updated 12:10 am EDT, Wed April 8, 2009
Intel Moorestown Demo
Intel at its Developer Forum in Beijing today demonstrated the first public example of Moorestown, its next major update to the Atom processor. The first practical version is described as about 10 times more power-efficient than today's Atom chips courtesy of a smaller 45nm manufacturing process, power management and other optimizations. At the same time, the design is also smaller thanks to building in both the graphics and memory controllers into the main core while leaving just input and output to a second chip.
Moorestown is officially intended for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) that focus on basic online use and media playback but should be the first example of Atom power-efficient enough to work properly in smartphones, which have generally been off-limits to the x86 architecture and have been dominated by ARM.
At the same event, Intel also launched its two recently rumored Z500-series Atom updates. The 2GHZ Atom Z550 is Intel's fastest and includes Hyperthreading to simulate dual cores while still consuming the same 2.4W of typical power as a 1.86GHz processor. The second model, the Z515, is unique, according to its creator: while it normall runs at the same 800MHz as the base Atom chip, it consumes just 0.65W of energy in this state and can ramp up to 1.2GHz while consuming 1.4W. Changing clock speeds should theoretically allow MIDs and same-class devices to run much faster when needed without having to drain the battery excessively in a normal state.
The Z500 updates should be available today, but Moorestown is officially slated to ship sometime in 2001.