Intel christens Silverthorne as "Atom"

Summary:Intel has officially announced its new branding for the "Silverthorne" processor and the "Menlow" platform.  The Silverthorne processor will be called the "Intel Atom".

Intel has officially announced its new branding for the "Silverthorne" processor and the "Menlow" platform.  The Silverthorne processor will be called the "Intel Atom".  The Menlow platform will be called "Intel Centrino Atom".  The Intel Atom processor will be used in the Intel Centrino Atom platform.  The new Atom logos are shown below.

Intel released technical details of the new Silverthorne processor last month at ISSCC 2008.  This latest announcement gives Silverthorne and Menlow their official branding and their official logos.  Intel also released high resolution die shots at the right hand side of their press release.  A cut down rotated version of the die shot is shown below.

Here's a summary of the new "Atom" processor:

  • Equivalent on single-threaded performance to original Pentium M "Banias" processor.  Faster if SSE3 instructions are used in the application or if multiple threads are involved.
  • 0.6W TDP (Thermal Design Power) to 2.5W TDP
  • Up to 1.8 GHz and DailyTech says sources inside Intel are saying that the 500 MHz version goes down to 0.6W TDP.
  • Idle power consumption can drop as low as 0.01W to 0.1W
  • Deep power down C6 state
  • Optimized register-file and cache 6T bits cells
  • CMOS mode on quad-pumped FSB IO
  • Split IO power supply
  • Single CPU core 2-issue in-order pipeline
  • SMT (Symmetric Multithread) architecture
  • 25mm^2 die size (2500 CPUs per 300mm diameter wafer)
  • Can achieve 2GHz core frequencies at 1.0V
  • Intel VT (Virtualization Technology)
  • Intel 64 architecture (formerly EM64T and compatible with AMD64)

Intel's press release also mentions the processor codenamed "Diamondville".  DailyTech reported some leaked information that Diamondville would be released in a single and dual-core version at 4W and 8W TDP.  Diamondville will be soldered on to an Intel 945GSE chipset motherboard and judging from the photo, it looks to be a replacement for the D201GLY and D201GLY2 developing market platforms.  The Intel D201GLY2 uses a lower power Celeron 220 (Core Solo architecture) with a TDP of 17W so Diamondville is a huge boost in energy efficiency.  The current D201GLY and D201GLY2 also utilizes a third party SIS chipset which doesn't support S3 sleep/suspend states while the Diamondville 945GSE platform will.

Given the fact that it's highly unlikely (too expensive) that Intel would design a whole separate CPU for this type of a solution, it is very possible that Diamondville is simply a soldered-on-motherboard derivative of Silverthorne and the dual-core version is simply an MCM (Multi Chip Module) version of Silverthorne.  AnandTech's Anand Lal Shimpi seems to agree with this theory and goes on to explain that the slightly higher TDP with slightly lower 1.6 GHz clock is simply due to a higher voltage allowing for much higher yields.  Since this is for the low-cost value market segment, that theory makes a lot of sense.

At present time Intel seems to be hinting that Diamondville will also carry the "Atom" branding but they're vague on the specifics.  What is certain is that the emerging market will enter in to a whole new level of energy efficiency and the appliance/embedded do-it-yourselfers like me are drooling over Diamondville's power specifications.

Topics: Intel, Hardware, Processors

About

George Ou, a former ZDNet blogger, is an IT consultant specializing in Servers, Microsoft, Cisco, Switches, Routers, Firewalls, IDS, VPN, Wireless LAN, Security, and IT infrastructure and architecture.

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