Details emerge on Montalvo's Intel-challenging mystery processor

Upstart Montalvo Systems sure hasn't been talking much about exactly what it's doing with the $73 million in funding its received, but CNET has now thankfully pulled back a bit of the mystery on the processor the company's betting its fortunes on. Most interestingly, CNET reports that the chip is much more in line with the Cell processor than Intel's or AMD's offerings, yet it will apparently be "theoretically" capable of running the same software as those processors. Specifically, the chip apparently won't be symmetrical, but rather employ a mix of high-performance cores and lower-performance cores on the same piece of silicon, which should ultimately cut power consumption by letting applications run only on the cores they need. As you might expect, however, the Montalvo folks are still keeping most of their secrets to themselves, and it seems likely that we won't get a really good idea of what they have in store until they're good and ready.