We are seeing a move towards the core when it comes to computers, where once even heavy duty floating point math was handled by a separate coprocessor, we now see controllers for memory and PCIe buses merged into a single chip.  AMD pulled it off well when they moved the memory controller on board and Intel’s Westmere has dropped the price on motherboards with its new integrated bus controller.   The one place we did not see an improvement was on the mobile end, with the Atom.  In practice, abandoning the FSB and moving the memory controller onto the CPU offers big improvements but the new Pine Trail Atoms aren’t much faster than the previous generation.  AnandTech offers an explanation as to what happened, and why Intel would chose to go that route.

“In 2008 Intel introduced the Diamondville platform. This was the Atom platform that was used in the vast majority of netbooks and nettops. You had an Atom processor (codename: Diamondville) and Intel’s 945GSE chipset. The memory controller was located on the chipset which was built on a 90nm process that ended up eating quite a bit of power.

At the end of last year, Intel brought forth Pine Trail. Pine Trail used a new version of the Atom processor (codename: Pineview) and Intel’s NM10 Express chipset. The memory controller was moved off the external chipset and on-die with the Atom processor. Graphics also made their way on die and the resulting 45nm chip consumed far less power than the old Atom + 945GSE combo.”

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