March 3, 2008

Intel to introduce the Atom family

Intel Corp. has picked “Atom” as the new brand name for its latest microprocessor, the world's largest semiconductor company said. The Intel Atom processor is the name for the new family of low-power processors, the brains of digital devices, that will power mobile Internet devices and ultra low-cost and small notebook and desktop personal computers.

Intel sees a big market for the Internet-connected devices that can fit in one's pocket and for what it is calling the netbook, a low-cost PC costing around $250 (U.S.).

The Intel Atom processor is based on a new microarchitecture designed for small devices and low power consumption, Intel said. The chip is less than 25 square millimetres, and 11 of the chip's dies – the slivers of silicon with 47 million transistors each – would fit in an area the size of a U.S. penny.

The new chips, previously code-named Silverthorne and Diamondville, are made on Intel's 45 nanometer chip making technology and slated for introduction toward the middle of this year.

“Diamondville and Silverthorne both represent an attempt by Intel to sell chips profitably for a whole lot less,” said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at market research firm Insight 64. “This is the first new processor design coming out of Intel since the Pentium Pro in 1995.”


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