Cherry Trail debuts as the Atom x5 and x7 series

— 8:00 AM on March 2, 2015

With the Atom x3 series, Intel has made certain concessions to cost and time-to-market concerns. The company has made fewer compromises with the Atom x5 and x7 series, formerly known as Cherry Trail. These are the first Atoms built using Intel's 14-nm fab process, and they boast Intel Gen8 integrated graphics—the very same found in Broadwell.

Where the Atom x3 lineup targets entry-level phones and tablets, Intel expects the Atom x5 and x7 family to power everything from 7" tablets to 10.1" two-in-ones with prices ranging from $119 to $499.

Source: Intel.

The Atom x5 and x7 series includes three chips, the specs of which are outlined below. Click the buttons above the table to switch between them:

Specifications Intel Atom x5-8300
CPU Quad core 64-bit Atom x5
Up to 1.84 GHz
Process 14 nm
Graphics Gen8 12 EU, up to 500 MHz
DX11.1, OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.3, RS Compute
Media (encode/decode) HEVC (decode), H.264, VP8
Memory 1x32, 1x64 DDR3L-RS 1600, 1-2GB
Display resolution Internal: 1920x1200 (MIPI-DSI or LVDS)
External: 1920x1080 (HDMI)
Modem (discrete) Intel XMM 7260/62 LTE Cat-6
(up to 300Mbps DL) M.2 only for x5 8300
Connectivity Intel WLAN, Intel WWAN (M.2 modules),
Intel NFC
Input Output 6xI2C, 2xHSUART, 1xSDIO, 3xI2S, SPI, PCIe 2.0 x1, 1xI2C(ISH), 1xI2C (NFC)
Storage eMMC 4.51
Up to 8MP Intel RealSense Snapshot

Note that the Atom x5-8300's peak speed is limited to 1.6GHz when more than two cores are active. Also, Intel says its customers can pair that processor with LPDDR3 memory "if needed."

The company hasn't given us a full architectural run-down of Cherry Trail yet, but its presentation did include this block diagram of the new silicon and its accompanying platform:

Source: Intel.

The Airmont CPU cores are die-shrunk versions of the Silvermont cores that debuted inside Bay Trail. Accordingly, Intel says Cherry Trail offers "very similar" CPU performance. Power consumption and battery life, too, are supposed to be similar to last year's offerings.

What has changed since last year is in the graphics department. The new Gen8 IGP makes Cherry Trail quite a bit faster than Bay Trail, by Intel's account. Compared to the Atom Z3795, Intel says the new Atom x7 delivers gains of up to 2X in GFXBench 2.7's T-Rex HD scene and up to 50% in 3DMark's Ice Storm Unlimited test.

On top of that, Cherry Trail's platform has been spruced up with "new user experiences." Those include RealSense, Intel's 3D camera technology; True Key, its facial recognition system; and Pro Wireless Display, which enables secure wireless projection to conference-room screens.

Devices based on Atom x5 and x7 processors are due out in the first half of this year. Intel's partners for the launch include Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba.

Some of those systems will feature LTE connectivity. Initially, Intel says its XMM 7260 LTE modem will be used. In the second half of the year, however, the company plans to release the XMM 7360, its third-gen LTE modem. The 7360 will support 3x carrier aggregation and speeds of up to 450 Mbps.

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