Smartphones, Tablets

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2010-05-05
 
 
 

Intel unveiled its newest Atom processor-based platform, which the company said provides significantly lower power consumption and prepares Intel to target a range of computing devices, including high-end smartphones, tablets and other mobile handheld products. The platform includes the Intel Atom Processor Z6xx Series Family (formerly the Lincroft system-on-chip (SoC)), the Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20 (formerly Langwell) and a dedicated Mixed Signal IC (MSIC), formerly Briertown.

The new platform supports a range of scalable frequencies, up to 1.5 GHz for high-end smartphones and up to 1.9 GHz for tablets and other handheld designs. The chips also bring support for Wi-Fi, 3G/HSPA, and WiMAX, as well as a range of operation systems, including Google's Android and Nokia's Meego. The Processor Z6xx Series Family, Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20 and the dedicated Mixed Signal IC are currently available.

The platform has been repartitioned to include the Intel Atom Processor Z6xx, which combines the 45nm Intel Atom processor core with 3-D graphics, video encode and decode, as well as memory and display controllers into a single SoC design. It also includes the MP20 Platform Controller Hub, which supports a range of system-level functions and I/O blocks. Additionally, a dedicated MSIC integrates power delivery and battery charging, and consolidates a range of analog and digital components.

"Intel has delivered its first product that is opening the door for Intel Architecture (IA) in the smartphone market segment," said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group. "Through 'Moorestown,' Intel is scaling the benefits of IA while significantly reducing the power, cost and footprint to better address handheld market segments. As a result of our efforts, the Intel Atom processor is pushing the boundaries of higher performance at significantly lower power to show what's possible as handheld devices become small, powerful mobile computers."

Building on the C6 state in the original Intel Atom processor design, the SoC incorporates new ultra-low-power states (S0i1 and S0i3), which take the SoC to 100 micro-watts. At the platform level, Intel implemented a new, fine grain OS power management approach that manages the idle and active power states across all aspects of the system based on usage scenarios. This software-managed technique applies aggressive power and clock gating across the SoC's power islands and system voltage rails.

"After we delivered the first-generation Intel Atom processor with 10x thermal power reduction, we challenged ourselves to achieve 50x power reduction at the platform level," said Belli Kuttanna, chief Intel Atom processor architect. "We are delighted to have exceeded this goal while increasing performance and are proud of the architects and designers who consistently reinvent the possibilities of Intel Architecture."

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