Leaked Valleyview slides detail next-gen Atom SoC

Some possible details have leaked out regarding next-generation Atom processors. The information comes from an official-looking presentation deck published by EXPreview. Most of the slides appear to be in Chinese, but there’s enough English to get a sense of Valleyview, a quad-core SoC that will purportedly arrive late next year.

Valleyview’s clock speeds are estimated to be in the 1.2-2.4GHz range, and it looks like there’s 512KB of L2 cache per core. The higher clock speeds may be limited to single- and dual-core versions of the chip, which will exist alongside the full quad-core implementation. All three variants should share the same dual-channel memory controller, which apparently offers ECC support in single-channel mode. Low-power DDR3 should reach speeds as high as 1333MHz on Valleyview.

The SoC is purported to include four "Intel Gen 7 graphics engines" that combine to offer a 4X-7X improvement in graphics performance, traditionally a weakness of Atom. Naturally, the integrated GPU supports video decoding and encoding. Looks like Intel has added a secondary decode engine, Imagination Tech’s VXD392, to help with video and image decoding. The Imagination Tech engine appears to be capable of handling JPEG images and VP8 video, which aren’t listed among the formats supported by the GPU.

Platform I/O isn’t all that sexy, but the fact that Valleyview brings it onboard is notable. The chip will reportedly sport dual 3Gbps SATA ports, four PCIe 2.0 lanes, and a Gigabit Ethernet MAC. Add four USB 2.0 ports and one of the SuperSpeed variety, and you’ve got a complete PC platform on a single chip. The full-fat implementations of Valleyview seem to be limited to a 27 x 25 mm package. However, the slides also mention a 17 x 17 mm "HDI" package with only one memory channel and less integrated I/O.

Intel will likely discuss Valleyview at IDF San Francisco in a couple of weeks. We’ll be on the scene to bring you the latest from the show.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    When was the last time an Atom was relevant?

    Unless they’ve changed the architecture altogether, the fundamental Atom pipelines are worthless; Even with discrete graphics, the Atom itself was always a show-stopping bottleneck for everything it tried to do.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Weird… I didn’t think interconnects actually needed to be crippled for low powered chips like atom. Are all the interconnects crippled so it doesn’t compete with low end i3s?

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Interconnects can eat plenty of power, but minimizing cannibalization of higher-end chips could also be a reason (although, wouldn’t the brand name “Atom” be enough to accomplish that..?).

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I don’t know… There aren’t a lot of reasons to put last generation I/Os on a Atom.

    • scrummage55
    • 7 years ago
      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Put it in a tablet and I’ll think about it

    • odizzido
    • 7 years ago

    Dear god progress is slow with atom/fusion products.

      • DavidC1
      • 7 years ago

      Valleyview doubles the amount of cores while increasing performance/clk with the new architecture. It’s slow compared to what?…

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        Took, what, 5 years..

          • djgandy
          • 7 years ago

          I don’t think they were in a rush to do it quicker. Building a full SoC in 5 years is not that bad actually.

          • DavidC1
          • 7 years ago

          5 years from 2008 to 2013 we would have went from Nehalem to Haswell. While top end desktop chips had sustained improvement, Atom gets one big one that gets similar rate of improvement. End result is that they are the same.

          Plus, the 2012 Atom is 32nm with 2 cores and 2-issue in-order. So again its a big jump.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    If they can wring decent performance and performance:power for basic use out of these, they would be killer for inexpensive x86 tablets.

    • codedivine
    • 7 years ago

    Is Valley View finally bringing a new microarchitecture, or are we still stuck with the original Atom microarchitecture from I think 5 years ago?

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      From my understanding, ValleyView is not a new microarchitecture. There is a new microarchitecture coming at 14 nm and apparently Atom will be the first 14 nm part that Intel ships.

      Intel definitely needs to take Atom seriously if it wants to win any measurable marketshare from ARM. I’m not sure if the 22nm parts will steal large amounts of marketshare from ARM in phones/tablets, but they will put up a good barrier to entry in places where ARM wants to encroach on x86 like low-power servers.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        yeah, same arch. still in order, still likely slow as f.

          • tfp
          • 7 years ago

          Yet faster than ARM

            • tviceman
            • 7 years ago

            But still watt for watt less efficient.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            It’s VERY unlikely that ARM chips in late 2013 can compete with this in power efficiency. 22nm trigate vs 28nm planar is no-contest

            • tfp
            • 7 years ago

            yep

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        I thought it has a new core architecture (Silvermont, like WillBach said).. why do you say it isn’t?

        What I wanna know is if Valley View is the 22nm cell phone chip followup to ********.. or if there’s anothe chip for that purpose with cell phone specific IOs.. I mean, why would anyone need SATA on a phone..?

        And Q4/2013? Nominally 2013.. the “we’ll go faster than Moore’s Law” doesn’t seem to be holding. So, I guess 14nm chip will come no earlier than Q4/2014… crap, that hurts my chances to win that bet with dpaus

          • chuckula
          • 7 years ago

          There is some confusion about this matter. I’m a little less sure than I was before, but if you read the Anandtech article that WillBach posted, it both says “yes there is a new architecture” but it doesn’t include any real details about what the changes to the CPU cores would be (there is a lot of talk about changes to uncore and the GPU, and I fully agree that the 22 nm parts have big updates in those areas).

          Right now I’m less certain about whether or not the 22nm Atoms have a new microarchitecture. The fact that we haven’t heard any real details about architecture changes means I’m leaning more toward the same cores that are die-shrunk and integrated on-die with a much improved uncore & GPU. If the changes do happen at 22 nm, then Intel is cramming a tick (die shrink) and a tock (new microarchitecture) into Atom in a single generation. Then again, if they update Atom at 14 nm they’ll be doing the same thing, so maybe Intel is willing to take a bigger risk on Atom because it is in an important market and because the dies are relatively small to begin with.

            • WillBach
            • 7 years ago

            Update: [url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/6203/details-on-intels-valleyview-soc-emerge-22nm-atom-with-ivy-bridge-graphics<]Anand[/url<] says it's indeed O-o-O. That's a good point, I guess I hadn't really checked to see if Silvermont was a true out-of-order design. Atom was introduced in 2008, and Intel said then that it would be an in-order design for five years, so I assumed that the 2013 Atoms would get a new design because they were also getting a new core. (And I may have picked up subliminally on the Krait and A15 cores moving to wider, more out-or-order-capable designs.) Your comment piqued my interest and I checked, there's really not much out there regarding specifics. [url=http://semiaccurate.com/2011/05/13/intel-talks-up-2013-atoms<]SemiAccurate[/url<] says Atom is getting a "Tick-Tock" cadence, a [url=http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20062087-64.html<]CNET[/url<] article called a "new" architecture but I guess we don't know. I guess I've been waiting for O-o-O Atom since my wife (then girlfriend) bought a netbook in 2008 and never really checked to see if one was on the way. Oh well, I've read enough, back to work 😐

      • WillBach
      • 7 years ago

      It’s a new architecture. The 22-nm Atom processors use Silvermont. Geoff Gasior wrote about it [url=https://techreport.com/discussions.x/20953<]here[/url<]. [url=http://semiaccurate.com/2011/07/28/intel-accelerates-atom-development<]SemiAccurate[/url<] has an Intel statement saying its [quote<]32-nm (Saltwell), 22-nm (Silvermont) and 14-nm (Airmont) process technology in 2012, 2013 and 2014.[/quote<]Anand wrote about the actual chip packaging [url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/4333/intels-silvermont-a-new-atom-architecture<]here[/url<]. Edit: typo.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    Anything that dumps the PowerVR graphics and their atrocious drivers is a plus.

      • jdaven
      • 7 years ago

      AFAIK, all Intel integrated GPUs based on PowerVR technology use Intel-made drivers. I’m not sure if dumping the hardware will magically allow Intel driver development teams to make better drivers based on a new technology.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        Considering that Valley View will have 4 of the same EUs that are already shipping in Ivy Bridge for the GPU, I don’t think the drivers will be impossible for Intel to write.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          If you’ve followed the news at Phoronix, there’s already preliminary support for VV in the intel driver (for linux). And their driver development has been very impressive. The performance and feature gains that they’ve made in the last 12-18 months has been very encouraging–to me, at least, as I own a SB based laptop.

          I’m not a fan of Atom at all and this is the first one that I’m actually anticipating.

        • DavidC1
        • 7 years ago

        Actually, Imagination technologies is reluctant in open sourcing their drivers, keeping it proprietary. That significantly hinders development. That’s why Intel is ditching PowerVR and going with Gen in the future.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      This is the curious part.. I remember David Kanter saying 22nm Atom uses PowerVR Series 6 graphics. Or maybe that’s for the cell phone chip, and Valley View is something else..?

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        Valley View is mostly for set-top boxes, netbooks & the like (maybe bigger tablets, especially if MS is cramming Ivy Bridge into a tablet these days). The cellphone chips are a step down in power consumption and at least one more iteration of Medfield is due that is supposed to include a beefier powerVR GPU. I could see Intel sticking to PowerVR only in the smartphone realm while pushing its own GPUs into more areas.

          • DavidC1
          • 7 years ago

          Valleyview is actually for embedded. Most of the Intel leaks are based on embedded products, including Haswell.

          Notice they have different Atoms for different markets.

          45nm:
          -Moorestown: Smartphone/Tablet
          -Oak Trail: Tablet
          -Sodaville/Groveland: Set-top boxes
          -Tunnel Creek: Embedded

          For 32nm:
          -Medfield: Smartphone/Tablet
          -Cloverview: Tablet
          -Berryville: Set-top boxes

          22nm:
          -Merrifield: Smartphone/Tablet, successor to Medfield

          I don’t know the name for 32nm embedded product, but for 45nm it was Tunnel Creek. Valleyview is the 22nm successor to Tunnel Creek.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            Ah, [i<]Merrifield[/i<]! That codename has somehow eluded me for sooo long! This is making me feel merry; finally I'm on the verge of winning that nasty bet...! Or not. Merrifield in Q4/2013..?

            • WillBach
            • 7 years ago

            What were the terms of the bet again? Also, [url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/6203/details-on-intels-valleyview-soc-emerge-22nm-atom-with-ivy-bridge-graphics<]Anand[/url<] says that it is indeed out-of-order. No more details :-/

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            It was that Intel has 10% of smart phone market share at the end of 2013, and 50% at the end of 2014.

            Right, dpaus?

            • chuckula
            • 7 years ago

            I could see the 2013 part of your bet coming true if Intel acts aggressively, but you may have painted yourself into a corner with the 2014 bet.. the smartphone market is *BIG* and even Intel isn’t counting on dominating it in that way that quickly. In fact, it would probably be counter-productive for Intel to expand that rapidly… I could maybe see 20% with an *aggressive* rollout by the end of 2014.

            Just think of the AMD Kamikaze “30% market share or death” runs of the past for why Intel is more interested in growing at a reasonable rate… not too slow and getting run over, not too fast and regretting the overexpansion.

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