Intel rejigs its Atom road map, tablet wise

Yeah, Stephen Smith, the man who first showed me the Itanium so many years ago, is now the VP of netbook and tablet development at Intel.

He is talking about 22 nanometre process with tri-gate transistor technology, and that, he claims, is a breakthrough.

Intel is co-optimising silicon technology and design and the foundry model doesn’t work in that sphere.  Energy efficiency, he said is driving the market and Moore’s Law still matters.

Moore’s Law, he said, matters more than ever. It gives Intel a big advantage. Intel is changing its product design style to meet the demands of the market.  Silicon is now about tight integration.

The 22 nanometre process means that Intel can target the tablet and smartphone market.  The tri-gate tech will give 50 percent power reduction. There can be four cores at 22 nanometre for the same die size as two cores at 45 nanometres.

Intel will work on producing 14 nanometre processors – the two varieties for 22 nanometre will be called the P1270 for the CPU and P1272 for SoC. At 14 nanometres, the version will be the P1272 for CPU and P1273 for the system on a chip version, said Smith.

Intel wants to be the leader in low power processors. Intel has decided that it will change its design point to be, for Haswell, 20 watts for notebooks and less than a watt for its system on a chip designs. Haswell at 22 nanometres will include Ivy Bridge targeted at Xeon and Core products. The low power verson includes Saitwell at 32 nanometres and Silvermont at 22 nanometres and Airmont at 14 nanometres. Silvermont comes in 2013 and Airmont in 2014.

Ivy Bridge is on target for later this year, and as we reported the other day, will appear in Ultrabooks next year. Intel will halve Moore’s Law by introducing new nodes in three years. In the olden days, it would be 18 months or two years.  

Intel has shifted its development structure so it will have the best of both worlds. It has slammed together the development teams and will integrate more and more. It wants to have fine grained power management available in the mainstream, said Smith.

It has a reference design for tablets and is a proxy for an eventual OEM system and it will give advice to original development manufacturers, too. Software is important and the reference designs will be made available using the Medfield tablet reference design.

Intel showed off a working Medfield tablet using 22 nanometre technology and running Android Honeycomb. Intel is working on optomising the tablet for power and performance and the software is currently an Alpha version.