The Moorestown Breakdown
Let’s get down to business. Moorestown is a mobility platform comprised of three key components:
Lincroft: Now known as the Atom Processor Z6xx, this is a 45 nm SoC part integrating a processor core, memory and display controllers, graphics engine, and a video engine. Why go 45 nm when the Core family is already transitioning to 32 nm and the object of the game is to be smaller? Because Moorestown was already in development when the 32 nm process change came online. In short, Intel’s time to market was faster with 45 nm, and the company could still achieve its goals on the larger node.
Langwell: This is the Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20, manufactured on a 65 nm process. Now that most of the yesteryear’s headlining chipset features have migrated to the CPU, most of what’s left in the PCH is I/O-related, although there are still a few surprises lying in wait.
Briertown: This is a dedicated Mixed Signal IC (MSIC) designed to manage power across the entire motherboard. You’ll also see the part referred to as a Power Management IC, or PMIC. Briertown is critical to Moorestown’s power-saving capabilities, but it’s actually manufactured by third-party vendors, including Freescale, Maxim, and NEC.
The fourth component that should probably be lumped in with the Moorestown platform is wireless connectivity, but this part remains too variable to be easily defined. As with Briertown, Intel has worked with numerous providers on several components that dovetail with Moorestown’s needs. Out of the gate, expect 3G products such as the M340 data/voice chip from ST-Ericsson, along with the Marvell 8688 for 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and Infineon’s Hammerhead 2 for GPS. More exciting will be Intel’s Wireless Multiconnection 3200, code-named Evans Peak, which will offer the 4-in-1 bundle of WiMAX, 802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth, and GPS on a single adapter.
We’ll dig into each of these pieces in the following pages. As we move through the group, keep in mind that Intel had four objectives for Moorestown, best summarized by this foil:
Among all of the points Intel wants to make with this launch, one stands far above the others: Atom’s power problems are over in the ultramobile segment. With an audio playback runtime of roughly two days and standby time exceeding 10 days, Intel can now play with the other phone chip big boys, especially ARM. Beyond that, Intel devices will be smaller than before, excel in compatibility, and deliver performance (particularly on media) that blows every other option on today’s market out of the water.
If that sounds a bit hyperbolic at first glance, let’s examine the details.