Intel announces 2GHz Atom Z550

Written by Ben Hardwidge

April 8, 2009 | 14:55

Tags: #2009 #2ghz #anand #atom #beijing #chandrasekher #hd #hyperthreading #idf #moorestown #power #video

Companies: #intel

While celebrating Atom’s first birthday at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing, Intel also took the opportunity to announce the first 2GHz Atom CPU – the Z550. As well as sporting a 2GHz clock speed, Intel says that the Z550 will also support Intel’s Hyperthreading technology, while still consuming less than 3W.

The new CPU was announced by Intel’s senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group, Anand Chandrasekher, during his Mobility Keynote at IDF. Chandrasekher described the new CPU as “the first 2GHz processor that will fit in your pocket,” and said that the Z550 is already in production. The new 2GHz chip is intended to be used with Intel’s US15W System Controller Hub, which supports up to 2GB of 533MHz DDR2 memory.

As well as this, Chandrasekher also revealed the new Atom Z515 CPU; a low-power CPU that only consumes 0.6W. However, the processor is equipped with Intel’s Burst Performance Technology, which enables the CPU to run at up to 1.2GHz when high performance is needed. However, Chandrasekher didn’t reveal the normal clock speed of the CPU when idle.

Naturally, Chandrasekher managed to get through the whole keynote without once referring to Nvidia’s Ion platform, despite showing off the Atom’s HD video and gaming capabilities using Intel’s own chipsets. Chandrasekher asked the audience for a show of hands of people who thought that Quake couldn’t be run on an Atom-powered device. Unsurprisingly, no one put their hand up, although Chandrasekher put this down to the audience knowing that he was going to prove them wrong, rather than the more likely reason, which is that they have a reasonable knowledge of games and technology.

He then attempted to wow the audience with a demonstration of the decidedly ancient Quake III Arena running at 20fps on a mobile Atom-based device. However, we have to say that this is pretty rubbish when you consider that relatively recent games, such as Lego Star Wars, Trackmania Nations and even Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, can run on an Nvidia Ion platform at 1,024 x 768 at an average of 25-30fps, also using an Atom CPU.

Chandrasekher also provided a demo of Intel’s forthcoming “Moorestown” platform for mobile devices, which showed a dramatic reduction in power (10x when idle) when compared with a standard Atom platform. Moorestown will feature a new system-on-chip (SoC) codenamed “Lincroft”, which will contain a 45nm Atom core, as well as a memory controller and graphics chip. Meanwhile, a new I/O hub codenamed “Langwell” will complete the platform, along with a new version of the Linux-based Moblin OS. Moorestown is due to be launched in 2010.

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