updated 11:30 am EDT, Tue October 16, 2007
Intel Diamondville CPU
Hoping to produce an even more power-efficient technology than the best it offers today, Intel at its Developer Forum in Taiwan on Tuesday announced Diamondville, a new processor and platform architecture for extremely low-power PCs. The design is almost entirely original and is meant to fit into the ASUS Eee PC, the One Laptop Per Child XO, and other very small computers designed either for basic computing or developing world areas where regular or strong power supplies are hard to find. While exact figures were unavailable, Diamondville was expected to use significantly less power than even Intel's latest ultra low-voltage Core 2 Duo processors, which have a sustained power use of 10 watts.
This design will also be cheap to build, Intel mobile VP Mooly Eden noted. While a full system using Diamondville will cost between $200 and $250 -- more than the price for the $188 XO, which uses AMD's Geode -- the cost will be kept relatively low to encourage the development of the product class. CPUs should be available beginning in April with finished systems later. Most devices in the category are planned to use free versions of Linux to keep software licensing costs low.
In addition to supporting extremely low-cost notebooks, the technology may result in budget mobile Internet devices (MIDs) or ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs). UMPCs are currently the smallest computers in the category today but are often more expensive than traditional notebooks, as they rely heavily on faster but costlier processors as well as larger, costlier storage and full copies of Windows.