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Intel introduces ultra-mobile PC platform

'Stealy' revealed as Centrino for UMPCs

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IDF Intel's Ultra Mobile Platform (UMP) came out of the shadows today and with it the A100 series of processors for UMPCs and internet access devices. So did its successor, codenamed 'Menlow', set to ship less than a year from now.

UMP links the A100 and A110 CPUs with the 945GU and ICH7U north and south bridges. As the names suggest, they're derived from Intel's existing chipset products. The A100 and A110 are believed to be 'Dothan' Pentium M chips with 512KB of L2 cache and support for a 400MHz frontside bus speeds, and incorporate the deep sleep state that will be a feature of the upcoming 'Santa Rosa' mobile Core 2 Duo revision.

But there's no reduction in the processor's heat output compared to current UMPC CPUs, so expect UMP-based devices to have active cooling on board.

The 945GU supports LCD panels and can host TV ports. It has a PCI Express lanes for a discrete GPU, and can handle up to 1GB of 400MHz DDR 2 memory. The south bridge has a single parallel ATA 100 channel, HD Audio and can host three PCI devices.

The CPU - codenamed 'Stealy' - may be a tweaked laptop processor, but its successor, 'Silverthorne', is being "designed from the ground up... specifically for ultra-mobile systems", Intel's ultra-mobility chief, Anand Chandrasekher, said. Silverthorne is a 45nm chip, Intel's sixth processor design at that size.

Silverthorne will be paired with a similarly freshly-made chipset, 'Paulsbo'. Together, CPU and chipset comprise 'Menlow', the second generation of UMP. It will consume half the power of the first version of UMP and a quarter of what existing UMPCs, most of the based on ultra-low voltage Celeron Ms, consume.

Intel employees let slip the existence of Stealy last September, but it's a part the chip giant has kept very quiet about until today.

Samsung confirmed that the Q1 Ultra UMPC it introduced in March does indeed use Intel's UMP, as does HTC's Shift handheld, announced last month. Expect UMP-based products from Aigo, Asus, Fujitsu and Heier too, Chandrasekher said. UMP components are shipping to device manufacturers, he added.

And, we'd hazard a guess, Apple - what chip is the iPhone based on? Apple hasn't said, but we'd put money on UMP...

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