SAN JOSE, Calif. Intel Corp. is applying its 45nm process technology to a new processor designed for ultramobile PCs. The chip, code named Silverthorne, is Intel's first ground up design aimed at a new class of mobile systems smaller than notebooks but larger and more feature rich than cellphones.
At the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing this week, Anand Chandrasekher, general manager of Intel's ultra mobility group, said Intel will deliver before June 2008 a new platform called Menlow that uses the new CPU. The platform will also include a chip set called Poulsbo, he said.
It's not clear whether Intel can establish a new form factor in this space that sits awkwardly between the size and functionality of cellphone and notebooks. However, in a sign of its optimism, the company is applying its much-sought 45nm technology to the effort as well as top talent from executives such as Chandrasekher who led the wildly successful Centrino notebook effort.
Gadi Singer, a senior Intel engineering manager who worked on both Intel's Itanium server as well as its failed cellphone processor, is overseeing the design of the new ultramobile CPU.
In another IDF presentation, Intel senior fellow Mark Bohr said the company now has working versions of the 45nm Silverthorne processor. It is one of more than 15 45nm designs in the works at Intel today, he said. Intel will have two 45nm manufacturing fabs in production by the end of the year, with four in production by the second half of 2008, Bohr added.
In the near term, Intel has launched an ultramobile PC platform called McCaslin, based on an Intel A100 or A110 processor and chip set. The A110 is an 800 MHz CPU based on the Pentium M used in notebooks. It dissipates 3W on average and has a 400 MHz front-side bus and 512 Kbytes of level two cache.
Chandrasekher also announced the formation of the Mobile Internet Device Innovation Alliance. The group will work on engineering challenges behind ultramobile PCs including power management, wireless communications, and software integration. It's not clear who are the members of the new group.
Separately, Intel disclosed a few details about the road map for its notebook processors. The company will deliver in May a new notebook platform called Santa Rosa that uses a two-core processor, 802.11n chip set and Intel's flash memory acceleration technique called Robson.
In the first half of 2008, the company will refresh the Santa Rosa platform with a 45nm notebook processor that is part of its upcoming Penryn family. In late 2008, Intel plans a notebook processor called Montevina with 40 percent smaller components, aimed at sub-notebook designs. The chip will include integrated hardware decode for high-definition video.
Intel will make its integrated Wi-Fi/WiMax chip set available as an option with Montevina-based notebooks.