Intel Apollo Lake SoCs sip less power and offer more performance

At the Intel Developer Forum in Shenzen last week, Intel announced Apollo Lake, a new family of SoCs that will replace Cherry Trail parts. This low-cost SoC family appears to continue the trend of minor performance and power improvements that we have come to expect from Intel's generational releases. Intel says Apollo Lake SoCs will become available in the second half of this year under the Atom, Celeron, and Pentium brands.

According to Anandtech, Apollo Lake will be built on a new microarchitecture code-named Goldmont. Goldmont is etched onto silicon using the same 14-nm process as Intel used for the Airmont cores in Cherry Trail SoCs. The SoC’s graphics block gets an upgrade to Intel’s Generation 9 graphics technology. This gives Apollo Lake the same generation of graphics resources as Skylake CPUs, a change that should yield some performance and power use improvements.

Intel is pushing this SoC family to OEMs as a major improvement in power efficiency and cost. Intel claims that Apollo Lake PCs will be able to use smaller batteries while maintaining similar battery life, further reducing the overall platform cost.  While Intel says Apollo Lake will deliver some performance improvements, the company hasn't disclosed any specific numbers yet.

Intel expects Apollo Lake SoCs to power affordable 2-in-1s, tablets, and ultraportables. These systems should all benefit from Apollo Lake's improvements in power consumption and performance, and they could be thinner and lighter thanks to the decrease in the size of the part's physical package. Intel says "cloudbooks"—systems with limited onboard storage and operating systems like Chrome OS or Windows—will be an important market for Apollo Lake parts. Makers of entry-level laptops and all-in-ones also stand to benefit from the reduced cost and improved performance of the SoC.

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