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Intel Xscaling the heights

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Intel's low power consumption XScale architecture will eventually replace StrongARM in Chipzilla's portfolio, Ron Smith, VP of the chip behemoth's wireless communication group, said today.

XScale has evolved from StrongARM - with which it is instruction set compatible - and which Intel has a unique licence to modify, according to Smith. The first handheld devices should appear in the second half of 2001 and feature extremely low power consumption - Intel is now referring to mW per MIP.

An XScale device should be able to deliver 1,000MIPs at 1.6volts and around 750MIPs at 1.3volts while consuming just 160mW of power.

The 0.18micron devices will feature a new power management system called Dynamic Voltage Management (DVM) which will increase voltage dynamically as processor load increases, such as when playing MPEG video, and drop back down when the CPU becomes more lightly loaded.

XScale devices will feature two power steps, the values of which will vary according to the performance of the device. High performance parts will switch between 1.6V and 1.3V, while lesser chips will run at either 1.0V or 0.75V.

Asked whether XScale had any rivals, Smith replied "Just one - StrongARM". ®

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