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The Intel Atom 2 Processor Tech Report
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The Intel Atom 2 Processor

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On March 15, 2008, we revealed details of Intel's new Atom processors, based on the Diamondville and Silverthorne cores, as well as the new Centrino Atom platform. Since then, the Intel Atoms have gone on to heights of success that belied their tiny size. Although the likes of ARM and VIA also offer competing products that in some ways are superior to the Intel Atoms, it is the Atoms that have driven the remarkable surge in the netbook market.

Although the Intel Atom processors represent a new level of energy-efficiency (with a TDP of just 2-4 W), the chipsets they are paired with are actually older mobile chipsets that consume a lot of power. These chipsets, in a way, has hobbled the energy-efficiency of the Intel Atom processor.

You will recall that the current Intel Centrino Atom platform is a rather antiquated 3-chip solution made up of the Intel Atom processor, an Intel 945GC/GSE graphics and memory controller hub (north bridge) and an Intel IC7/7M south bridge. The reliance on the older mobile chipsets have resulted in a much higher power consumption than Intel would readily admit.

Take for example, the Intel Atom N270 processor which has a TDP of just 2.5 W. In contrast, the Intel 945GSE Express chipset which is often used with it has a maximum TDP of 9.3 W. In short, the chipset consumes almost 4X more power than the Intel Atom processor.

Today, Intel shared with us some details of their forthcoming Atom 2 processor (codenamed Pineview) and Centrino Atom 2 platform (codenamed Pine Trail). The new platform will finally feature a simpler two-chip solution, which is more efficient and more cost-effective. Although Intel did not give us a fixed date for the launch, they said that it will be in the market by the end of 2009. Let's take a look at the preliminary details...


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