Intel is planning to announce a new set of processors for the next generation of Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) on the 18th of April. Can a new CPU and some new design approaches unfold the sales disappointment that has been the UMPC/Origami initiative?
According to a leaked PowerPoint presentation available from HKEPC, the new UMPC reference design is code-named "McCaslin" and will feature a new CPU dubbed "Stealey." The CPU is based on a Dothan design using a 90nm fabrication process running at 600 or 800MHz with a 400MHz front-side bus and 512KB of onboard level 2 cache. The chip has a thermal design power of a mere 6W. It's also a relatively small chip, at only 975 square millimeters for both the CPU and accompanying chipset, less than half the size of the chips in the first UMPC designs. Intel GMA X3000 integrated graphics are included on the northbridge.
The new CPU is a low-power unit designed to compete with chips from Via such as the C7M, a popular CPU for many different tiny computing platforms. The Via chip runs faster at 1.5 GHz, but its unsophisticated architecture and tiny onboard cache mean that performance has been disappointing. Intel is hoping that it can do better in this market segment, while at the same time reviving the flagging UMPC form factor. According to a performance test (PDF format) commissioned by Intel, the Stealey chip outperforms the Via offering on a variety of benchmark tests, despite running at a much lower clock speed.
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