The Moorestown quasi system-on-a-chip (SoC) follows on from Menlow - Silverthorne CPU and Poulsbo chipset - as the second-generation platform that Intel hopes will attract manufacturers away from the sector dominated by ARM chips.
Still based on the 45nm process as incumbent Menlow, Moorestown pairs up the Lincroft northbridge and Langwell southbridge. The Lincroft portion houses the hyperthreading-capable CPU and integrated graphics, whilst the Langwell is designed to handle the communications. We note that, as yet, Intel is yet to integrate modems into the core-logic.
Intel understands that to appeal to the smartphone market it needs to ensure that Moorestown's power footprint is orders of magnitude smaller than Menlow's.
At IDF 2009. Intel's Shreekant Thakkar confirmed that reducing power-draw on an Intel Architecture platform meant dropping some of the PC-centric design. Removing power-hungry PCI-Express, introducing the mobile industry processor interface (MIPI) for connection to the display, and designing offload engines to take the stress off the CPU are some of the measures implemented in the new design.
Indeed, Thakkar commented that 'saving every single milliwatt is absolutely critical'. Intel's internal figures suggest a 50x reduction in idle power, a 3x reduction when playing 720p, and a 30x reduction when playing audio, when compared to Menlow.
On the software side, Intel's pushing the Moblin 2.1 operating system to complement the hardware package presented by Moorestown.
We're still concerned that Intel will not be able to reduce power-draw - the most critical parameter for smartphones - when compared to solutions available on the market today.
Here's the problem for Intel. It's using a heavily power-tweaked version of the Intel Architecture for an environment that wants an all-day, always-connected device with a 4in screen. We'll be impressed if it can do it with Moorestown. Our bet is with Intel making serious smartphone progress with the next iteration, Medfield.
Moorestown for MIDs and Medfield for smartphones, we reckon.