AMD has extended its range of low-power Geode x86 processors. It has also introduced new benchmarks for low-wattage processors, which the company will use in a performance-power numbering scheme. This is another step away from using a pure speed rating for differentiation, a trend AMD started in 2002 with its PC processors. Intel recently dropped its speed rating system in favour of a features-related scheme.
The new chip is called the AMD Geode NX 1500@6W, which runs at one volt and consumes six watts at one GHz: a faster version, the Geode NX 1750@14W, runs at 1.4 GHz and uses 14 watts. Aimed at fanless systems, the Geode NX includes a 266 MHz front side bus, 384KB of cache and is fabricated in a 130nm process optimised for low leakage currents.
AMD bought the Geode product line from National Semiconductor last year, but this is the first part based on AMD's own Athlon core. The old parts use a completely different architecture and have been renamed Geode GX firstname.lastname@example.orgW Despite the name, the Geode NX does not include AMD's 'NX' code protection technology, recently introduced with its Athlon 64 to limit the ways malicious software can run on a system.
Although the Geode series was seen as an embedded chip, primarily for use in stand-alone products such as kiosks and control systems, AMD's new Geode Solutions benchmark include productivity components such as Winbench 99 and consumer-oriented tests involving instant messaging, Web browsing, Flash display and video playback. The company is positioning the Geode NX against Intel, Transmeta and Via's Centaur low power x86 products, and says it supports Windows XP, XP embedded, WinCE and Linux.