Intel Inside? PXA901?
Can anyone tell me why Intel hasn't released details on the 8700's processor? The initial press releases said "16MB of SRAM" but now everything has changed to say "16MB of SDRAM". I know that this is supposed to be the fruit of the "Hermon" project but it would be nice to have some info on the specifics.
Yes - I have read all the press releases. I know that it is 312Mhz. What I want to know is if the processor has stacked memory or embedded.
Why would Intel keep this such a secret?
Is there a specific advantage/limitation vs. each other?
That is a good question. I have searched for data sheets with detailed specifications and there is none to be found. I extraced bits and pieces of information from an Intel manager at the SFO event but no tech sheet. Anyone have access to the detailed specifications sheet? Care to email me a copy?
How is this significant? Inquiring minds want to know....
It is significant because it tells you several things:
1. What its native capabilities are (not just what has been made available)
2. For programmers it provides information on how to talk to different parts of the unit at the chip level
3. It satisfies our unending curiousity
Back in 2000, Intel started working on phase change memory but they haven't released a commercial product yet. Basically, phase change memory (PRAM, also known as "Ovonic Unified Memory") is a replacement for flash memory, which is going to run out of gas as the chip lithography gets too small. The benefits of PRAM/OUM include much faster reading/writing and easy integration with microprocessors.
Earlier this year, Intel outlined their strategy for the mobile phone and they clearly show PRAM/OUM in everything by the end of the decade (slide 26). However, they have stated that it will take "years" to ramp up a new technology from cutting edge to mainstream. If you look at flash vs. EEPROM, it took about 4 years for flash to overcome EEPROMs in total shipments. That means Intel is probably going to introduce a PRAM/OUM-based product soon. It makes sense that it would be in a cellular processor.
From a technical standpoint, the performance of the PXA901 processor in the 8700 device is quite spectacular. To me, it seems that flash memory can't provide this kind of performance. The initial press release stated that the device had "64 MB flash memory and 16 MB SRAM" and RIM's spec page also showed this. But then RIM took down the 8700 page for a while only to replace it with a different one. It now says that the device has SDRAM instead of flash.
For various technical reasons, I am skeptical that Intel is using SDRAM in this device. Because Intel hasn't released details on the processor, I can only speculate. Here is an interesting Intel patent concerning the aforementioned PRAM/OUM.
System 860 may include a controller 865, an input/output (I/O) device 870 (e.g. a keypad, display), a memory 875, and a wireless interface 880 coupled to each other via a bus 885. It should be noted that the scope of the present invention is not limited to embodiments having any or all of these components.
Although the scope of the present invention is not limited in this respect, system 860 may use one of the following communication air interface protocols to transmit and receive messages: Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), cellular radiotelephone communication systems, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular radiotelephone systems, North American Digital Cellular (NADC) cellular radiotelephone systems, Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) systems, Extended-TDMA (E-TDMA) cellular radiotelephone systems, third generation (3G) systems like Wide-band CDMA (WCDMA), CDMA-2000, or the like.
It sounds like they definitely had a cell phone in mind.
FWIW, Samsung has also been hard at work on the technology. They're targetting next year.
I guess that I'm just curious.
Excellent answers from Barjohn and all_in_auburn. Too often I see question like "does it have an amalgamated veebleflaster?" and somebody will say yes, etc. I may not be a techie, but I understood John's, and much of Auburn's. So I'm happy, thanks!
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