According to Intel, Atom processors are designed specifically for both mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and a new class of simple “Internet-centric computers arriving later this year”.
While maintaining instruction set compatibility with the Core 2 Duo, the Atom is based on a new microarchitecture optimised explicitly for small devices and low power requirements.
Manufactured on a 45nm process, with hi-k metal gate technology, Intel states the chips have a thermal design power (TDP) specification in the 0.6-2.5 watt range, which compares with a TDP in the 35-watt range for current mobile Core 2 Duo processors. In terms of clock speeds, the new chips will run at up to 1.8GHz.
Note that there will also be a Centrino Atom processor brand for MID platforms – formerly codenamed Menlow – made up of multiple chips to support Net access in a “pocketable device,” to use Intel’s term.
“This is our smallest processor built with the world’s smallest transistors,” said Intel executive VP and chief sales and marketing officer, Sean Maloney. “This small wonder is a fundamental new shift in design, small yet powerful enough to enable a big Internet experience on these new devices. We believe it will unleash new innovation across the industry.”
You can read the full Intel Atom announcement here.