AMD expects its upcoming Mullins APU to be "very competitive" with Intel's Bay Trail tablet SoC. The AMD chips are due in the first half of next year, but they may have to contend with more than just Bay Trail-T. Intel is working on a Cherry Trail-T successor that could debut as early as the third quarter of 2014. VR-Zone's Chinese site has posted a slide that highlights some of the differences between the two Atom generations. The information is unconfirmed, of course, but the specs don't look implausible.
According to the slide, Cherry Trail-T will retain the quad-core, quad-thread approach of its predecessor. The peak CPU Burst clock has apparently been bumped to 2.7GHz, a 300MHz increase over the Atom Z3770 Scott tested in September. The memory subsystem is getting a boost, as well. The VR-Zone slide says the new chip will work with low-power DDR3 memory running at up to 1600MHz, a small bump up from Bay Trail's 1333MHz DRAM ceiling. Cherry Trail-T will reportedly support up to 8GB of RAM, as well, doubling the memory capacity of the current chip.
Although the slide doesn't address graphics, Cherry Trail is expected to have an updated IGP based on the same GPU architecture as Broadwell. Memory bandwidth is especially important for integrated graphics, so upping the DRAM speed makes a lot of sense.
The slide indicates that Cherry Trail-T will be built on a 14-nm process, a detail we've known for some time. Intel has committed to updating its Atom CPUs with the same tick-tock cadence that drives Core processor development. A die shrink is on tap for next year, followed by an architectural refresh for the following generation.
Mullins will be fabricated on a 28-nm process, so Cherry Trail-T will have a big lead in terms of process technology. It will be very interesting to see how the two chips compare.
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