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Next-gen Atom to clock above 1GHz

'Moorestown' CPU gets auto-overclock tech

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IDF Intel's 'Lincroft' Atom system-on-a-chip for handheld internet devices - including high-end smartphones - will clock to more than 1GHz, it has emerged.

The chip giant isn't saying what the part's 'standard' clock speed will be. The gigahertz frequency is what the chip - the main processing component of the upcoming 'Moorestown' Mobile Internet Device (MID) platform - can achieve momentarily through its Burst Performance Mode.

Like the Turbo Boost facility introduced with the 'Nehalem' desktop and mobile CPU architecture, BPM allows Lincroft to automatically overclock itself if data from its thermal sensors show it can do so safely.

The logic of this sudden burst of performance is that it allows Lincroft's processor to get the job in hand done more quickly. In turn, the CPU is able to return to idle mode sooner, saving power. According to Intel, it's better to spend power overclocking the CPU briefly than running it at a lower frequency for longer.

Lincroft will also overclock its memory bus - its memory controller will support regular DDR 2 and low-power DDR 1 chips - to minimise latency while the CPU is itself overclocked.

Exceeding 1GHz is a key goal for Intel's Atom designers, not least because rival ARM-based mobile processor, Qualcomm's 8250, clocks at 1GHz today.

Lincroft, the successor to today's 'Silverthorne' Atom processors incorporates not only a CPU core - the same 'Bonnell' design found in Silverthorne - but also a graphics engine, memory controller, and video decode and encode engines.

It will be accompanied an I/O chip, 'Langwell', and is due to ship mid 2010. ®

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