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New Atoms target auto use

Mar 2, 2009 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Intel's latest Z5xx Atom processors are larger than their predecessors — on purpose. Intel says its new “P” and “PT” Atoms are designed for the automotive and transportation industries, with larger cooling surfaces for operation from -40 to 85 deg. C (-40 to 185 deg. F).

(Click here for a larger view of Intel's original 14 x 13mm 5xx Atom and “Poulsbo” companion chip)

Intel's original Z5xx processors, such as the 1.1GHz Z510 and 1.6GHz Z530, were designed to be as small as possible, offering a 14 x 13mm package and a 0.5mm ball pitch. The newly announced “P” and “PT” parts are “larger footprint” versions, but delivered in a 22 x 22mm package using 1.0mm ball pitch, according to the company.

The new parts are architecturally identical to their forebears, with the same clock speeds, same amount of second-level cache, and the same TDPs. But, the new Atoms include integrated heat spreaders, making them more suitable to “thermally constrained fanless applications,” and “ideal for designs without small space restrictions,” according to Intel.

The Atom Z530P is clocked at 1.6GHz, offering hyperthreading, a 512K second-level cache, 533MHz FSB (frontside bus), and a 2.2 Watt TDP. Meanwhile, the Atom Z510P has the same TDP, but with a 1.1GHz clock speed, 400MHz FSB, and no hyperthreading, according to Intel.

The Z530P and Z510P have a rated operating range of 0 to 60 deg. C (32 to 140 deg. F), like previous Atoms. Also available, though, are the Z530PT and Z510PT, rated for an industrial operating range from -40 to 85 deg. C (-40 to 185 deg. C).

To go with its new “P” and “PT” Atoms, Intel also unveiled new versions of the SCH US15W companion chip, which combines northbridge and southbridge functionality. The SCH US15WP and US15WPT are identical architecturally to the original “Pouslbo” chip, but instead of measuring 22 x 22mm, they take up 37.5 x 37.5mm. Again, easier cooling is touted, and the “T” extension to the part number denotes an industrial operating range.

Hitting the road …

Intel's new Atoms, particularly the PT versions, look set to intensify an already-existing rivalry between x86 and ARM processors. To date, x86 CPUs have featured in add-on car PCs, but have produced too much heat and used too much power to become truly integrated into automotive electronics. As a result, that ground had been ceded to ARM CPUs.

However, embedded Linux provider Wind River announced an automotive stack for Moblin last May. Competitor MontaVista, meanwhile, last month announced a new MID stack targeting automotive applications (among others) on x86/Atom, but available initially on Cortex-A8.

Another company planning to port its currently ARM-only automotive offering to Atom is Microsoft. Greg Baribault, director of product management for the company's automotive business unit, said, “Intel Atom processors and the Microsoft Auto software platform will provide scalability for the new era of advanced in-vehicle solutions.”

Availability

Intel says that the Z510P, Z530P, Z530P, and Z530PT will be available in the second quarter, along with the new SCH US15WP and SCH US15WPT companion chips. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

Separately, Intel announced a memorandum of understanding with semiconductor foundry TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing). Under the terms of the agreement, Intel will port its Atom CPUs onto TSMC's technology platform, and provide TSMC with certain intellectual property and designs. For further information, see the story on our sister publication eWEEK.com, here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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