Intel Atom

Carsten Haitzler (The Rasterman) raster at
Fri Aug 15 03:57:00 CEST 2008

On Thu, 14 Aug 2008 20:32:22 +0200 Joachim Steiger <roh at> babbled:

> qrazi wrote:
> > The test referred to are with the nettop version of the Atom, the Atom N230.
> > That CPU is paired with a standard 945GC chipset, which consumes between 15
> > and 20 Watt. Hence the high power draws in those reviews.
> > 
> > Intel also has the Z series, which include speedstep for even lower
> > powerconsumption for the CPU itself, but they are also to be used with the
> > Intel US15 mobile chipset. For a 1.6 GHz Z530 Atom, with the US15 chipset, a
> > maximum draw of 5 Watt is reported. That is way lower then the combination
> > that PC Perspective has tested.
> > 
> > Although probably still not low enough for use in a phone. That however
> > might come in future generations, since Intels plans are to include more, if
> > not all, of the chipset functions into the cpu itself.
> > 
> thanks for summarizing it so well
> thats also my conclusion: x86 is not ready yet for really mobile use.
> we should evaluate it more when they can punch the '<1W when in use' limit.
> for comparison: our cpu currently uses <90mA when in use.
> add the chipset, the lcm and interfaces (don't forget wifi, bt and gsm)
> and then see battery sizes and capacity -> for a reasonable standby AND
> talk time we need to not peak far beyond 1W when in use and be far
> beyond that all the rest of the time.
> also things like high-clocked ram (ddr compared to simple sdram) or
> internal usb connections are energy suckers (thats why sdram with
> <200mhz and things like sdio/spi/i2c/cmoslevel-serial is preferred to
> usb and ddr ram.
> its always getting things into a tricky balance to have something usable
> at the end (and not a 'see how fluid it moves the icon'  - 'oh.. batter
> is empty' - showcase ;)

aye - and even so. arm-based solutions are cranking up the power. omap 3xxx and
qualcomm's snapdragon are not slow-pokes. and they are far beyond anything
intel has in performance-per-watt when you are in the 1watt (give or take)
world. indeed you are very right - when intel have scaled DOWN to the existing
embedded world.. we can talk, but as such an x86 phone is only a "development
convenience" compared to arm (no cross-compiling from an x86 desktop).

though we need to accept that we need to move beyond SDR into DDR/DDR2 ram and
higher clockrates anyway - we need more performance to do the things people
want, we just need to do it with the right generation of SOC that has reigned
these power requirements in a bit... and well - maybe accept we need a meatier
battery :)

Carsten Haitzler (The Rasterman) <raster at>

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