Intel offered a sneak preview of its next-generation notebook platform, “Calpella,” at its fall Intel Developer Forum in Taiwan. The new platform will offer processors based on Intel’s “Nehalem” microarchitecture and a number of power-saving features to increase battery life in laptops.
At the IDF show, Shmuel ‘Mooly’ Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Mobile Platform Group, offered a demonstration of the Calpella platform during his Oct. 21 keynote address. Calpella, a follow-up to the Centrino 2 platform that was launched in July, is due in 2009.
When the Calpella platform does come to market, Intel plans to include processors based on the soon-to-be-released Nehalem architecture. The first of the Nehalem chips will enter the PC market in November. After that Intel will offer Nehalem-based processors for high-performance computing and single-socket servers.
The Nehalem processors for the Calpella platform are now code-named Auburndale and Clarksfield.
The Nehalem processors will offer an integrated memory controller, which will eliminate the traditional Intel FSB (front side bus) architecture and offer a boost in performance without increasing the clock speed. Intel is also planning to offer several power-saving features with Calpella, including power switches that allow each individual processing core to shut off or power down when it’s not needed. Intel has designed the platform to allow the processing cores, memory system and I/O to run on independent voltage and frequency planes to increase the energy efficiency of the platform.
Intel has also included a technology called Hyper-Threading, which allows for two instructional threads per core with Nehalem-based chips. Another technology, called Turbo Boost, can increase or decrease the overall performance of the microprocessor depending on the demands of the application.
At this season’s IDF, Intel has concentrated on its mobile and laptop offerings for 2009. On Oct. 20, Intel demonstrated its “Moorestown” platform, which is Intel’s second-generation platform for mobile Internet devices, or MIDs. Moorestown will include an SOC (system on a chip) design code-named Lincroft and will likely appear in 2009 or 2010.
In addition to Moorestown, Intel executives talked about what the company is calling UrbanMax, which will allow vendors to create small form-factor devices for Web surfing. These types of devices will use special versions of Intel’s Core 2 Duo, Core Solo, Celeron and Atom processors. These processors will have a TDP (thermal design power)-an Intel term that refers to how much heat a chip has to dissipate-that is much lower than the 35 watts typically found in most laptop platforms.
The die size of 22 millimeters square for these processors is akin to what Intel now offers with its Atom processors for low-cost PCs and MIDs. In a statement, Intel did not specifically explain how its UrbanMax offering will differ from the types of platforms it is offering to vendors building MIDs.