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Atom rival in the works

AMD is said to be working on a new processor that is designed to compete against Intel’s Atom chip.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is said to be working on a new processor that is designed to compete against Intel's Atom chip in the emerging Mobile Internet Devices (MID), netbooks and nettop markets.

The as yet unnamed processor is based on the company's AMD64 CPU architecture but tuned for low power consumption. The chip is said to offer a 1 GHz core clock, feature a 16-lane 800 MHz HyperTransport Link and boasts an integrated memory controller. The chip is also expected to have 128 kilobytes of L1 cache and 256 kilobytes of onboard L2 cache memory. Its integrated memory controller is said to be compatible with DDR2 memory.

In terms of power consumption the AMD chip - which includes an integrated Northbridge and memory controller - is expected to offer a Thermal Design Power (TDP) rating of 8-watts. (TDP typically represents the maximum power a chip will draw while running software.) Intel's Atom N270, which runs at a core frequency of 1.6 GHz, features a TDP of 2.5-watts and when coupled with a separate Northbridge chip (such as the i945GSE), the total TDP is actually 6.5-watts.

Intel's Atom processor in currently in short supply and the chip giant expects this to be the case at least until the third quarter of 2008. A launch date for AMD's processor is as yet unknown but given the company's sights are set on making inroads into the new markets, industry insiders expect the launch and availability of this chip in the coming months.