Intel has officially unveiled a new line of low power processors designed for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. The Intel Atom Z6xx series chip (PDF Link) has a 45nm processor core, and 3D graphics and video capabilities.The chip has 512K of L2 cache, 24K of L1 Data and 32K instruction cache.

Intel says the Atom Z6xx series will support Google Android, MeeGo and Moblin Linux. Interestingly, there’s no mention of Windows support.

The Z6xx series will include several different chips, including a 1.5GHz version for handhelds and smartphones and a 1.9GHz version for tablets.

The chips will feature Intel GMA 600 graphics, with a 400MHz graphics core and support for hardware decoding of H.264, MPEG4 part 2, WMV, and VC1 video, as well as hardware support for encoding MPEG4 and H.264 video. GMA 600 also features OpenGL support for 3D graphics and supports internal displays with resolutions of 1024 x 600 or 1366 x 768 pixels.

While it looks like the new chips are single core processors, they do support hyper-threading, which means that you should see improved performance with apps that support multithreading — and your operating system may report that you have 2 CPUs even though you don’t.

One of the most interesting features is that the Z6xx series supports always-connected technology that will let you receive incoming phone calls, email messages, or other data on a smartphone or tablet even when the device is idle. There’s support for WiFi, 3G, and WiMAX connections.

Laptop Magazine reports that Intel is promising devices using this chipset will be able to last for up to 48 hours of continuous audio playback or 10 days of idle power. Video playback is another story, topping out at just 5 hours.

via UMPC Portal

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6 replies on “Intel Atom Z6xx processor to power tablets, smartphones”

  1. I’m really not sure what to make of this. On one hand they clearly state that this is for low power devices like smartphones and tablets… but then they give it the designation of Z6xx which follows after the Z5xx series that was well used by the netbook class. Couple that with a higher clock speed and much better support for hardware video acceleration then the current Atom N series offers and I don’t see why I wouldn’t want this in my next netbook. I suppose we’ll have to wait for some benchmarks to see how much they had to cut performance to get the low power consumption.

  2. I have a feeling that Sony is gonna take this and jam it straight into a laptop so they can have the world’s thinnest computer again.

  3. Good for Intel? Maybe. Bad for us? Yes. Many of us had high hopes for “Moorestown” given the debacle that was and still is the GMA 500. This announcement is a HUGE disappointment for us. Like the GMA 500 that it will supersede, the GMA 600’s graphics core is based on a licensed PowerVR SGX core developed by Imagination Technologies. Ordinarily, Intel’s integrated graphics are developed in-house, and they usually deliver adequate documentation, drivers, and support to Windows and Linux platforms. This has NOT been the case with the GMA 500, especially on the Linux side of the fence. Intel had been tight-lipped over the underlying details of Moorestown, which gave those of us dumb enough to care just enough leeway to hope that GMA 500 was a one-time thing and its successor would be an Intel-developed and supported solution. Shame on hope. What makes this all-the-more confusing is that new platform us all supposed to run Anroid and MeeGo, both of which are Linux-based. I guess we can reasonably infer that, at least on the Linux side, driver issues may improve this time around, but I’m reminded of the saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Ironically (or sadly), the situation is not much better with ARM-based products where the same PowerVR technology brings in the same licensing, documentation, and driver issues. At this point, NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 may turn out to be the Linux darling ,were it not for the fact the NVIDIA is the least open of the big three graphics providers when it comes to drivers. So, what if you don’t actually care about any of this? Should you? As silly as it sounds, there really are people who want to continue using computers products until they decide they’re done with them, instead of only being able to use our computing products up to the point that the supplier tells us that we’re done with them. That’s part of the beauty of open source, and that’s just one of many benefits of having open-source drivers that a community of enthusiasts can support.

    Allow me to be the first to coin the GMA 600: “GMA boo”.

    1. That is quite possibly the first time I’ve heard someone complain that Intel isn’t releasing a chip using in house graphics… I do sympathize, and understand that it sucks having binary blobs for drivers… That said, at least you’ll have those.

      BTW, That’s also the first time I’ve heard that Intel has actual open drivers. I know that at work we use nVidia graphics cards specifically because of their above average support for Linux, and have had very little in the way of problems with their driver support personally… Well of late of course, we can all look back to the days where getting a GPU to work with Linux was akin to saying a few hail mary’s and taking a crap shoot. I still have hope that their Tegra 2 support won’t neglect what is in fact their primary audience: Linux. Even if it doesn’t offer true open drivers, I’d expect frequently updated BB’s, delivered in a relatively timely response to community issues.

      But I could obviously be wrong…

      Wow, it just feels odd trying to defend either nVidia or Intel on any of this, I’m going to stop now.

  4. Good for Intel. It looks like this is almost competition for a Cortex A9 SOC… Let’s see if they can do it as cheaply, and if the video acceleration on some of the SOC’s is that bad at video decoding power use.

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