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Intel exec confirms 45nm UMPC CPU plan

'Tolapai' rather than 'Steeley'?

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Intel's upcoming ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) processor will be fabbed at 45nm and should power portable systems later this year, a company executive revealed this week.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini first promised a processor capable of running Windows Vista on a handheld device back in August 2005. Then, he said the chip would ship by 2010. One year and a month later, he revised that timeframe to a 2008 launch.

The comments made this week by Steve Dallman, head of Intel's global channel operation, speaking at the chip maker's Solutions Summit in San Diego, suggest an even more rapid rate of development. The "new ultra-mobile CPU" will come in addition to Intel's 45nm notebook, desktop and server processors, all based on the 'Penryn' architecture, and will be used in "ultra-mobile devices we'll see in the latter part of the year".

Dallman's timeline indicates the second-generation Samsung UMPC - launched last week as the Q1 Ultra - isn't based on the UMPC-specific chip. Samsung wouldn't say what chip the Q1 Ultra uses other than it's an "Intel New Technology" part. Most likely, it's the upcoming ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo, set to ship around the same May timeframe as the Q1 Ultra.

Shortly after Otellini revised his Vista-on-a-handheld, an Intel employee revealed the company had a UMPC-oriented CPU in the works, codenamed 'Steely' or 'Steeley'. Due H1 2007, it was said to offer the same performance as a Core 2 Duo but consume half as much power.

But Steeley was also said to be a 65nm part, suggesting it's not the UMPC-specific chip mentioned by Dallman. Our best guess is that Steeley is the Core 2 Duo ULV.

Dallman's 45nm chip may be 'Tolapai', the Pentium M-derived system-on-a-chip device that was first mentioned in presentation slides that leaked out in February this year. It combines a processing core with networking, I/O and security cores, and was said to consume 13-22W when clocked between 600MHz and 1.2GHz.

This sounds like the kind of chip you'd put in a UMPC. Or maybe Intel has something else up its sleeve...

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