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Intel confirms 'low-voltage, small form factor' chip in Apple TV

post #1 of 10
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Well, it was only a matter of time. Intel Corp., the world's largest chipmaker and once fierce rival of all things Mac, has now dedicated a page on its website to touting Apple TV.

"You may have caught the news: Intel innovation is a key part of the new Apple TV launched on Tuesday at Macworld," the company wrote.

The chipmaker goes on to say that Apple's new "Apple TV uses a low-voltage, small form factor Intel processor to wirelessly bring content from a computer (or two, or five) onto the big screen of your living room."

As reported by AppleInsider on Monday, the Apple set-top media hub employs a specialized variant of Intel's Pentium M microprocessor running at 1.0GHz. The chip, reportedly under-clocked to reduce power consumption and heat generation, is said to go by the code-named "Crofton."

Based on Intel's mention of "low-voltage," it's believed that Crofton may be a down-clocked version of one of the newer 90nm low-voltage Pentium M chips show in the table below.

Source: Wikipedia

Meanwhile, regulatory company filings indicate that the Apple TV's mini PCIe 802.11n wireless card is manufactured by Atheros Communications.

This past October, it was revealed that Atheros was supplying the 802.11n-capable AirPort Extreme wireless card for Apple's Core 2 Duo MacBook Pros.
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As reported by AppleInsider on Monday, the Apple set-top media hub employs a specialized variant of Intel's Pentium M microprocessor running at 1.0GHz. The chip, reportedly under-clocked to reduce power consumption and heat generation, is said to go by the code-named "Crofton."

Based on Intel's mention of "low-voltage," it's believed that Crofton may be a down-clocked version of one of the newer 90nm low-voltage Pentium M chips show in the table below.

I wonder if low voltage means less than 5 watts or what? Anyone have a guess? How does the Pentium M Crofton variation have a comparison to the CD work done per clock cycle or something so we can see how it stacks up against something we have in our hands?
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post #3 of 10
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Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

I wonder if low voltage means less than 5 watts or what?

what's the merit of a low voltage chip in a device that's not going to be operated on battery power--merely that it keeps the heat down? I thought low voltage chips cost more than chips that are not so efficient, so the choice seems counterintuitive.
post #4 of 10
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Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

what's the merit of a low voltage chip in a device that's not going to be operated on battery power--merely that it keeps the heat down? I thought low voltage chips cost more than chips that are not so efficient, so the choice seems counterintuitive.

It may be more advantageous for embedded use. It helps them keep the small, sealed enclosure, keep it fanless and such to minimize the noise. I personally don't care about the size, I think I would prefer a low profile device, but one that's standard width so it is stackable with other A/V gear.
post #5 of 10
Low heat. Low noise. My living room.
post #6 of 10
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Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It may be more advantageous for embedded use. It helps them keep the small, sealed enclosure, keep it fanless and such to minimize the noise. I personally don't care about the size, I think I would prefer a low profile device, but one that's standard width so it is stackable with other A/V gear.

This might make sense, except the Apple TV has a fan.
post #7 of 10
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Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think I would prefer a low profile device, but one that's standard width so it is stackable with other A/V gear.

what counts as standard size? I'm just curious because almost none of my stuff is the same size.
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post #8 of 10
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Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

what's the merit of a low voltage chip in a device that's not going to be operated on battery power--merely that it keeps the heat down? I thought low voltage chips cost more than chips that are not so efficient, so the choice seems counterintuitive.

The goal is to use as little power as needed. This device is going to be on 24/7 at the homes of a lot of people (who probably don't care about saving energy anyway). And over 20 hours of that day, the device is there doing absolutely nothing... That's why they use low-power chips that - of course - still have to be able to render all those nice effects et al. used for the interface.

Same thing with other TV set-top boxes: they use so much power in stand-by mode and only a little more when they're actually in use. What a waste of energy!
post #9 of 10
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Originally Posted by tonton View Post

This might make sense, except the Apple TV has a fan.

Where? I have not seen any vents in any of the pictures. Are they on the underside?

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Originally Posted by ecking View Post

what counts as standard size? I'm just curious because almost none of my stuff is the same size.

I think it's about 17" wide in imperial units. Most of my equipment other than one VCR, HTPC and the game consoles are this width.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think it's about 17" wide in imperial units. Most of my equipment other than one VCR, HTPC and the game consoles are this width.

That sounds about right. All of my DVD players, cassette decks, CD players, amplifiers and turntables are 17" wide. Only my VCRs are narrower (which is aggravating - I can't stack anything on top of them.)

This width is used in order to allow rack mounting in professional and mobile environments. A 17" wide device is just about right for attaching simple brackets to mount in a standard "19 inch" rack. (In addition to machine rooms, road cases used by musicians and A/V professionals often have standard 19" rack mountings, so the equipment can be assembled and used in-case.)
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