Sunday, May 4, 2008

Intel Atom Processor

Intel has developed a new processor 'Atom', with very low power requirements in the sub 3 watt range, and also while supporting a highest frequency of up to 1.86GHz. Manufactured using the new hafnium-infused 45nm high-k silicon technology, Intel Atom processors pack an astounding 47 million transistors on a single chip measuring less than 25mm², making them Intel's smallest and lowest power processors. This processor has been mainly focussed towards latest Mobile Internet Devices.

Some features of the Atom Processor are:
  • Single-core processor for mobile devices offering enhanced performance

  • On die, primary 32-kB instructions cache and 24-kB write-back data cache

  • Hyper-Threading Technology 2-threads

  • On die 512-kB, 8-way L2 cache

  • Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT)

  • Thermal management support

  • Intel® Deep Power-Down Technology

  • L2 Dynamic Cache Sizing

  • Advanced power management features including Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology

The technologies used by Intel for Atom Processor are:

High Performance Technology
  • Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology: Provides performance & support for multi threaded applications enabling increased performance and system responsiveness in multitasking environments by enabling the processor to execute two instruction threads in parallel.

  • Intel® Virtualization Technology: It is a set of hardware enhancements on the Intel® Atom processor series providing the flexibility to run dual operating systems and applications in independent partitions.

  • Intel® Digital Media Boost: Enhanced Performance on Floating Point intensive applications such as CAD tools, 3D & 2D modeling, Video Editing, Digital Music, Digital Photography & Gaming

  • Intel® Smart Cache: Smarter, more efficient cache & bus design thus offering even more efficient data sharing, providing enhanced performance, responsiveness and power savings.

  • Power Optimized Front Side Bus: 533MHz FSB provides increased data bandwidth as compared to prior generations (400MHz) for faster data transfer.

  • Enhanced Data Prefetcher: Efficient speculation and loading into L2 cache of data likely to be requested by processor.

Low Power Capabilities

  • Enhanced Intel® SpeedStep® Technology: Allows for better match of performance to application demand.

  • Deep Power Down Technology with Dynamic Cache Sizing: Dynamic Cache Sizing saves power by turning off Cache ways that have had data saved in memory. This power saving feature enables 80-100mW idle power and 160-220mW average power for the processor.

  • Low Thermal Design Power: Lower thermal design power enables thinner, lighter MID devices as it reduces the cooling requirements.

  • Mobile Voltage Positioning: Dynamically lowers voltage based on processor activity to lower thermal design power.

  • Enhanced Deeper Sleep: Saves power by flushing cache data to system memory during periods of inactivity to lower CPU

Ultra Small Form Factor CPU Package

The new lead free, halogen free Micro-Flip Chip package (13x14mm) is 85% smaller than a notebook processor (35x35mm)

The Power requirement for the Atom Processor are

Power Requirement
Lower FrequencyHigher Frequency
0.65 W600MHz0.8GHz
2 W600MHz1.1GHz
2 W800MHz1.33GHz
2 W800MHz1.6GHz
2.4 W800MHz

Technology & Computers