In May, we told you all about the Silvermont architecture that will underpin Intel's next-generation Atom processors. The new chips are expected to fuel a wave of Windows 8 tablets and convertibles, and they could arrive as early as next month. VR-Zone says Intel will unveil a handful of tablet-focused Atom processors on September 11. The date makes sense, since the Intel Developer Forum runs from September 10-12 in San Francisco.
The new Atom chips will fall under the Bay Trail-T codename, according to VR-Zone, and four models will be offered. All of them will be built on 22-nm process technology and will feature four cores. The specifications table published by VR-Zone suggests that the Z3770 will be the top model; that chip will supposedly scale up to 2.4GHz, while the Z3740 will purportedly peak at 1.8GHz. Those speeds likely refer to the maximum frequency supported by Silvermont's Turbo-like boost mode.
The Atom Z3770 and Z3740 will apparently be paired with dual channels of LPDDR3 memory running at 1067MHz. They appear to have single-channel "D" siblings, as well. The Atom Z3770D and Z3740D are slated to share the same clock speeds as the standard CPUs but be limited to a single channel of DDR3L-RS memory clocked at 1333MHz. Obviously, the single-channel chips have substantially less memory bandwidth: 10.6GB/s instead of 17.1GB/s, according to the specs. It looks like the single-channel configs are also limited to 2GB of RAM and 1920x1200 display resolutions. The full-fat Bay Trail-T variants should be capable of supporting 4GB of RAM and 2560x1600 displays.
Interestingly, the standard Atom chips have 2W SDP ratings, while the D variants are listed with 2.2-2.4W power ratings. The higher memory clock speed of the single-channel configs may be to blame for their higher power draw.
Silvermont's architectural enhancements should make the next-gen Atom processors much more formidable than their predecessors. It will be interesting to see if the tablets and convertibles based on the new chips can lure users away from ARM-based devices—and perhaps even from products based on Intel's own Core processors.
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