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Intel Hardware

Intel Introduces Atom Chips For New Devices 50

Posted by timothy
from the good-century-for-it dept.
angry tapir writes "Not only has Intel recruited another company to produce Atom CPUs, as covered earlier on Slashdot, the chipmaker also unveiled four Atom chips that will go into devices such as entertainment systems for cars, videoconferencing devices, robots and interactive kiosks. The Z500-series Atom processors are integrated chips the size of a penny that draw little power and do not require fans to operate. The chips draw 2.5 watts of power or less and run at speeds of between 1.10GHz and 1.6GHz. The chips offer integrated 2D and 3D graphics and will be manufactured using Intel's existing 45-nanometer process."
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Intel Introduces Atom Chips For New Devices

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  • Still 10 billion shipments behind ARM.
  • Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, pre-decimal OR actually not a penny at all but a US cent?

    • According to Google definition search... [google.com]

      [...]
      * a coin worth one-hundredth of the value of the basic unit
      wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn [princeton.edu]

      Both?

      • Thanks, but I think you missed the point.

        This slashdot post has currency in it to indicate scale.

        Avoid using objects such as coins for scale, as they will require people unfamiliar with them to look up the dimensions or guess, both of which defeat the purpose of the object in the first place. Coins are particularly bad as they can reinforce a geographical bias.

        Ideally, a slashdot post should include SI/metric units, as they are the most commonly used worldwide.

        • Ideally, people would realize that Slashdot caters to a US audience [slashdot.org]. Realistically, people will continue to complain into the void.

        • by WhiteDragon (4556)

          Avoid using objects such as coins for scale, as they will require people unfamiliar with them to look up the dimensions or guess, both of which defeat the purpose of the object in the first place. Coins are particularly bad as they can reinforce a geographical bias.

          Ideally, a slashdot post should include SI/metric units, as they are the most commonly used worldwide.

          no, this is slashdot. We use units such as VW Beetles and Libraries of Congress.

    • Good question. I suppose you could realize that Intel is an American company and assume it's an American cent... but the article is from an Australian site - so who knows!
  • Looks good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ex-Linux-Fanboy (1311235) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @12:39PM (#27053287) Homepage Journal

    I remember going to an Intel job fair back in late 2005. During the fair, Intel told people that we are no longer in a day and age where everyone wants the fastest processor possible; for most computing tasks, the processors we have are fast enough and people are more interested in something that is inexpensive and lightweight.

    Indeed, the Intel atom is a good deal faster than the original Cray.

    I feel Windows XP is Microsoft's last release where they made improvements to the operating system that significantly affected the end-user's experience; it was a version of Windows with real memory protection. People's opposition to Microsoft basically shoving Vista down people's throat (however, one can easily buy XP by doing an appropriate shopping.google.com search [google.com]) is well-justified. Vista doesn't really offer anything that XP doesn't have. [1]

    I don't think the ARM processor is going to be real competition. Right now, a netbook can be had for as little as $200 (I have seen Dell have their low-end Linux Mini 9 on sale for $200 twice in the last month); the main expense with a netbook is the case, the screen, and the keyboard; the processor is not a significant expense. Nor is Windows XP, which Microsoft is making available for $40-$50 to netbook OEMs (and is forced to continually make available because of competition from Linux)

    - Sam

    [1] ClearType support for XP is a free download from Microsoft, along with the Vista fonts. Anyway, I don't like ClearType myself; I think Verdana is the perfect screen font and my eyes are trained to look at Verdana without anti-aliasing on the screeen.

    • by pslam (97660)

      Cost is only half the issue here. Power consumption is the other half. Even the current Atom offerings are absurdly more power hungry than your average system-on-chip ARM, and by absurdly I mean 100-1000 times more at "near-idle" tasks.

      I think you also need to factor in that most SoC ARM solutions are extremely integrated. I would be very surprised if you can find an Atom design that's cheaper.

      With any luck one of the major manufacturers will get over their fears and just ship a modern ARM Linux based net

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        With any luck one of the major manufacturers will get over their fears and just ship a modern ARM Linux based netbook and settle this matter at last.

        For this to be possible, I think we will need someone to figure out how to reduce the cost of a netbook to $100. Right now, it looks like the Intel Atom per-unit cost is $50; the lowest-price netbook is $200 so that gets the price down to $160, assuming someone can make the ARM chipset for $10. To further reduce the cost, we'll probably have to replace the

      • Re:Looks good (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Kegetys (659066) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @02:06PM (#27054671) Homepage
        > Cost is only half the issue here. Power consumption is the other half. Even the current Atom offerings are absurdly more power hungry than your average system-on-chip ARM, and by absurdly I mean 100-1000 times more at "near-idle" tasks.

        Indeed - I would happily pay more for an ARM SoC based "netbook" than an Atom based one, simply because of the extra freedom the low idle power consumption would give me. I have both an Atom based netbook (Acer Aspire One) and an ARM based internet tablet (Nokia N810). The Acer with its stock ~23Wh battery can do a bit over 2 hours of "desktop" use and maybe 3 hours of idle time. Because of this every time I want to use it, I need to wait for it to boot up which takes a significant amount of time*.

        Compare that to the N810, which can do 5-6 hours of use with its tiny ~6Wh battery and about 6-7 days of idle time. This means I dont ever need to bother turning it off or on, it is always ready to be used at any time. I can pick it up from the table, tap the screen and I can immediately begin browsing the web for example. When I'm done I just put it back, no need to turn anything off.

        Now the N810 of course is overall much much slower than the Acer (400MHz TI OMAP processor vs the Acer's 1.6GHz Atom), but you could quadruple its power use and it would still wipe the floor with the Atom. Give it a battery as big as as the Acer and it would propably go on for weeks of random daily use without needing a charge.

        * I can use suspend as well, but even waking up from it takes a while and when suspended it still seems to eat the battery at a good rate. Not to mention it cannot do any background tasks such as incoming email notification when suspended.
  • For Robots? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Who in their right mind would develop robotics on x86?

    There are a million different processors that would be much better suited for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Super custom robotics, probably not. Ditto size, weight, and power constrained systems. If, though, your industrial robot is already plugging into 3 phase to power its mechanical aspects, a few extra watts doesn't much matter, and being able to have that machine vision binary you licenced Just Work would be handy...

      So called "Industrial single board computers" running x86s have been around since the days when x=3(probably since the days when x=80; but I don't know), so there are clearly applications for
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Klintus Fang (988910)
      I too would like to see the CISC instruction sets of our desktop PC's replaced with a simpler RISC architecture. At the same time though I am beginning to realize that the CISC/RISC question is one of aesthetics. Nobody has ever really proven that it makes any difference, and the long standing success of the x86 architecture (not even Intel was able to kill it [...Itanium...]) suggest maybe it really doesn't matter.
      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        My opinion:

        Yes, the x86 architecture is aging in "inferior" in its original design to a more "pure" architecture like PowerPC.

        But in the end the realities of economics prevail - the original x86 architecture is old, but it has had billions of dollars per year pumped into live support, so most of the architectural flaws have had workarounds. (esp. with the advent of x86-64).

        The writing has been on the wall for PowerPC ever since Apple ditched them (note that of the two major manufacturers of general-purpose

  • Came perilously close to buying a beagleboard [beagleboard.org] this morning for a roll-it-yourself home media server (NAS / uPnP and so on), and just generally playing around with, when I discovered that it doesn't have onboard networking.

    I don't want to have to hang a USB network dongle on it and then deal with the driver issues, not to mention that 1Gbps networking would be nice and the 480mpbs of USB seriously crimps that already (though then again storage would be on USB as well, so I suppose it wouldn't be a real limit

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Via's Epia boards (mini-itx, nano-itx, pico-itx, ...) probably do all of what you want, as well as coming in a range of sizes from small to crazy tiny, but you'll have to sort out an OS and software yourself. Being x86 they can of course run Linux and Windows.

      • by ergo98 (9391)

        Since I was on the kick, your mention of mini-itx had me doing a bit of looking, and I ended up getting a D945GCLF2 (an intel all-in-one MB with onboard 1Gbps ethernet and a dual-core Atom 330). It will be interesting to see how useful of a NAS I can make that into.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 0123456 (636235)

          "It will be interesting to see how useful of a NAS I can make that into."

          The downside of the Atom motherboard for NAS is only two SATA ports. Mine is working fine as a combined SDTV MythTV box and 24/7 web/file server, but I think that eventually I'm going to have to replace it with a low-power AMD motherboard and CPU so I can add more hard drives and RAID them.

          • by ergo98 (9391)

            The downside of the Atom motherboard for NAS is only two SATA ports. Mine is working fine as a combined SDTV MythTV box and 24/7 web/file server, but I think that eventually I'm going to have to replace it with a low-power AMD motherboard and CPU so I can add more hard drives and RAID them.

            I almost went the route of making this a media center as well, however I use the Xbox 360 for that right now (in addition to a BR player), and held myself back from upgrading. However next will be a media center, where I'

        • Good call. A lot of people jump on these extremely-low-power hobby boards, and forget they're also extremely-low-performance. DMA helps a lot, but you really need a strong processor to move data at 1 Gbps. Several steps of sending ethernet data are handled by the processor, especially with typical low-end GbE chipsets.

          The Atom dual-core will make you much happier than an anemic Via C7.

  • Looking at what they're doing, it doesn't look like these are really new parts, just requalified for an extended temp. range and put in a package that is more robust and less expensive to use.

  • by jabjoe (1042100) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @03:34PM (#27055939)
    I think the rise of the cheap ARM linux netbook is something that scares both Intel and Microsoft. As consumers we will be the winners of the resulting battles. Personally, I can't wait for a linx netbook with a ARM length battery life. Just don't see what the Wintel world could offer me that could possibly compete. Maybe MS could try WinCE on ARM, but that won't have the world of software ARM linux has. If all the software is portable you can go for what ever processor architecture best for the job.
  • i remember reading about these chips on wikipedia recently. this got me searching and i found an article on anandtech.com from last april describing these chips. so how is this news?

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