Details leak on next-gen Atom tablet SoC

Although tablets with Clover Trail Atom CPUs have yet to hit the market, we’re already getting hints about Clover Trail’s next-generation replacement. A collection of presentation slides leaked to Mobile Geeks compares the new platform to its Bay Trail-T successor. The next-gen platform isn’t due until 2014, and it should be quite a departure.

According to the slides, Bay Trail-T will comprise a Valleyview-T system-on-a-chip fabbed using 22-nm process technology. Clover Trail is built on the 32-nm process used to fab Sandy Bridge, but Bay Trail will get upgraded to the tri-gate, 22-nm transistors used for Ivy Bridge. Intel will be making changes inside the Atom CPU core, as well, trading the old in-order microarchitecture for a new Silvermont design that offers out-of-order execution.

Interestingly, the slides suggest that Hyper-Threading isn’t part of the Silvermont architecture; the Valleyview-T SoC is listed as a quad-core, four-thread chip. The clock speed is pegged at 2.1GHz, and performance is purportedly up 50-60% versus Clover Trail.

On the graphics front, Intel is purportedly moving away from the PowerVR GPU used by current Atom processors in favor of its own “Gen7” integrated graphics. The new GPU will improve performance by a factor of three and add support for DirectX 11, the slides say. Looks like USB 3.0 will be included in the platform, as well. Serial ATA support doesn’t appear to have made the cut, but this is Bay Trail-T, which refers to the tablet version of the platform. SATA, PCI Express, and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity are expected to appear in the full-fat version of Valleyview, which we wrote about in September.

Comments closed
    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    To me, that sounds like the first Atom worth buying.

    Unfortunately, Intel’s waiting until 2014 to release it. I’m going to hate waiting that long for a Windows 8 x86 tablet. Damn you, Intel. Skip the in-order crap and get to the out-of-order awesome already. I want to run my Steam games on my tablet and you’re really messin’ with mah zen thing by making me wait. I’d be fine with an in-order CPU if I was paying $200-300 netbook-like prices for these tablets, but when they want $800-$1k, I feel like Intel’s just laughing at me.

    If only we had a viable competitor in the tablet space with an OoO x86-based CPU that might make Intel get some hustle. Unfortunately, their chief competitor in the x86 space died years ago, swallowed up by some GPU company with bad drivers, and they’ve been phoning it in ever since.

    Haha, j/k. Well, about ATI stealth buying AMD in the guise of being bought out. And the bad drivers. AMD’s really turned ATi’s bad driver crap around. What I’m NOT joking about is the lack of a competitor in an insanely attractive market for CPU’s where Intel’s highway robbery continues to run rampant.

      • maroon1
      • 7 years ago

      From what I heard 22nm atom is going to be out 2nd half of 2013

    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    WTF. We (MSFT) will be filing for bankruptcy before then. Fuck

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    I know this is off topic but did Intel cancel the release of LGA2011 enthusiast Ivy Bridge processors?

      • Game_boy
      • 7 years ago

      Latest rumours are Q3 2013.

      Remember Intel has no competition and can release when it likes.

        • jdaven
        • 7 years ago

        Okay, thanks.

    • brute
    • 7 years ago

    it’s funny cuz they call it atom but it’s actually made out of them

      • Farting Bob
      • 7 years ago

      From personal experience in existence, most things are.

    • UberGerbil
    • 7 years ago

    Well, SMT makes a lot more sense for an in-order core where there are pipeline bubbles to fill. It only makes sense for an OoO core if it’s wide enough to have execution resources sitting around. So assuming Intel isn’t practicing its Artificial Segmentationâ„¢ (always a dangerous assumption, granted) this may suggest Bay Trail isn’t as wide as recent Intel designs, which would also make sense given Atom’s constraints and intended niche. I do wonder if it will implement AVX[i<]n[/i<]. There's undoubtedly a significant floorplan and power hit for that, but it would be a pity if the ISA gets even more fragmented and developers see yet another new CPU headed into wide release without it.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]trading the old in-order microarchitecture for a new Silvermont design that offers out-of-order execution.[/quote<] It's about time, what's the point of an x86 chip that doesn't have one it's best features?

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    HALP: AM CONFUSED BY TOO MANY ATOMS!

    Diamondsomething:
    Atom N270 – first gen netbooks (uselessly slow)

    Pine”Fresh”:
    Atom N4xx – second gen netbooks, same rubbish CPU but now with godawful IGP.
    Atom N5xx – second gen netbooks. two of the same rubbish CPU, and still with awful IGP.

    Cedarview (is this Clover Trail?):
    Uh, N2600 – third gen netbooks. I either missed it, or this is nothing but a die shrink.

    Valleyview (or is this Clover Trail?):
    Silvermont? This article – Out of order (hooray) and Ivy graphics? Not yet on the market I guess.

    Bay Trail-T:
    Silvermont/Airmont? OH MY GOD WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

    Wikipedia is not helping and I hate (old) atoms too much to look it up elsewhere 😉

      • nico1982
      • 7 years ago

      Brace yourself (I’m not a native english speaker, it will not help).

      The first Atoms were based on the Bonnell microarchitecture and were manfactured on a 45 nm process. The first was Silverthorne (Z500) and was targeted at MIDs. It has been followed by Diamondville for dekstop and laptop (N270, Atom 330). Both of them do not have an IGP. However, Silverthorne coupled with the Pulsbo chipset with a GMA500 make up the Menlow mobile platform.

      Then Intel started integrating Img Tech GPUs on the die. Pineview and the relative Pine Trail platform was the part targeted at desktops and laptops (N470, D510). Lincroft (Z600) was the mobile part. Lincroft can be coupled with two chipset: Langwell, which miss a PCI bus and can’t run Windows and Whitney Point which include a bunch of I/O interfaces and can run Windows. Lincroft coupled with Langwell is known as Moorestown, while Oak Trail is the platform made up with Lincroft and Whitney Point.

      Intel then shrinked Bonnell to 32 nm and named it Saltwell. Penwell was the first iteration on this new architecture, and is used in the Medfield mobile platform. It is now commercially know as Z2460. Cedarview, used in the Cedar Trail platform (N2700, N2800) is geared to desktop and laptop. The most recent iteration of Saltwell is Cloverview, used in the Clover Trail platform, which can be found inside smartphone and tablets as Z2760.

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        Your English is fine. The problem, as your post makes clear, is that Intel’s Atom line has apparently gone Full Nvidia.

          • axeman
          • 7 years ago

          I’m too lazy to login usually, but I did this time just to upvote the phrase “gone Full Nvidia”.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            Never go full Nv….

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            Guano loco?

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        Hey, that’s useful info.

        What you’re saying is that everything available at the moment and the immediate future is still the in-order, godawful Bonnel architecture.

        They’ve renamed it and shrunk it, and brought IGP and memory controllers on-die etc, but to date, every Atom ever made still has a woefully-slow Bonnel core at it’s slowly-beating heart?

        I just fixed an Atom netbook today. The fault was “everything is really slow”. Turns out the machine had a pretty clean install, no unnecessary crap running on startup and it even had a 2GB RAM upgrade and a 500GB MomentusXT in it. Bonnel is dog-slow, and you really can’t polish a turd.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          Which makes the 50-60% performance increase (part of which has to be the clock speed bump) no all that exciting. Considering how well bobcat kicks Atom butt, it’s going to need more than that to keep up vs Jaguar.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 7 years ago

    This is sounding awfully familiar. No HT, out of order, not-so-subtle hint about the “new” Atom core last year:

    [url<]http://www.zdnet.com/blog/computers/intel-says-future-atom-processors-will-match-amd-phenom-ii-performance-in-2015/6453[/url<] Core 2, is that you? For [i<]phones?!?[/i<] Shrinking a Penryn Celeron dual-core to 22 nm would be under 20 mm², still close to the existing 32 nm Atom dual-core SoC with the other parts included. This tablet version could be much larger. The Apple A6X is 124 mm². That's plenty of room for two more cores and a GPU potentially equivalent to Ivy Bridge.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      Uh…???

      The assumption that Intel is simply die-shrinking Core 2 because there are some superficial similarities in architecture (OoO, non-hyperthreading) is a little bit of a stretch.

      Of course there are going to be similarities with other chips, after all the components can’t really be that radically different, but that’s not the same thing as flat-out shrinking an existing design and calling it a day.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 7 years ago

        I was trying to point out the consistently implied capability of the next Atom core. Apparently I failed.

        The chip I referred to isn’t an actual Core 2, but a butchered Celeron. The point is that the cores and cache of such a thing could realistically be small enough to fit in a phone. When redesigned along with an integrated memory controller, new system bus, and so on, it could perform equally to a Core 2.

        So Atom phones that keep up with Core 2 laptops. Atom tablets that keep up with Core 2 desktops. It’s possible. Just a thought…

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          Yes, though the transistor library will be tuned for low leakage rather than clockspeed, hence the 2.1GHz ceiling (vs what Ivy Bridge can achieve on the same process). So maybe it could keep up with similarly-clocked Core 2s, but the real “keeping up” that needs to happen in tablets and phones is battery life (and heat), and the comparison there is not with anything containing a Core 2.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]So Atom phones that keep up with Core 2 laptops. Atom tablets that keep up with Core 2 desktops. It's possible. Just a thought...[/quote<] I think the power/cooling envelopes will keep this from being a concern for a while yet. They might be able to put a C2D into a phone, but they won't run it aggressively.

    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Serial ATA support doesn't appear to have made the cut.[/quote<] Noooo... eMMC is bad enough when apps load slowly on WinRT. Imagine the load times for full fat x86 applications on a Win8 tablet. :/

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      Two words: Power Consumption. You ain’t getting full SATA support in your iPad either.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    So we are starting to get a clearer picture of the SoC market out to 2014. The way I see it we will have the following ARM vs. Intel match up in 2014:

    Intel – Quad Core Valleyview-T OOO @ 2.1 GHz w/ Gen7 graphics on 22 nm Tri-gate

    ARM – Quad Core ARMv8 OOO @ 2.0 GHz+ w/ (fill in favorite graphic tech) on 20 nm Tri-gate

    Looks nice and competitive which is good for us.

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      AMD – Quad Core Tumbleweed OoOoOoOoO @ 0.0 GHz w/ Reality Distortion on 40 cm Triffle

      • cal_guy
      • 7 years ago

      The ARMv8 chips that are coming from AMD are for their SeaMicro systems so in essence those chips will be anti-SOC that will only need to contain the CPUs, memory controllers, and the SeaMicro/Freedom Fabric controllers. The Jaguar based SOC will compete against the next-gen Atoms and they seem to be coming nicely unlike the Steamroller based cpu.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    The main problem with Baytrail from those slides is the launch date… mid-2013 would be much much better. Intel is highly schizophrenic about the mobile sector. On one hand it does all these crazy things to get Haswell into low-power form factors, but then on the other hand it goes out of its way to delay launches of its truly low-powered Atom chips into tablets and phones.

    I’m really hoping that there is a 22nm Silvermont derivative ready for launch in 2013 for phones. The Baytrail chips are bigger and really targeted at tablets, but maybe Intel is flailing around less on the phone SoCs… maybe.

      • Zoomastigophora
      • 7 years ago

      You’ve got to remember two things when dealing with Intel product plans:

      1. With a company as large as Intel and involved in as technical a market segment as CPU design and fabrication, their product and technology development pipelines are staggeringly deep. These are like 5-10 year product plans. Intel doesn’t expect to react to the market, it expects to define the market.
      2. Different divisions of Intel are like mini-empires unto themselves. The reaction rate to market changes will vary depending on what divisions are handling what products and how deeply pipelined their plans were.

      So what you’re seeing now is mostly Intel adapting to the market where necessary at a pace that doesn’t completely destroy their product plans and existing development work.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      I wonder if there was a delay… There was a lot of talk about 22nm SoCs coming in early 2013. Also, I vividly remember that David Kanter said the GPU would be PowerVR Rogue – yet this says it has Gen graphics. Was there a change in plans? Why?

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        As far as Valley View, it has been known for some time that it would use an Intel GPU (cut-down version of Ivy Bridge to be precise). Remember, ValleyView/Baytrail are bigger tablet & netbook (if those are still around) chips, not really smartphone chips.

        However, there are other Silvermont architecture chips like smartphone chips and I’d expect the next generation to be using a licensed GPU like a PowerVR derivative, so Kanter may have been referring to a different flavor of Atom.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          Ah, I see. That makes sense

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