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Silvermont Is Latest Intel Atom Processor For Mobile Market

Intel Silvermont Atom
Intel Silvermont Atom

Five years in the making, Silvermont is latest Intel Atom processor for mobile applications. Intel anticipates their new chips will be debuting in tablets, smart phones and hand held devices for the 2013 holiday season.

Their goal is for developers to make Silvermont the multi-core CPU of choice for portable devices,  as opposed to a chip based on the ARM architecture, which dominates today’s mobile landscape.

Dadi Perlmutter, Intel executive vice president and chief product officer, announced:

Silvermont is a leap forward and an entirely new technology foundation for the future that will address a broad range of products and market segments. Early sampling of our 22nm SoCs, including “Bay Trail” and “Avoton” is already garnering positive feedback from our customers. Going forward, we will accelerate future generations of this low-power microarchitecture on a yearly cadence.

The Silvermont is produced on Intel’s 22 nm 3D “FinFET” fabrication process. The smaller device geometries, transistor stacking and new architectural features enable ~3x peak performance or the same performance at ~5x lower power over the current-generation Intel Atom processor cores. The power savings features result from a new approach in implementing standby modes coupled with a dynamically adjustable burst mode. Additionally, the core has built in health monitoring to track the power usage, thermal changes and instantaneous electrical usage to optimize efficiency.

The underlying architecture is comprised of modules supporting two multi-cores which share a tightly coupled L2 cache (maximum of 1 MByte). Each Atom SoC  can contain up to four modules for a total of 8 cores and maximum of 4 MByte L2 cache. Each core can be individually controlled for power management and operating frequency, however there is no support for Hyper-Threading.

Intel reports the highlights of the Silvermont microarchitecture include:

  • New out-of-order execution engine enables best-in-class, single-threaded performance.
  • New multi-core and system fabric architecture scalable up to eight cores and enabling greater performance for higher bandwidth, lower latency and more efficient out-of-order support for a more balanced and responsive system.
  • New IA instructions and technologies bringing enhanced performance, virtualization and security management capabilities to support a wide range of products. These instructions build on Intel’s existing support for 64-bit and the breadth of the IA software installed base.
  • Enhanced power management capabilities including a new intelligent burst technology, low- power C states and a wider dynamic range of operation taking advantage of Intel’s 3-D transistors. Intel Burst Technology 2.0 support for single- and multi-core offers great responsiveness scaled for power efficiency.

In addition to mobile devices and tablets, it’s expected that Silvermont will serve as the foundation for a breadth of 22 nm products targeted at microservers, network infrastructure, storage and other market segments including entry laptops and in-vehicle infotainment.

(Photo Credit – Intel)

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