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2010's Centrino Atom to pack 2008 CPU

'Moorestown' update more about process than processors

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IDF Intel disappointed some pundits today by failing to go into details about 'Moorestown', the next generation of its newly christened Centrino Atom brand, aka 'Menlow'. Worse, it emerged the system-on-a-chip simply takes today's Atom CPU and delivers it in a different form-factor.

It's an impressive form-factor nonetheless. Intel mobility chief Anand Chandrasekher showed off what he claimed was effectively the world's smallest PC motherboard: a two-inch square sliver on which Moorestown will be placed when it ships in the 2009/2010 timeframe, a scheduled Chandrasekher reiterated today.

The Intel exec confirmed past reports that Moorestown comprises 'Lincroft', which is the SoC, and a separate I/O chip, 'Langwell'.

Lincroft will integrate a DDR 3 memory controller, Chandrasekher confirmed, in addition to the graphics chippery the part was already known to contain - and as you might very well expect an SoC product like this to contain.

However, to date we've not known what processor the integrated chip will incorporate. Now we do: it's a 45nm 'Silverthorne', Intel said. Silverthorne is the codename for Atom, the UMPC- and handheld-oriented processor first mentioned at IDF a year ago and detailed today.

In short, Lincroft is more about processor integration than CPU innovation, equipping it with northbridge functionality rather than delivering more advanced technology.

It's that integration - which will also apply to Langwell, undoubtedly fabbed using a smaller process node than Paulsbo is - that will deliver the 10x reduction in idle power consumption that Intel has promised Moorestown will deliver over the current generation of Centrino Atom.

Langwell is Moorestown's I/O part. Intel didn't say anything about its capabilities, but it's expected to pack in USB, PCI Express, memory card, display and other controllers, much as 'Paulso', the Centrino Atom System Controller Hub (SHC) does.

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