A New Atom Lineup: Pineview Previewed
So what about everything else? After all, Intel’s 945GSE came to the table with a single channel of DDR2-533 support, dual LVDS outputs, TV out, a 1 GB/s DMI connection, and support for up to a 667 MHz front side bus (in addition to the integrated GMA 950 graphics core).
As you might expect, it all migrates north into Intel’s Atom processor. The package now includes an integrated memory controller and an integrated graphics processor on a monolithic solution. But while that sounds like a massive design change, you’ll actually find that the platform’s core functionality stays the same, while ownership of certain capabilities shuffles around a bit.
Perhaps the most highly-anticipated evolutionary change moving from the Diamondville to Pineview processor is integration of a memory controller. It’s a single-channel design, but picks up support for DDR2-800, up to two DIMMs, and 4GB of peak capacity.
The processor’s DMI interface is also wider. Whereas the 945GSE employed a two-lane connection moving up to 1 GB/s, the Atom’s on-die I/O offers four 2.5 Gb/s lanes.
|Clock Rate||# Of Cores / Threads||L2 Cache||Memory Speed Support||TDP||Market|
|Atom N450||1.66 GHz||1/2||512KB||DDR2-667||5.5W||Netbook|
|Atom D510||1.66 GHz||2/4||1MB||DDR2-800/667||13W||Desktop|
|Atom D410||1.66 GHz||1/2||512KB||DDR2-800/667||10W||Desktop|
With entry-level Clarkdale-based Core i5 and Core i3 processors low on the horizon, the integrated graphics built into the latest Atom processors are going to be a disappointment to most folks. Intel is calling the new solution GMA 3150 and describing it as a refresh of its third-generation core. However, the specs look a lot like Intel’s GMA 950, also a third-generation derivative, or the GMA 3100 used in Intel’s desktop Bearlake chipsets. In other words, you’re getting four pixel pipelines running at 400 MHz with DirectX 9 support via software-based Vertex Shader 3.0 support and hardware Pixel Shader 2.0 support. Video acceleration is limited to MPEG-2 playback, so don’t expect a desktop based on the Atom D510 or D410 to accommodate Blu-ray movies. This actually turns out to be a bummer, because the US15W core logic already used to drive lower-power Atom-based devices includes licensed PowerVR SGX graphics able to accelerate MPEG-2, VC-1, and AVC in hardware.
The integrated core offers two display outputs: one analog VGA connection at up to 2048x1536 and one LVDS channel supporting 1366x768. This is another area where Intel’s core logic trails what Nvidia offers in Ion. At least on the desktop, the ability to enable a digital display output is going to be much more attractive than VGA connectivity.
What’s Not New
As I already mentioned, much of that functionality sounds very similar to what an Atom/945GSE platform enabled before, with a few pieces moved to make the two-chip platform possible and overall power consumption to drop.
As far as the processor itself is concerned, there’s very little separating the new Atom D510 from the familiar Atom 330—with the exception of one major physical difference. Creating the 330 involved two Atom 230s on a single package, manifest as two die. The Atom D510 is a single piece of silicon. Nevertheless, it populates a micro-flip chip package that measures 22x22mm—the same size as an Atom 330.
From there, though, the internals are hard to tell apart. They’re both manufactured using Intel’s 45nm high-k metal gate silicon process. They both sport 32KB of L1 instruction cache and 24KB of L1 data cache per core, plus 512KB of eight-way L2 per core (naturally, the D410 only includes the 32/24KB of L1 and 512KB L2). And of course, both are IA-32- and Intel 64-compliant. The pair supports SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3, are limited to C0 (operating) and C1 states.
As with the Atom 230 and 330, Hyper-Threading is a component of the Atom D410 and D510. So, a single-core processor is able to address two threads simultaneously, while a dual-core chip can work on four threads at a time.