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Comparing Intel Sodaville (CE4100) & Moorestown (Z6xxx)

The frontier between mobile computing and desktop is being blurred by some recent developments and it would be interesting to revisit two of Intel's products, Sodaville and Mooorestown, to find out how they are different from each other.

Moorestown is Intel's newest Atom (formerly Lincroft) processor based platform; it combines the Z6xx family of processors with a new Platform Controller Hub, the MP20 (otherwise known as Langwell). It is build using a 45nm process, has 512KB L2 cache, 24KB Data and 32KB Instruction L1 Cache.

Intel says that it can run at speeds up to 1.5GHz for handhelds and 1.9GHz for tablets and comes with the GMA600 graphics onboard clocked at up to 400MHz, integrated memory controller, low power DDR1/DDR2 support.

Moorestown also come with a number of features found on desktop processors like Burst Performance Technology, Hyper Threading, Smart Power and Smart Idle Technology.

Other tidbits available on the web include the number of transistors (140m), the die size (65.25 mm²), an estimated TDP of 3W for the smartphone and 3.5W for the tablet and initial clock speeds of 600MHz.

Performance wise, Anandtech (opens in new tab) has the closest thing to a proper benchmark having managed to grab one an OpenPeak tablet during the IDF 2010.

Anand then proceeded to run Browsermark and the SunSpider Javascript benchmark, both of which showed that the SoC was very competitive with the best ARM Cortex A8 processors on the market (the Samsung Galaxy S was not in the list).

Intel has already confirmed that Moorestown will support 3D graphics, multitasking, 720p HD video recording and full HD 1080p video content.

Sodaville, on the other hand, seems to have been built purposely to run on CE devices like the Boxee Box and the Apple TV. It shares the same graphics module as Moorestown and is currently clocked at 1.2GHz with 512KB L2 cache.

Although we don't have all the details, the fact that Sodaville (AKA CE4100) is being touted as a SoC means that integration is likely to be tighter, with all the components on one die, like Sandy Bridge. It uses an Intel Atom Core and we suspect that it is the Z515, one which was launched five months before Sodaville, has a TDP is only 1.4W and similar characteristics.

We already know that it can handle two 1080p Full HD video streams, dual Audio DSP and has a platform TDP of up to 9W, which is roughly three times that of Moorestown. The CE4100 processor also supports DDR2 and DDR3, SATA-300 and USB 2.0.

There's still a question hanging with regards to graphics performance (opens in new tab). Intel has confirmed that it will be using the PowerVR SGX535 and will be clocked at 400MHz which means that it will have around twice the raw graphics power of the iPhone 4 yet it is the same SGX535 that is powering the much-criticised graphics module (GMA500) found in so many netbooks that cannot handle one HD-ready stream let alone two full HD streams.

So the first question is whether Windows is the problem or whether it's down to the drivers being used. It seems though that doubling the clock speed will improve things.

The second question is why did Intel have two separate strands? Sodaville should really be part of Moorestown. Or is it the fact that Sodaville and Moorestown will have the same successor. Medfield is rumoured to integrate Lincroft and Langwell on one die under the name Penwell and will be launched in H1 2011.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.