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Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Intel Launches Moorestone Platform For Smartphones, Tablets

Intel unveiled a new version of its Atom platform, promising lower power consumption, cheaper cost and smaller size to better target smartphones.

Intel's newest Atom processor-based platform, (formerly "Moorestown") provides significantly lower power consumption and prepares the company to target a range of computing devices, including high-end smartphones, tablets and other mobile handheld products.

"Intel has delivered its first product that is opening the door for Intel Architecture [IA] in the smartphone market segment," said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group. "Through "Moorestown," Intel is scaling the benefits of IA while significantly reducing the power, cost and footprint to better address handheld market segments. As a result of our efforts, the Intel Atom processor is pushing the boundaries of higher performance at significantly lower power to show what's possible as handheld devices become small, powerful mobile computers."

The platform includes the Intel Atom Processor Z6xx Series Family (formerly "Lincroft" system-on-chip [SoC]), the Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20 (formerly "Langwell") and a dedicated Mixed Signal IC (MSIC), formerly "Briertown." (more information available here).

The platform has been repartitioned to include the Intel Atom Processor Z6xx, which combines the 45nm Intel Atom processor core with 3-D graphics, video encode and decode, as well as memory and display controllers into a single SoC design. It also includes the MP20 Platform Controller Hub which supports a range of system-level functions and I/O blocks. Additionally, a dedicated MSIC integrates power delivery and battery charging, and consolidates a range of analog and digital components.

Collectively these new chips deliver significantly lower power including >50x reduction in idle power, >20x reduction in audio power, and 2-3x reductions across browsing and video scenarios ? all at the platform level when compared to Intel's previous-generation product. These power savings translate into >10 days of standby, up to 2 days of audio playback and 4-5 hours of browsing and video battery life. When combined with 1.5-3x higher compute performance, 2-4x richer graphics, >4x higher JavaScript performance, and support for full HD 1080p high-profile video decoding and 720p HD video recording, these low-power chips bring a PC-like visual experience to powerful handheld computers.

Building on the C6 state in the original Intel Atom processor design, the SoC incorporates new ultra-low-power states (S0i1 and S0i3), which take the SoC to 100 micro-watts. At the platform level, Intel implemented a new OS power management approach that manages the idle and active power states across all aspects of the system based on usage scenarios. This software-managed technique applies aggressive power and clock gating across the SoC's power islands and system voltage rails. Additionally, Intel used a new high-K 45nm2 LP SoC process to support a multiple transistor design with a range of high-voltage I/Os.

These power management capabilities, when combined with Intel Burst Performance Technology for high-performance on demand, and Intel's Bus Turbo Mode for high-bandwidth on demand, help to deliver high performance and power efficiency across a range of handheld devices.

The Intel Atom Processor Z6xx Series Family, Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20 and the dedicated Mixed Signal IC are available today.

The new platform supports a range of scalable frequencies, up to 1.5 GHz for high-end smartphones and up to 1.9 GHz for tablets and other handheld designs. The chips also bring support for Wi-Fi, 3G/HSPA, and WiMAX, as well as a range of operation systems, including Android, Meego and Moblin.

Intel's new platform is espected to compete with low-power offerings from Nvidia, Marvell and Qualcomm, which are already making headway with cheaper, low-power processors based on designs by ARM Holdings.

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