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Intel adding even more Atoms?

Mar 20, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Intel is set to launch two new Z5xx processors, one of them the fastest Atom of all, according to a Taiwanese report. The Z550 will clock at 2.0GHz while retaining a 2.4 Watt TDP, while the Z515 will run at either 800MHz or 1.2GHz, HKEPC claims.

(Click for larger view of the original Z5xx Atom and its SCH US15W companion chip)

If the reports are accurate, April will bring two interesting new options for customers of the original Atom Z5xx processors, which have become widely used in MIDs (mobile internet devices), COMs (computer-on-modules), UMPCs (ultra-mobile PCs), and some netbooks. (Unlike the Atom N270 used by most mini-notebooks, the Atom 5xx CPUs measure 14 x 13mm, and rely on a single northbridge/southbridge companion chip, the 22 x 22mm “Poulsbo,” for overall savings in board real estate and power efficiency.)

HKEPC's report, citing “Taiwan's PC industry” as a source, says Intel will add to its Z5xx product line at both the low end and the high end. Catering to those crying out for extra performance, a new Atom Z550 will have a clock speed of 2.0GHz, a frontside bus of 533MHz, and a 512KB second-level cache, the publication claims. Apart from the clock speed bump, these specs are the same as the original 1.86GHz Atom Z540, and the Z550 reportedly also shares the Z540's 220mW average power rating and 2.4 Watt TDP.

Even more intriguing, HKEPC claims, is the new Z515, which is capable of running at two different clock speeds, courtesy of “burst mode performance technology.” Like Intel's original, the entry-level Z500, the Z515 can run at 800MHz, achieving a 160mW average power rating and 0.65 Watt TDP. But, according to the publication, the Z515 can also speed up to 1.2GHz, at which point it has a 1.4 Watt TDP — still lower than the 2 Watt TDP of Intel's previous 1.1GHz Z510 (below).

No. SKU MHz Power (W) FSB
(per 1000
TDP Power Ave. Power Idle Power
1. Z500 800MHz 0.65W 160mW 80mW 400MHz 512K 7.8mm
2. Z510 1.1GHz 2W 220mW 100mW 400MHz $45
3. Z520 1.33GHz 2W 220mW 100mW 533MHz $65
4. Z530 1.6GHz 2W 220mW 100mW 533MHz $95
5. Z540 1.86GHz 2.4W 220mW 100mW 533MHz $160

Intel's original Atom Z5xx SKUs
(Source: Intel)

The HKEPC report gave no information about a size reduction or change in production process for the new Atoms, if any, but suggests that the parts will use the same Poulsbo companion chips as before. The Z550, for example, is said to use the familiar SCH US15W, which supports a 400MHz or 533MHz front-side bus, up to 2GB of system memory. The Z515, on the other hand, is said to employ the comparatively little-used UL11L, which limits system memory to 512MB of RAM and has a slower clock speed for its graphics core.

Meanwhile, Intel recently announced other new entries in its burgeoning Z5xx family, including “PT” models deliberately upsized to 22 x 22mm for easier cooling, and accompanied by larger, 37.5 x 37.5mm versions of the Poulsbo companion chip, too. For details of Intel's Z530P, Z530PT, Z510P, Z510PT, SCH US15WP and SCH US15WPT, which target automotive use and are claimed to operate up to 85 deg. C, see our earlier coverage, here.


The HKEPC report claims Intel's Z550 and Z515 will be released in April. For more information, see the publication's website, here.

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