32 and 22 nm at Intel Developer Forum

1 billion+ transistors, that is what is possible with the newer 32nm fabrication process showcased at the Intel Developer Forum. ‘Westmere’ products based on 32nm are expected by this year.

There was also a showcase of 22nm SRAM fabricated chip. Intel is also working with 32nm for Atom processors to reduce the power requirements to the level of ARM processors.

32 nm Arrandale can run encryptions accelerated by hardware AES instructions. This enables faster encryption without the overheads of software processing of encryption instructions.

I wish they make the execution speed of Atom processor equal to about desktop Core2 series processor.

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NVIDIA Ion Platform

Nvidia has introduced the ION platform, coupling NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics solution with Intel Atom processor.

Graphics powerful small NVIDIA Ion Platform

Graphics powerful small NVIDIA Ion Platform

Advantages? It can run video at full HD resolution of 1080p. Its now possible to play many games at better frame rates on an Atom processor, which were not possible with the older Intel 945 chipset platform. It’s also possible to use Windows Vista on an atom. With Linux based OS you now run Compiz Fuzion with all the 3D effects enabled.How about keeping you friends wondering, how your little machine can do so much with Compiz Fusion on Linux.

The ION platform has hardware accelerated decoding of H.264 and MPEG-2 formats. But all this will come at the cost of battery life. The use of this graphics solution is seen as a bottleneck on the battery life of current netbooks. Definitely, it’s not for those who just do a bit of word-processing, online surfing on their netbooks. Also gaming on an tiny 10-inch screen is not worth it. Though I guess manufacturers will bring in bigger screen based on Atom processors soon.

Ok, after all its dis-advantages that overpower advantages, why am I talking about this platform. May be because you can connect a bigger monitor you an netbook, and go gaming at your relatives house with all the gaming progress saved on the netbook.

The bigger arena I hope to see this platform succeed is the Home Theatre PC (HTPC) market, where low power requirement is big boon, but the requirement are not very high. There’s no need of a power hungry graphics card and processor. You think you will use this combo for you next Home Theater PC? Another competitor for Nvidia Ion Platform is Nvidia Tegra.

Asus EEE PC

asus-eee-pcThe name Eee is an abbreviation of “Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play”. Asus started the range of netbooks with 7 inches screen, and later advanced to a 10.2 inches screen.

The technical specifications of the Asus EEE PC are:

  • Display: 7 inches with resolution 800 x 480, 8.9 inches and 10.2 inches with resolution of 1024 x 600
  • Processor: The models EEE PC 900A, 901, 1000H, 100HA and 1000 use the Intel Atom processor. Other models use the 900 MHz Intel Celeron-M processor
  • Graphics: The 7 inch variants have the Intel GMA 900 graphics processor, the 8.9 and 10-inch variants have Intel GMA 950 graphics processor
  • RAM: 512 MB for the 7 inch variants and 1GB for 8.9 and 10 inch variants
  • Storage: 2 GB to 8GB Solid State Drive for 7 inches variants. 4 GB to 16GB Solid State Drive for 8.9 inches  variants, 32 GB Solid State Drive for 10 inch EEE PC 1000. The 8.9 inch 904 HD and 10 inch 1000 HD contain 80 GB Hard Disk, 10 inch EEE PC 1000 H, 1000 HA contain 160 GB Hard Disk.
  • Additional storage: SD, SDHC, MMC, MS and MS Pro support.
  • Wireless support: 802.11b/802.11g wireless LAN
  • LAN: 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
  • Three USB 2.0 ports.
  • Camera: 0.3 megapixel to 1.3 megapixel
  • Operating System: Xandros Linux or Windows XP but other operating sysytems like Eeebuntu are also avaiable
  • Dimensions: From minimum 225 × 165 × 35 mm to maximum of 265.9 × 191.3 × 38.1 mm
  • Battery life: Vary depending upon models. Minimum of 2.45 hrs for 7 inch variants to maximum of 7.8 hrs for 10 inch variants.
  • Some variants support bluetooth and wireless 802.11n
  • Audio: High definition 5.1 audio support
  • Additional ports: Microphone input, headphone jack, VGA out

The Asus EEE PC is available in colours White, Galaxy black, Lush Green and Sky Blue. The prices vary depending upon the model chosen starting at $249.

MSI Wind U100


MSI Wind U100 the $560 ultra-mobile PC from MSI has finally hit the market. With so many companies getting into the market, the competition in UMPC market is getting hotter, with increasing options for the end user.

The technical specifications of the MSI Wind U100 which measures 260 mm x 180 mm x 31 mm are:

  • 10 inch display with resolution of 1024 x 600
  • Intel Atom N270 Processor (1.6 GHz)
  • Graphics Driver: Intel GMA 950
  • 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM (Windows XP), 512 MB DDR2 SDRAM (Linux) 667MHz
  • 80 GB Hard Drive SATA
  • SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro card support
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.0 (optional)
  • Ethernet 10/100
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • 1.3 mega pixel web-camera
  • OS: SUSE Linux or Windows XP
  • Battery Life: 2.5 hrs 3-cell, 5.5 hrs 6-cell

It will also sport VGA port, MIC-in and Line-out port. It weighs around 1.2kg and will be available in three colours White, Pink and Black.

It will cost $399 and $549 ie Rs 17000 and Rs 24000 in terms of direct conversion for Linux and Windows XP version respectively.

Acer Aspire One


Acer launched its $399 ultra portable notebook the Acer Aspire One.

The technical specifications of the Acer Aspire One which measures 9.8 inches x 6.7 inches x 1.14 inches are:

  • 8.9-inch display with resolution of 1024 x 600
  • Intel Atom N270 Processor (1.6 GHz)
  • Graphics Driver: Intel GMA 950
  • 512 MB or 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • 80GB Hard Drive (XP) or 8GB Solid State Drive (Linux)
  • SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, xD-picture card support
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • Ethernet
  • Three USB 2.0 port
  • One PCI slot for WWAN
  • 1.3 mega pixel camera
  • OS: Linpus Linux Lite or Windows XP

The battery life expected is 2.5 – 5 hours for XP version and 3 – 7 hours for Linux one on 3 and 6 cell batteries respectively. It also sports a VGA port and 3.5mm audio out.

All these features at an unbelievable weight of 1 kg.
It cost $399 for Linux version and $600 for Windows version ie INR 17000 and INR 26000 respectively in terms of direct conversion.

Intel Atom Processor

Intel has developed a new processor ‘Atom’, with very low power requirements in the sub 3 watt range, and also while supporting a highest frequency of up to 1.86GHz. Manufactured using the new hafnium-infused 45nm high-k silicon technology, Intel Atom processors pack an astounding 47 million transistors on a single chip measuring less than 25mm², making them Intel’s smallest and lowest power processors. This processor has been mainly focussed towards latest Mobile Internet Devices.

Some features of the Atom Processor are:

  • Single-core processor for mobile devices offering enhanced performance
  • On die, primary 32-kB instructions cache and 24-kB write-back data cache
  • Hyper-Threading Technology 2-threads
  • On die 512-kB, 8-way L2 cache
  • Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT)
  • Thermal management support
  • Intel® Deep Power-Down Technology
  • L2 Dynamic Cache Sizing
  • Advanced power management features including Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology

The technologies used by Intel for Atom Processor are:

High Performance Technology

  • Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology: Provides performance & support for multi threaded applications enabling increased performance and system responsiveness in multitasking environments by enabling the processor to execute two instruction threads in parallel.
  • Intel® Virtualization Technology: It is a set of hardware enhancements on the Intel® Atom processor series providing the flexibility to run dual operating systems and applications in independent partitions.
  • Intel® Digital Media Boost: Enhanced Performance on Floating Point intensive applications such as CAD tools, 3D & 2D modeling, Video Editing, Digital Music, Digital Photography & Gaming
  • Intel® Smart Cache: Smarter, more efficient cache & bus design thus offering even more efficient data sharing, providing enhanced performance, responsiveness and power savings.
  • Power Optimized Front Side Bus: 533MHz FSB provides increased data bandwidth as compared to prior generations (400MHz) for faster data transfer.
  • Enhanced Data Prefetcher: Efficient speculation and loading into L2 cache of data likely to be requested by processor.

Low Power Capabilities

  • Enhanced Intel® SpeedStep® Technology: Allows for better match of performance to application demand.
  • Deep Power Down Technology with Dynamic Cache Sizing: Dynamic Cache Sizing saves power by turning off Cache ways that have had data saved in memory. This power saving feature enables 80-100mW idle power and 160-220mW average power for the processor.
  • Low Thermal Design Power: Lower thermal design power enables thinner, lighter MID devices as it reduces the cooling requirements.
  • Mobile Voltage Positioning: Dynamically lowers voltage based on processor activity to lower thermal design power.
  • Enhanced Deeper Sleep: Saves power by flushing cache data to system memory during periods of inactivity to lower CPU

Ultra Small Form Factor CPU Package


The new lead free, halogen free Micro-Flip Chip package (13x14mm) is 85% smaller than a notebook processor (35x35mm)

The Power requirement for the Atom Processor are
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Power Requirement
(W)
Lower Frequency Higher Frequency
0.65 W 600MHz 0.8GHz
2 W 600MHz 1.1GHz
2 W 800MHz 1.33GHz
2 W 800MHz 1.6GHz
2.4 W 800MHz 1.86GHz