The new silicon was developed around the requirements of an average tablet user
Intel has launched the long-awaited redesign of its Atom processors, formerly codenamed ‘Bay Trail”. The new family of Z3000 Systems-on-a-Chip (SoCs) is built on the 22nm process and was designed with tablets in mind.
Intel’s first mobile multi-core SoC doubles the compute and triples the graphics performance of the previous generation Atom processors. The improved power efficiency promises all-day battery life for mobile devices, even if customers run fully-featured Windows 8. For this reason, Z3000 is expected to compete with low-power chips designed by ARM, which are found in the majority of tablets on the market today.
Acer, ASUS, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba have all announced upcoming products based on the new SoCs, due to be shipped in time for Christmas at prices starting as low as $199.
Intel will also sell other Bay Trail variants – Pentium Bay Trail-M and Celeron Bay Trail-D, for use in entry-level desktops, laptops, two-in-ones and all-in-ones.
Intel goes to war
Unlike popular processors from ARM, the Z3000 SoCs can run either Windows 8 or Android. According to Chris Walker, director of Business Development at Intel, the new silicon combines the strengths of both Atom and Core processor families.
The Z3000 is based on low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture and optimised for single-thread performance. It features Intel’s tri-gate transistor technology, also found in more serious Ivy Bridge and Haswell chips.
New SoCs are available in variants clocked up to 2.4GHz and featuring up to 2MB L2 cache, with a pair of cores each sharing 1MB in a quad-core configuration. The platform supports up to 4GB of dual-channel DDR3 RAM, and offers full USB 3.0 compatibility.
On the imaging side, Z3000 supports recording full HD video at 60 FPS, with up to 13 megapixel back camera sensors and up to 2 megapixel front camera sensors. Intel says tablets based on the new SoC offer around 10 hours of active battery life and three weeks of standby. This is achieved thanks to dynamic power management, with the system able to switch parts of itself off depending on usage scenarios.
The Z3000 is the first Atom to integrate Intel HD graphics with full DirectX and OpenGL support. It also enables OEMs to use advanced screens with resolutions up to 2500×1600.
Even though the new Bay Trail chips were designed primarily for tablets, they will also appear in two-in-one devices, all-in-ones and laptops with a form factor between seven and eleven inches.
Intel has promised to introduce 64-bit support for tablets in early 2014.
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