Intel reveals Atom CPU speeds and feeds
2W TDP, anyone?
IDF Intel announced its 'Silverthorne' processor's brand, Atom, last month and today it completed the picture with speeds and feeds details of what is physically smallest CPU the company's ever made.
The Atom line-up comprises five CPUs all with 512KB of on-die L2 cache. The 800MHz Z500 and 1.1GHz Z510 both sit on a 400MHz frontside bus, while the 1.33GHz Z520, 1.6GHz Z530 and 1.86GHz Z540 have 533MHz FSBs. The latter incorporate HyperThreading, as expected, but the 400MHz FSB Atoms do not. All of them support SSE 3 instructions.
The Z500 has a TDP of 0.65W; the Z540's is 2.2W. All the processor in between these two are rated at 2W. In practice, that translates to average power consumption scores of 160mW (Z500) and 220mW (Z510 to Z540).
Prices run from $45 (the 400MHz FSB Atoms) through $65 (Z520) and $95 (Z530) to $160 (Z540).
These are the Atom processors - combine them with the chipset formerly known as 'Paulsbo' and a wireless adaptor and you get the Centrino Atom platform. Paulsbo's now called a System Controller Hub (SCH) because it combines northbridge and southbridge components, including a pair of PCI Express x1 ports; three SDIO and MCC memory card ports; a USB host and client controller; a memory controller capable of hosting up to 1GB of 533MHz DDR 2; and an integrated GPU.
The graphics chip supports DirectX 9 and is capable of churning out up to 400m pixels per second, Intel claimed, with 1080i HD accelerated decoding and the ability to drive an external screen at up to 1080i - not bad for a handheld.
That's the top-end SCH - two lesser versions, supporting up to 512MB of memory, knocking the FSB down to 400MHz, and dropping the HD video support, will also be offered.
Intel said it's shipping Atom and Centrino Atom "for revenue". It expects products based on the chips to go on sale "within 60 days".
How is it that a 3:1 difference in TDP translates to a 1.35:1 difference in power draw? Through the magic of lying on spec sheets?
"""I really hope we see these integrated into small form factor boards, even Micro-ATX as they would be excellent for homebrew firewalls if you could throw in a few network cards and a 2.5" HDD."""
Honestly a firewall doesn't need that much computing power. I've been looking at a mini-itx board with a 0.9W 500MHz Geode, dual gigabit, mini-pci slot, and a bootable CF card slot. Throw in a nice 600mW a/b/g wifi card and a 4gb CF card and you have yourself a nice / silent firewall and AP. I run a full on firewall on a PIII 450 right now, and it never goes over a few % cpu usage, even with QoS and Squid and 20mbit downloads.
I just hope this stuff makes it into a reasonable ultra portable laptop. I know its aimed at things the size of an Eee, but they've got more (Processing) power than my current (4 year old) ultra low voltage laptop CPU, which is plenty fast enough for me. But it probably won't run Vista well, so nobody will release it in a real computer... bah.
New Intel CPUs
Newegg got the Wolfdale E8400 yesterday -
I was going to buy a new system last month, but I'm holding out for a box with this puppy in it!