Intel starts shipping 32-nm Cedar Trail Atom CPUs

Intel has started shipping Cedar Trail versions of its Atom processor. This third generation of the Atom purportedly offers double the graphics performance of Pine Trail thanks to a new GPU core based on PowerVR tech from Imagination Technologies. Although early reports indicated this GPU would support DirectX 10.1, the press presentation (PDF) on Cedar Trail lists only DirectX 9. At least the new "media engine" is supposed to be capable of decoding 1080p content. Intel has also added support for its Wireless Display tech.

Some of Cedar Trail’s improved graphics performance likely comes from the greater memory bandwidth enabled by its support for DDR3 memory up to 1066MHz. Higher clock speeds are also on the menu for the CPU, which is otherwise unchanged from the last iteration. The mobile N2600 and N2800 offer dual cores clocked at 1.6 and 1.86GHz, respectively. For nettops, the Atom D2500 and D2700 serve up the same core counts at 1.86 and 2.13GHz. All but the D2500 can execute four threads thanks to Hyper-Threading.

These new Atom processors are built on 32-nm process technology, and the mobile chips fit into particularly tight thermal envelopes. Intel says Cedar Trail’s average platform power consumption is about 0.5W lower than an equivalent Pine Trail setup. Netbooks based on the new platform are claimed to offer up to 10 hours of battery life. Interestingly, the press release makes no mention of tablets, which typically achieve the same run time with much smaller batteries than netbooks. Intel has a 32-nm Medfield version of the Atom processor targeted at tablets.

Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba are supposed to have Cedar Trail-based systems out early next year, and I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see as many mini media PCs as netbooks. Mainstream consumers finally seem to be catching on to the idea of a computer in the living room, while netbooks have seen their appeal diminished by tablets.

Comments closed
    • BlackStar
    • 8 years ago

    Why would anyone use this joke over Zacate? That’s a serious question.

    Zacate supports DX11, GL4.2 and CL1.1. It decodes 1080p video flawlessly, offers GPU acceleration in browsers, supports WebGL and Flash acceleration, plays games, runs desktop productivity software – it makes for a great low-watt, low-cost all-around machine.

    Cedar Trail is DX9 and doesn’t support OpenGL or OpenCL (thanks to PowerVR graphics). It can finally decode 1080p, but doesn’t support GPU acceleration in browsers (need DX10 / GL2.1 for that), doesn’t support WebGL and doesn’t play games. What’s the point of a CPU that cannot even run a browser acceptably in 2011? This feels like the hardware equivalent of IE6: a relic from a bygone era that just won’t go away.

    You disappoint, Intel.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      You can’t even make up your mind about 1080p… what’s the difference between decoding 1080p and “flawlessly” decoding 1080p?

      Zacate CPU needs help, and it consumes more power than Cedar Trail. And Zacate’s GPU is still pathetic. And it’s just as crippled with Netflix as Atom. Moreover, it’s not moving to 32nm/28nm etc. any time soon. So, no point in paying the battery penalty.

      You disappoint, AMD, but you’ve been doing that for a while now, so I’m not too shocked.

        • BlackStar
        • 8 years ago

        Are you seriously nitpicking my choice of words on 1080p? Oh wait, it’s NeelyCam trying to find something bad to say about AMD again. Keep on trolling, baby.

        Example of NeelyCam-level arguments:

        – “Zacate’s DX11 GPU is weak, so Cedar Trail’s pathetic DX9 GPU isn’t nearly as bad as you make it.”

        Pathetic or no, Zacate’s GPU can play stuff like Starcraft 2, Mass Effect, Deus Ex. Hell, even Skyrim is playable (albeit severely CPU-limited).

        Atom cannot even play Minecraft – there’s just no comparison between the two.

        – “Netflix doesn’t work on Zacate either, so Cedar Trail sucks less in comparison.”

        Go bitch to Netflix to recompile with SL5 and enable hardware acceleration. Guess what, HD will work fine on Zacate then (oh, you went with Atom? Tough luck).

        – “Moreover, it’s not moving to 32nm/28nm etc. any time soon. So, no point in paying the battery penalty.”

        You almost have a point here – almost. But Atom power consumption still sucks compared to ARM, so it’s already lost the low-watt market. And Zacate is infinitely more flexible so it’s also lost the laptop/nettop market. In the end, I’d gladly pay a fraction of a watt more in order to play games, browse the web, run an emulator or a VM if that’s my fancy – and Atom sucks on all of those.

        Unless Intel can fix their stuff, they’d be better off if they just admitted defeat and buried Atom like it never happened.

      • chuckula
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Why would anyone use this joke over Zacate? That's a serious question.[/quote<] And here's a serious answer: The headless media server that I've been running since 2010 with an older generation Atom really doesn't care what GPU is running in it, but it does care about minimizing power usage where Atom has a strong advantage over Brazos. Bear in mind that you aren't playing Arkham City at 1920x1080 using Brazos (or even Llano for that matter) so a lot of the supposed advantages of a dx11 GPU are pretty moot.

        • BlackStar
        • 8 years ago

        Got any power-consumption benchmarks to back that up? My E-350 laptop consumes 6.5-7W on typical use (SSD, internal monitor – edit: measured on Linux using the open-source GPU drivers (no power management) via powertop). It’s <23W at full load (GPU+CPU burn-in test, internal+external monitor, max brightness).

        For a media server you could go with a C-50 and consume even less power. Current-gen Atoms are worse than that, so they don’t make sense. The new Atoms are supposed to be better, but will they be so much better as to actually make a difference? Do consider that a typical 3.5” disk adds around 5-10W depending on spindle velocity, i.e. a more efficient disk may be a better investment than a processor.

          • shank15217
          • 8 years ago

          He’s pulling that out of his bum..

          • chuckula
          • 8 years ago

          YES. I run 4 Samsung spinpoint F1s in software RAID 10, a 64 GB SSD that runs the OS, and a dual-gigabit Intel network card in the PCIe slot. Total power consumption is ~30 watts under load measured at the wall, but I’m using a crappy 200 watt power supply that is likely very inefficient to boot. The majority of that power consumption is likely from the disks and peripherals rather than the CPU (dual-core D510).

          Using SATA over ethernet balanced between the two gigabit network adapters, I can get ~140 MB/sec max serial throughput from the hard drives, which is just about as fast as you can get natively. The system is 100% stable and easy to deal with.

          I use this motherboard: [url<]http://supermicro.com/products/motherboard/atom/ich9/x7spa.cfm?typ=h[/url<] (note the lack of fans).

        • shank15217
        • 8 years ago

        Bull**** maybe the new atoms have lower power than brazos but the older one does not (stay tuned for 28nm brazos which will even the power usage). You can do headless media server with a router that supports a usb connection and takes a 1/4 of the power an atom. Don’t even compare the DX11 graphics in brazos to atom, its about 4 generations ahead.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Did you miss the memo? There won’t be a 28nm brazos.

            • raddude9
            • 8 years ago

            Did you [b<]read[/b<] the memo. AMD dropped the GlobalFoundries 28nm Brazos, this does not mean that they are skipping 28nm Brazos.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    *froths at mouth* zzzrgghffssd…..ARM!

    • insulin_junkie72
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]and I can't help but wonder if we'll see as many mini media PCs as netbooks. Mainstream consumers finally seem to be catching on to the idea of a computer in the living room[/quote<] For mainstream use, I'd say more that the functionality has gotten rolled into Blu-Ray players, dedicated media players, and TVs. They've all made huge strides in the last year or two.

    • tfp
    • 8 years ago

    Can’t wait for the benches vs Bulldozer in clock for clock performance and performance per Watt.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      I admit, I LOL’d

    • barich
    • 8 years ago

    I wish that more streaming sites would take advantage of the hardware accelerated video decoding found in nearly every computer. Netflix is unwatchable in HD on my Acer 1410 (CULV dual-core 1.2 GHz Celeron, GM45 chipset) even with Silverlight 5, which supposedly supports hardware acceleration. And I can play 1080p YouTube videos without a problem, but HBO Go, which also uses Flash, can’t even manage a steady framerate in SD.

    I’d love to build a low-power HTPC around an E-350 or Cedar Trail, but until these sites are running properly there’s not much of a point. And I don’t want something higher power for a device that will be always on.

      • odizzido
      • 8 years ago

      I was curious if my laptop could handle HBO go, so I looked them up on google. The website title said “HBO Go, it’s HBO, anywhere” and I thought oh good, they let you watch from anywhere.

      Upon clicking, it said I need to live in the US to use the website…..I guess the definition of anywhere at HBO is pretty loose.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    PowerVR tech? Bet you the Linux video drivers will suck /bad/.

      • chuckula
      • 8 years ago

      Sad but true. Unfortunately PowerVR is a suckfest for Linux, and it doesn’t matter if you are using ARM or Intel for that matter.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 8 years ago

      Who cares? Ascii ‘command line’ style videos aren’t very fun to watch anyway.

      Linux can barely get audio playback right, so honestly what do neckbeards expect?

        • adisor19
        • 8 years ago

        Comme on guys, that was pretty funny ! Stop burying him.

        Adi

      • BlackStar
      • 8 years ago

      Windows drivers will suck just as much, you can bet on it: Win7 64-bit drivers won’t be available on release. Read that again: [b<]Win7 64-bit won't have GPU drivers for Cedar Trail[/b<] on release. If you are lucky, they will release them at some point in the future. *If* you are lucky. (For those with short memories look up "Poulsbo", Intel's previous PowerVR attempt). Do you really want to be in Intel's mercy? Source: [url<]http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2011/12/intel-working-to-keep-the-netbook-alive-with-cedar-trail-atom-platform.ars[/url<]

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 8 years ago

    Meh. Atom is still an underpowered joke that has no place on the desktop.

      • tay
      • 8 years ago

      May be but anyone getting these for home servers? I’m looking forward to the products.

        • FuturePastNow
        • 8 years ago

        I tried a first-gen Atom 230 in a home server and was disappointed. Tasks like drive indexing were never-ending and the mobo had only two SATA ports, necessitating a crappy PCI SATA card. Now a new dual core Atom will be a bit more powerful but I bet Intel will still restrict features like the number of ports the mobos can have and the amount of memory they can use.

        A low-voltage desktop processor (it’ll be idle most of the time, anyway) and a cheap motherboard with plenty of SATA ports is a better solution for the home server.

      • ish718
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, those single core atom netbooks offer terrible performance compared to laptops much more desktops.
      I think the dual core atom brings performance to a somewhat acceptable level, but they’re always overpriced…

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