Intel "Medfield" Atom Processors Expected In 2010
According to information revealed in a UBS report entitled 'Intel Atom : Netbook, Opportunity or Threat? ', Medfield will be the successor of Lincroft, part of the Moorestown platform, with a release date set for 2H 2010.
Medfield is expected to be manufactured using a 32 nm process and will integrate the processor, the graphics core and the I/O controller hub into a single chip. It appears that there may be two different versions of Medfield; one designed for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and one for netbooks. Their graphics subsystem would likely be different, with the netbook version using a more powerful Intel-designed graphics core and the MID version possibly using a PowerVR graphics core designed by Imagination Technologies.
Both graphics cores would likely still include at least basic multimedia functionality, such as hardware video acceleration. Before Medfield however, there would be the Moorestown platform, which will be designed for MIDs and smartphones. Moorestown will feature the Langwell chipset and the system-on-a-chip (SoC) Lincroft micro-architecture, which combines processor, memory controller and a PowerVR-based graphics core.
Moorestown is said to reduce power consumption by 50-percent to 90-percent, compared to that of currently available Silverthorne Atom processors. Moorestown is expected sometime in 2009 or 2010, in dual- and single-core flavors and will be manufactured using a 45 nm process.
On the netbook and nettop side of things, Pineview is also expected before Medfield, with its rumored release date being in the early second half of 2009. Pineview will replace the currently available Diamondville Atom processors, which are used in nettops and notebooks. Pineview will also use the Lincroft SoC micro-architecture, with integrated DDR2 memory controller and possibly an Intel-designed graphics core. Pineview will be available in both dual- and single-core flavors and will be manufactured using a 45 nm process, although some speculate a 32 nm process is possible.
The UBS report also gives an analysis of what the netbook market means for Intel. It was determined that the netbook market will not devour the existing notebook market, but rather it will help grow a new market alongside notebooks. Intel has recently been in a slump with its stocks, so it might be good news for investors to hear that the netbook market could become a new golden goose for Intel.
As for competition, Via is targeting its Nano processors towards until 2010. AMD on the other hand has said that it will avoid the netbook market all together, instead focusing on the mini-notebook market. The 11-inch to 13-inch mini-notebook market could still result in some overlapping competition from Intel Atom processors though, especially if future Atom processors prove to be powerful. Lastly, in the MID market, some believe Intel will face strong competition from ARM processors, but only time will tell for sure.