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Tom's Talks Moorestown With The Father Of Centrino

Tom's Talks Moorestown With The Father Of Centrino
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With its new Atom platform, Moorestown, Intel has made a lot of exciting claims and hinted at significant changes in our computing future. All good stuff, but we need more answers. To find them, we sat down with Intel’s godfather of ultra-mobility.

Last month, we took a deep dive into Intel’s new Moorestown platform for ultramobile devices, the Atom Z6xx processor (Linfield), and Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20 (Langwell). We described some of the performance you could expect to see on Moorestown devices. Now, you can see it in action courtesy of a Computex video shown here.

While it’s fun to sit around and poke jabs like, “Yeah, but can it play...?” the point is that Moorestown has thrown down the performance gauntlet for the rest of the ultraportable industry. Before Centrino, we had low-power notebooks and wireless networking. But with Centrino, suddenly there was a unified vision that propelled that market segment forward at a much faster rate—fortunately for buyers. While Intel hasn’t made a big branding push in handsets and tablets (yet), the technical underpinnings of such a branded platform are now in place. The functionality of these devices is about to take a significant leap.

Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar arrived at Intel in 1993 as “the P6 Multiprocessor architect.” He’s known within Intel as the “father of Centrino” and perhaps the leading authority on Moorestown. Officially, he’s an Intel Fellow and director of UMG (Ultra Mobile Group) Platform Architecture for the Intel Architecture Group. If any one person in the world should be able to address deep-dive questions on Moorestown and the future of handheld computing, it should be Ticky. Intel granted us an hour with the master of ultramobility to learn what could be learned...

Tom's Hardware: Let’s start existentially. Why are we all here today? What is the meaning of Moorestown?

Ticky Thakkar: Our vision was to figure out how to put a computer into a smartphone, if you want to call it that—and we did. We have basically squeezed the computer into a smartphone. Now, why did we do that? We have a dream of having awesome computing capability inside the phone that delivers the real Internet just the same as on your PC. You should also have PC-like capability in that small form factor. We want to leverage the software capabilities the PC has and the performance you can get out of it, as well, like being able to download a real Web page in under six to eight seconds. That’s what users really expect. Being able to view the same Flash content as a PC so you’re not going to a different Web site to get an alternate version. We want to deliver an uncompromised experience in this kind of device.

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  • 1 Hide
    whitecrowro , June 21, 2010 6:32 AM
    "Why are we all here today? What is the meaning of Moorestown?
    Ticky Thakkar: Our vision was to.."
    - pardon me, but all this naming sound like a Star Trek interview, on Tau Cygna (M class planet in Orion Nebula).
  • 7 Hide
    cmcghee358 , June 21, 2010 6:52 AM
    It would be nice to see Intel take a jab at discrete desktop graphics. If anything just to provide more competition for the consumer.
  • 0 Hide
    liquidsnake718 , June 21, 2010 8:14 AM
    It would be nice to see that Zune HD ver 2.0 or even 3.0 with an updated Moorestown and a better Nvidia chip than the ion or ion2, with capabilities of at least 2.0ghz and 2gb of ram all the size of the zune.... imagine with 48hours on music, and 5 hours of video, this will only get larger as time goes by.... hopefully in a year or a year and a half we can see some TRUE iphone competition now with the new windows mobile out! We just need more apps
  • 1 Hide
    Onus , June 21, 2010 1:18 PM
    It never occurred to me to want an iPhone, but I definitely see one of these in my future.
  • 2 Hide
    matt314 , June 21, 2010 1:32 PM
    cmcghee358It would be nice to see Intel take a jab at discrete desktop graphics. If anything just to provide more competition for the consumer.

    ...discrete desktop graphics is a pretty niche market. Without any experience in the field or specialized engineers, it would cost them alot of money in R&D, and they would not be able to beat ATI or nVidia (neither in performance nor sales)
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , June 21, 2010 1:54 PM
    Maybe its just me but I read the entire thing and Mr. Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar came off as a arrogant ********.
  • 3 Hide
    Onus , June 21, 2010 1:59 PM
    cknobmanMaybe its just me but I read the entire thing and Mr. Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar came off as a arrogant dickhead.

    Merely disagreeing with you doesn't merit a "thumbs-down," but I didn't get that impression. Confidence, maybe; his experience no doubt backs that up, but I didn't find him arrogant. I liked how he called BS on the FUD.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , June 21, 2010 3:49 PM
    I read his comments carefully and found that those were carefully chosen words. Confidence is very much needed to get the support everyone while remaining factual.

    In summary, I expect their device to be better performing than anything else in the future at the expense of a huge and heavy battery to power the Atom and the Huge screen making use of excess performance.

    cknobmanMaybe its just me but I read the entire thing and Mr. Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar came off as a arrogant dickhead.

  • 0 Hide
    cjl , June 21, 2010 4:11 PM
    zodiacfmlI read his comments carefully and found that those were carefully chosen words. Confidence is very much needed to get the support everyone while remaining factual.In summary, I expect their device to be better performing than anything else in the future at the expense of a huge and heavy battery to power the Atom and the Huge screen making use of excess performance.

    Did you read the article? One of the points raised was that the battery life should be just fine, contrary to many people's assumptions.
  • 1 Hide
    eyemaster , June 21, 2010 4:15 PM
    He knows his product, the targets to meet and what they have accomplished. I'm sure they experimented on competing devices too. The man knows that they have a great product in their hands right now that beats all the others. That makes him confident, not arrogant.
  • 0 Hide
    noob2222 , June 21, 2010 4:39 PM
    Quote:
    TT: We’ve added graphics capability that includes both vertex and floating point, as well as the rendering capabilities increasing. But you have to really look at system-level performance. The key thing there is whether we provide enough bandwidth capability to the graphics accelerator. Because if you don’t, most of these things will get choked right where you need the bandwidth. Balancing system throughput is key. Look at our memory subsystem and design internally. We put in a lot of energy in there to make sure we have a very effective bandwidth, not just for the CPU but also for the accelerator. Unfortunately, I can’t go into more details than that at this point.


    Otherwise "our GPU will still suck, but the CPU will be faster making the GPU seem faster"
    If they can make a phone with a sliding panel to enlarget the screen, that would be cool. Putting a laptop to your ear to make a call makes me laugh.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 21, 2010 7:06 PM
    I'm interested in the newer Atom platform!
    Too bad Windows is dependent on the PCIE bus. Perhaps it would be possible to have a windows patch that could re-rout the PCIE bus to whatever bus the mobile device has replaced it with!
    That way you'd be able to run windows on this mobile device, and you could lower the power consumption of an Atom processor system even further!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 21, 2010 7:07 PM
    ProDigit80Too bad Windows is dependent on the PCIE bus. Perhaps it would be possible to have a windows patch that could re-rout the PCIE bus to whatever bus the mobile device has replaced it with!

    Or perhaps a null driver.
  • 1 Hide
    JonnyDough , June 21, 2010 7:52 PM
    Quote:
    Maybe connectivity’s not available or, if you’re traveling abroad, for example, that connectivity may be very expensive. Our view is that you want to do as much as possible on the handset and then use the cloud. Connectivity is going to be king for this class of mobile devices, but you don’t want to depend on it to do your work.


    I'm surprised he didn't mention SECURITY, as this is usually a #1 issue with the idea of cloud computing.
  • 1 Hide
    ta152h , June 21, 2010 9:18 PM
    x86 isn't going anywhere on phones. It's too inefficient, and there is already an established base. They ran into the same thing with Larrabee when they tried to move x86 to GPUs.

    They'll get shut down again.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 22, 2010 1:44 AM
    Yeah, this is what Intel does best... If you can't use your dominance to win (or at least stifle) the competition, just spin a complete loss into a victory. ARM is 100% superior in this form factor, period. x86 still uses too much power, it's only advantage is that it can run Windows. Anybody who's kept up with various Linux OS for the past couple of years realizes that Windows compatibility just isn't much of an advantage anymore.
  • 0 Hide
    amnotanoobie , June 22, 2010 2:51 AM
    Would love to see what they could do with the Atom with the lessons they learned on this one.

    With the netbook cannibalization, might it be that they have just made new customers that wouldn't have bought a full-blown notebook anyway?
  • -1 Hide
    elel , June 22, 2010 3:00 AM
    This sounds cool, but the release that I am really looking forward to is buldozer.
  • -1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , June 22, 2010 3:14 AM
    TA152Hx86 isn't going anywhere on phones. It's too inefficient, and there is already an established base. They ran into the same thing with Larrabee when they tried to move x86 to GPUs. They'll get shut down again.


    Nofrom what I can see. This CPU delivers more performance and at about the same power envelope as most UMDs out there. So whats the loss?

    And besides, while Atom is based in x86 it is nothing like standard x86 CPUs.
  • 0 Hide
    ordcestus , June 22, 2010 5:07 AM
    matt314...discrete desktop graphics is a pretty niche market. Without any experience in the field or specialized engineers, it would cost them alot of money in R&D, and they would not be able to beat ATI or nVidia (neither in performance nor sales)

    They certainly won't try again anytime soon. of course the discrete graphics market has maybe 20 years left and then they'll be like sound cards where the motherboard has an integrated one thats great already
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