Next-gen Atom graphics described in leaked slides


— 6:00 AM on November 19, 2013

All these leaks about Intel's upcoming Cherry Trail Atom processor certainly have interesting timing. Last week, AMD revealed its next-gen Mullins APU for ultra-low-power devices like tablets and convertibles. One day later, a leaked slide teased details about Cherry Trail-T, the 14-nm replacement for Intel's Bay Trail-T SoC. Now, more slides have made their way onto the web, this time with information about Cherry Trail's integrated graphics.

If the leaked specifications are to be believed, Cherry Trail's integrated graphics component has 16 execution units, or EUs, up from four in Bay Trail. Those EUs are based on a "Gen8" graphics core that's expected to be shared with Broadwell. We don't know how Bay Trail's Ivy Bridge-derived "Gen7" EUs compare, and we don't have information on clock frequencies. It certainly looks like Cherry Trail is getting a big boost in graphics horsepower, though.

In addition to more pixel-pushing oomph, Cherry Trail appears to have more robust video encoding and decoding hardware. The slides describe an updated encoding engine that can churn out 1080p footage at 60 FPS—double the frame rate of Bay Trail. The video decoder has apparently been upgraded, as well, but there are no specifics beyond the nebulous Gen8.

And now, for the alphabet soup of supported APIs: DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2, OpenCL 1.2, and OpenGL ES 3.0, all of which are improvements over Bay Trail.

According to the slides, Cherry Trail-T's IGP offers power-saving features similar to those of its predecessor. The IGP also supports dynamic refresh rate switching, panel self refresh, and adaptive backlight control. The display outputs listed in the comparison table are all the same as for the current generation, but there's no word on the maximum supported display resolution. Bay Trail-T tops out at 2560x1600, which seems sufficient for modern tablets.

Cherry Trail-T looks pretty potent, at least based on the latest leaks. The SoC isn't expected to arrive until the third quarter of next year, though. AMD's Mullins APU is due in the first half of 2014. It will be interesting to see how many design wins the AMD chip scores with Bay Trail devices already on the market and Cherry Trail lurking over the horizon. Thanks to TR reader SH SOTN for the tip.

   
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