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Intel plans ‘Timna’ PII-on-chip

Something interesting coming out of the embedded operation at last?

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Intel is planning a PC-on-a-chip processor, codenamed Timna, for rollout next year, according to a report in EE Times. And from its specification the chip looks like it will be coming out of Intel's embedded stable - this puts a certain amount of spin onto Intel's recent Applied Computing Platform announcement (See story). Timna will be built in 0.18 micron, based on a Pentium II-class CPU with 128k L2 cache, graphics controller and integrated Direct Rambus memory controller. EE Times gets particularly exercised about the expense of integrating the latter, but while this might mean it's a mistake to do this at this juncture, the general Intel plan to build its own components into single chip solutions is obvious. Note that the companies involved in Intel's Applied Computing Platform Provider programme are designing in fields where system-on-chip technology would be appropriate, and that they're already committed to using Intel components and advancing Intel standards. So they're going to be pretty close to the Timna development programme, and they're obviously going to be early adopters of Timna. Timna could be seen as another one of those Intel pre-emptive strikes, given that NatSemi ought to be rolling with products in the area any time now, but the choice of Rambus does suggest that Intel is in no great hurry. That technology isn't likely to be cheap enough to destabilise NatSemi in the short term. Alternatively, Intel may reckon NatSemi's problems are such that it won't be a serious challenger for a while. ®

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