There’s a story over at Intel that goes something like this:

Being declared a Fellow at Intel is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an Intel employee. I’ve heard Intel Fellows described as certified geniuses, and from my own personal discussions with them I can attest to that - these guys are very smart.

There’s a retired Intel Fellow named Fred Pollack. Throughout most of the 1990s Fred held an important role in Intel’s Microprocessor Products Group (MPG) where he defined many of the specifications for Intel CPUs from the Pentium Pro onwards.

Intel has a fairly successful branding division. This is the division that cranked out names like the Pentium, Centrino and Core. It turns out that Fred was extremely passionate about his CPUs, so passionate in fact that he’d often show up at Intel branding meetings whenever one of his babies was to be named. Keep in mind that Intel has a skilled group of folks whose job it is to name processors, despite this fact Fred would always show up at branding meetings with what he thought was the best name for Intel’s latest creation.

It used to happen so frequently that whenever a new Intel microprocessor was designed but before it was named, those within Intel would simply call it Fred.

We’ve talked about Silverthorne, Intel’s brand new low power, low cost x86 processor on a few separate occasions already. Silverthorne however, had yet to be named.

Intel’s goals for Silverthorne are lofty. This is the low power, low cost chip whose derivatives will eventually end up in everything from cellphones to TVs. I’ve often referred to it as the core Apple wanted to put in the iPhone, and within 3 - 5 years it could easily be used in such a device. The market potential for Silverthorne is huge, and Intel realizes this - which is why when it came time to name the chip, Intel chose to create a new brand.

It seems like lately Intel has been creating new brands left and right, so the impact of a new brand just for Silverthorne isn’t as big as it would’ve been several years ago. When Intel first informed us that it would be creating a new brand for Silverthorne we weren’t privy to the name, Intel simply called it the “Fred” processor. Today Intel filled in the blank and is announcing that Silverthorne and its derivatives will be called the Intel Atom.

The Intel Atom processor refers to anything Silverthorne derived, that’s Silverthorne for ultra mobile devices and Diamondville for desktop and cheap notebooks (e.g. ASUS EeePC style laptops). Both of these processors are now called the Intel Atom.

Diamondville will launch in Q2 of this year as the Intel Atom 230, running at 1.6GHz with a 512KB L2 cache. The ultra mobile variants based on Silverthorne will also launch around the same time frame but at various clock frequencies of up to 1.8GHz with a 0.6W - 2.5W TDP.

We’ve already looked at the Intel Atom’s architecture in detail, so make sure to read our previous articles on the topic for more detail.

The Ultra Mobile Centrino Platform


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  • Doormat - Monday, March 3, 2008 - link

    "The ultra mobile variants based on Silverthorne will also launch around the same time frame but at various clock frequencies of up to 1.8GHz with a 0.6W - 2.5W TDP."

    I thought the top Silverthorne was supposed to run at 2GHz? Is Intel slipping a bit?
  • cokbun - Monday, March 3, 2008 - link

    atom? thats like ultra lame.. and strange to pronounce ' intellatom ' how about nucleus or mono or hamburger, it sounds better. they have great cpus but can't name em properly. and what's '' 2 duo '' supposed to mean??
  • Griswold - Monday, March 3, 2008 - link

    It beats "Nucular", though.

    (if you didnt get it, watch more simpsons)
  • ucsdmike - Monday, March 3, 2008 - link

    Mota. Its what they were on when they thought of the name. Reply
  • iwodo - Monday, March 3, 2008 - link

    We need those Dual Core Version to be inside our NAS.
    Only then we will have an NAS that is capable to push 60+Mb /s and really usable as a storage device.
  • stmok - Sunday, March 2, 2008 - link

    There is going to be a dual-core version of Diamondville.

    It will be officially marketed as the Celeron 3xx.

    Intel is planning on a Q3 2008 release.

    It is for the affordable desktop market.
  • sheh - Sunday, March 2, 2008 - link

    A desktop computer for general use with a <10W (or even <5?) CPU sounds very promising. VIA's CPUs were an option, but too rare and probably more expensive (and less efficient).

    Add SSD, extra-integrated motherboard, and you have a small, passively cooled, <50W computer (sans monitor).
  • DigitalFreak - Sunday, March 2, 2008 - link

    Good name. Much better than Pentium or Centrino. It even fits in a way. Reply
  • Duwelon - Sunday, March 2, 2008 - link

    Yeah Intel rules at marketing thats for sure. Now if AMD would do half as good... do they even advertise on TV? Reply
  • Samus - Sunday, March 2, 2008 - link

    I like the name too. Very clever. Reply

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