IDF: More details on the Diamondville 4W processor
Intel has confirmed plans for a "Nettop" platform '08 at IDF in Shanghai; the platform will consist of a mini-ITX mainboard with a Diamondville processor soldered onto it. The neologism for a low-spec PCE corresponds with Intel's Netbooks, for which the company is developing a Basic Mobile Platform '08 with Atom version N270.
For some time now, there have been rumours about a mini-ITX board codenamed Shelton '08, and Intel has now provided some technical details. The platform will not be presented before June, probably around the time of Computex Taipei. Two processor varieties are planned: a single-core 4 watt version and a dual-core 8 Watt version. Intel recommends either the SiS671 chipset supplied by SiS or the 945GC, which consumes 22 Watts. Although in practice chipsets generally only consume a fraction of the rated power consumption value, it is also clear that chipsets often place a greater burden on a computer's cooling system and consume more power than the CPU. Intel announced its intention to produce especially thrifty chipsets produced in a special 65nm production process.
The IDF presentation on Nettop Platform '08 also reveals that Intel does not believe that the thrifty Diamondville processors will offer as much performance as the 1.2GHz Celeron 220 processor used on the D210GLY2 mainboard. However, the Celeron consumes 19 Watts TDP, almost four times as much as the single-core Diamondville.
The low power consumption of the CPU and chipset means that systems based on Nettop Platform '08 are also expected to make do with passive cooling. This approach would also lower system costs, because the power pack can be smaller. Furthermore, such devices are more environmentally friendly. But Intel has other aims in streamlining Nettop Platform '08: it does not wish to endanger sales of more expensive products that offer a wider range of functions. The inexpensive platform does not offer a DVI port for digital monitors or a PEG slot; it only has a PCIe x1 port and PCI slot. RAM is also limited to 1GB to 2GB (with two DIMM slots). The performance of the 945GC's or the SiS671's integrated DirectX 9 graphics core will probably suffice for the Aero Glass interface in Windows Vista, but it is unlikely that Vista will be any fun with a Diamondville CPU. Fortunately, Intel is anyway thinking of Linux for its Nettops – or perhaps the "Starter Edition" of Windows XP, which will be available up to 2010.
Incidentally, Diamondville is not the embedded version of Atom, which is planned for use in industrial computers along with the single-ship 945 GSE chipset (Poulsbo) as the Menlow platform.
More from IDF Shanghai 2008:
- IDF: Intel say's Moore's Law holds until 2029
- IDF: Intel's atomic era
- Intel developer forum: Shanghai showcase
- IDF: portable devices steal the show