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.