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Intel planning dual-core Diamondville

Low-power processor targets desktop PCs

Intel is planning a dual-core version of its low-power Diamondville processor, according to a source familiar with Intel's plans.

The dual-core Diamondville will deliver better performance than the single-core version and will be for low-cost desktops, the source said.

The dual-core Diamondville chip take Intel into the low-cost desktop market to compete with vendors such as Via Technologies, which is providing low-cost processors in desktops priced at less than $300 (£150) being sold by Everex.

The single-core version of Diamondville will initially be included in low-power laptops that are fanless, the source said. The chips, which will be available around the middle of this year, will be manufactured using the 45-nanometre process and will likely contain 47 million transistors. It will include a 1.60GHz processor and 512KB cache.

Though processor pricing hasn't been set, the single-core Diamondville chip will be for laptops in the $250 to $300 price range, the source said.

Diamondville is based on the Silverthorne chip architecture, which has a small die size and is designed for ultramobile devices. Although they are for different product segments, the Diamondville and Silverthorne processors fall under a single processor family that will receive an official brand name soon, the source said.

Diamondville will most likely be included in Intel's next version of Classmate PC, the source said. MSI is already working to introduce an ultra-low-cost laptop PC based on Diamondville to compete against rival Asustek's Eee PC.

Asus Eee PC review

But Diamondville could can expect competition from Via's C7-M processor, which is included in Everex's Cloudbook ultraportable PC. Via is also designing a processor based on its Isaiah architecture to replace the C7-M processor. The new 64bit Isaiah architecture will enable processors in notebooks and desktops to run at speeds from 400MHz to 2GHz and include 1MB of cache. The processors are set for release in the middle of the year, around the same time as Diamondville, McCarron said.

This is the first time Intel is making a purposefully designed chip that is low in cost, McCarron said. Via is the pioneer in that space and will continue to make low-cost products, so there will be some obvious overlap in the future that will lead to competition, he said.

Advanced Micro Devices will focus on hitting the low-cost market in 2009 with Fusion, which includes highly integrated components, McCarron said.


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