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Intel details new low-cost laptop chip

Diamondville aimed at OLPC's XO laptop

Intel plans to launch a new microprocessor architecture aimed at ultra-low cost laptop PCs, codenamed 'Diamondville', in April of next year.

Diamondville is aimed at a new segment of low-cost mobile PCs such as the XO laptop from the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC), the Eee PC by Asustek and the Classmate PCs developed by Intel. These notebooks are designed for children and for use in emerging economies where living conditions require long-lasting batteries and durable, dust-proof casings.

"There was no way for us to take the Core architecture and try to stretch it down to the low cost PC, and for that reason we designed a new architecture from scratch," said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the mobile platforms group at Intel. Diamondville is a new architecture, with a new RTL (register transfer language) and new silicon, he said.

Diamondville will be extremely low voltage, much lower than the ULV (ultra-low voltage) Core 2 Duo processor, said Eden. Intel launched two versions of the ULV Core 2 Duo in April, each with thermal design power of 10W.

The laptop PCs in this user category will probably cost between $199 and $250 (£100 and £125), he said. For that reason, Diamondville will also have to be extremely low cost.

"We believe this [low-cost laptop] category is a category for itself. We believe this category will grow," he said.

An Asustek executive said today his company has already received an order for 1 million Eee PCs from a government he declined to name. The OLPC group has also confirmed orders from several countries.

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