Intel today made several announcements at its spring IDF conference in Shanghai. The first batch of announcements came in the form of Atom, Intel’s much talked about line of processors targeted at the ultra-mobile PC market - much like the ASUS Eee PC. In fact, the next-generation Eee PC is primed for an upgrade to Atom processors.
In the lineup are a total of five Atom processors: ranging from 800 MHz to 1.86 GHz in speeds. Speed steps include Z500 800 MHz, Z510 1.1 GHz, Z520 1.33 GHz, Z530 1.6 GHz and Z540 1.86 GHz. All Z500 series will feature HyperThreading technology.
Package sizes for the Atom processors are incredibly tiny, measuring just 13mm x 14mm with the die itself coming out at 25mm^2. The Z500 (Silverthorne) series of Atom processors are branded under the Centrino Atom line, focusing on small in-your-pocket devices such as portable multimedia players, hand held browsers and other small devices Intel dubs as MIDs or mobile Internet devices.
Supporting Centrino Atom processors will be Intel’s Paulsbo system controller hub (SCH). Paulsbo will be a major milestone for Intel the the ultra mobile market thanks to the inclusion of 3G (EV-DO), WiMAX and WiFi technologies. The HSC will also include entry level 3D hardware acceleration, high-definition audio support and video output capable of 720p and 1080i resolutions.
In terms of network connectivity, Dell recently announced that it will also introduce laptops this year with integrated 3G technology using Qualcomm’s chipset. Having integrated 3G will give mobile users a true wireless experience, without having to rely on looking for a WiFi hotspot.
Larger devices like Asus’ Eee PC, will use Atom processors under the N series designation starting with the N270 (Diamondville) running at 1.6 GHz. For use in devices Intel calls Nettops, Atom N270 will help drive interest in UMPC platforms. Unfortunately, even with the introduction of several platforms late last year, the UMPC market has been slow to pick up.
Correction 04/03/08: Incorrect Atom die size was previously stated as being 13mm x 14mm. This is in fact for the package of the chip. The die size is even smaller for the Z500 series, measuring just 25mm squared.