Intel Atom ? Enabling the Next Generation of Embedded Modules

The worldwide acceptance of IEC 61850 and the trends in development of different distributed applications based on the station and process bus communications defined in the standard are pushing the protection, automation and control industry towards development of a new generation of devices that can meet new design criteria. It appears that just in time Intel has introduced a new generation of processors that can help in meeting the new requirements.
As Intel's Executive Vice-President Sean Maloney said: "This is our smallest processor built with the world's smallest transistors. The Intel® Atom? processor is based on an entirely new design, built for low power and designed specifically for a new wave of Mobile Internet Devices and simple, low-cost PC's. This small wonder is a fundamental new shift in design, small yet powerful enough to enable a big Internet experience on these new devices. We believe it will unleash new innovation across the industry."
The Intel Atom processor is based on a new micro-architecture implemented on a chip that is less than 25 mm². It uses the smallest transistors with excellent performance enabled by all new hafnium-infused 45nm high-k silicon technology that allows it to pack 47 million transistors.
The chips have a thermal design power (TDP) specification in 0.6-2.5 watt range and depending on customer need scale up to 0.8 to 1.8GHz speeds. By comparison, today's mainstream mobile Core 2 Duo processors have a TDP in the 35-watt range.
Using lead-free and halogen-free manufacturing, the Intel Atom processor is the first in Intel's lineup to eliminate halogen and lead products altogether. It is designed specifically for small devices and low power, while maintaining the Intel® Core? 2 Duo instruction set compatibility.
The design also includes support for multiple threads for better performance and increased system responsiveness. Up to 11 Intel Atom processor can fit in an area the size of an American penny. It enables a new generation of powerful and energy-efficient Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and a new category of simple devices for the internet called netbooks and nettops that will be available at affordable prices.
More information can be found at http://www.intel.com/technology/atom/index.htm.

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