Intel didn’t neglect Ultra-Mobility

Moorestown and phones

INTEL LEFT THE most impressive parts of their Computex messaging for last, the so called ultra-mobility segment. This category encompasses handheld widgets, micro-laptops, phones and other gadgets.

By far, the most significant showing was Moorestown, the next gen Atom for low low power applications. Until now, there were two Atoms, Silverthorne and Diamondville, the former for MIDs, the latter for netbooks. The main difference between them is that Silverthorne used a dedicated low power chipset while Diamondville was saddled with desktop parts.

Lincroft Block Diagram

Moorestown block by block

Since the core CPU was the same, Intel could get away with swapping out chipsets and having two very different platforms as a result. With Pine Trail, the vast majority of the chipset has been subsumed into the core, and the same is true for Lincroft, the CPU for Moorestown.

Lincroft die

Anand’s hand shows off Lincroft

Lincroft and Moorestown are dedicated to one thing, low power. Intel has long promised a 10x idle power reduction when going from Menlow (Silverthorne’s platform) to Moorestown, and they delivered. Not only did they hit the 10x reduction, but Intel managed to get the CPU to around 50x the idle power of Menlow.

If you are about to turn your nose up at this number, think about one thing, mobile phones. Mobile phones spend most of their time in an idle state, sitting in your pocket waiting for you to wake them up. Menlow had far too much idle power, around 100mW, to ever serve phone duty. 50x less, and you have a potential winner.

Lincroft wafer

Lincroft Wafer behind many shiny things

Much of what Moorestown does is save power by more aggressively powering down functional blocks and external devices. The move to a more SOC architecture helps control more functional blocks directly, and external devices can be more tightly coupled as well. In the end, it works, or at least the demo does.

The goal is 24 hour battery life, not standby, but real use. According to the chairman of Quanta, they have achieved that with the M1 navigation and entertainment device. Other companies showed off 3, 4 and 5 inch screen devices based on Moorestown, some of which look fairly interesting.

Phone or MID

Inventec phon….err… MID

One of the stars of the show was an Inventec phone-ish device with a 5″ screen. Coupled with an Intel Evan’s Peak Wi-Max module, or just 3G, you have quite a powerful mobile device. LG had previously announced a phone, and everyone at Intel is hinting strongly at more to come. Moblin vs Android, the next step in internecine Linux evolution.

If you are wondering how much power a Moorestown chip has, Intel was showing off a machine that bore more than a passing resemblance to an OQO box running Quake III. It may be an old game, but on a handheld with hours of battery life, it is quite impressive.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate