Intel talks Core i7 schedule, shows working Atom SoC


— 6:00 AM on October 20, 2008

At its latest developer forum in Taipei, Taiwan, Intel took the opportunity to shed light on several major upcoming products. The most interesting of those might well be Moorestown—the system-on-a-chip (SoC) successor to Atom—which Intel demonstrated in a working system for the first time ever at the event. Whereas Atom needs a discrete chipset to work, Moorestown fuses both components into a single chip:

Moorestown comprises of an SOC, codenamed "Lincroft," which integrates the 45nm processor, graphics, memory controller and video encode/decode onto a single chip and an I/O hub codenamed "Langwell", which supports a range of I/O ports to connect with wireless, storage, and display components in addition to incorporating several board level functions. [Anand Chandrasekher, Intel Senior VP and General Manager of the Ultra Mobility Group] stated that Intel is on track to reduce Moorestown platform idle power by more than 10x compared to the first-generation MIDs based on the Intel Atom processor.

Intel doesn't plan to have Moorestown out until 2009 or 2010, though. According to Intel's press release, Chandrasekher said Moorestown "will be a catalyst for exciting and innovative developments that will extend the full Internet experience into the smartphone space with the Communication MID." In non-marketing-speak, that sounds like the SoC might make its way into cell phones.

What about Core i7? Intel said at the event that its next-gen desktop CPUs will come out next month, and it spoke about future derivatives. The Nehalem architecture will debut first with Core i7 in desktops and with Nehalem-EP in "efficient performance" servers, but Intel will follow up in the second half of next year with four new variants: Nehalem-EX for the "expandable server market segment" and Havendale, Lynnfield, Auburndale, and Clarksfield for consumer desktops and notebooks.

We heard about these desktop and mobile variants from the rumor mill in July and August. If those early reports are accurate, Lynnfield will be a cheaper quad-core desktop CPU, while Havendale will fill in as the dual-core derivative. Auburndale and Clarksfield will both show up in notebooks, and the former will have an integrated graphics core. Folks in Asia have already caught pictures of Lynnfield engineering samples, too.

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