Intel plans to shift the way it makes at least some of its Celeron and Pentium chips. For the past few years Intel has used those brands to sell low-end processors based on the same architecture as its higher-end Core chips. But soon you’ll start to find Celeron and Pentium chips based on the same technology used in the company’s Bay Trail processors.

While the company won’t call these chips “Atom” processors, they’ll be using the same technology as Intel’s chips for smartphones and tablets.

Intel Atom logo

PC World reports that the new processors will use the same Silvermont architecture as the newest Atom chips.

That explains the recent introduction of new Celeron chips with Intel Atom-like names.

It’s not yet clear if this means every upcoming Celeron and Pentium chip will use Silvermont technology. It’s still possible we could see some based on Haswell (or Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge) architecture used in higher-performance chips.

Intel has said that its Bay Trail chips would offer twice the performance of earlier Atom processors. The company will also offer quad-core versions which should offer better support for multi-tasking and mult-threaded tasks. Eventually we could see Silvermont-based chips with up to 8 cores.

The 22nm chips are also more efficient, which could lead to longer battery life.

Until Intel releases more details about the new chips though, it’ll be tough to say whether new Silvermont-based Celeron chips will offer better performance than you can get from Sandy Bridge-based chips that are already on the market such as the Intel Celeron 847 or Celeron 887.

Intel has also been reducing power consumption in its higher-end Core chips, so it’s likely that a notebook or tablet with a Core i3 or Core i5 Haswell processor won’t actually use much more power than a model with an Atom-based Celeron or Pentium chip. But those models will likely offer much better all-around performance and much higher price tags.

Meanwhile chip maker AMD is hoping its new Temash chips including the AMD A4-1250 and AMD A16-1450 will compete with Intel’s upcoming Celeron and Pentium processors in the mid and low-end laptop and tablet space.

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8 replies on “Intel’s next-gen Celeron, Pentium chips to be based on Atom architecture”

  1. I’m interested in the part where you talk about what’s the performance difference between the new Atom based Celerons and the Core based ones.

    Also, you say that Haswell is supposed to have an average power consumption that’s not much more than the new Atoms? What kind of loads are these?

    1. It’s a little muddy, because Intel wants to start using “SDP” instead of TDP to rate power performance, which isn’t how it’s generally been done up until now. But basically we should see Haswell notebook chips with TDPs as low as 13W and tablet variants as low as 10W.

      Meanwhile, Intel hasn’t really said what the TDP for Bay Trail/Silvermont chips will be, but existing Clover Trail chips tend to top out at around 3W.

      While that means Haswell could use more than 3x as much power, that’s still just 7W more. It wasn’t very long ago that most notebook-chips used 35W. Today most Intel ULV chips in ultrabooks use closer to 17W.

      In other words, we’re getting to the point where the display and other components of a PC might have a bigger impact on battery life than the question of whether you have an Atom processor or a Haswell chip. The biggest benefit to Atom at that point will be low price, while Haswell will win on performance.

      1. I don’t believe this explains those N model Celerons Brad, Bay Trail won’t be released till near the end of the year and Intel doesn’t indicate new model numbers and pricing in their listings until they do officially release them!

        Previous info on Bay Trail indicate they will have a T, M, and D model naming and won’t be using N… Besides, $132 is way too high for a ATOM based SoC!

        Remember, Intel is already on record stating they want laptops, with touch screens no less, based on Bay Trail to be as low as $200 to $300 and there’s no way they could do so if they charge $132 just for the SoC…

        So those model numbers are still a mystery!

    2. Anandtech did one of the few in depth analysis on the new 22nm Silvermont ATOM architecture…

      https://www.anandtech.com/show/6936/intels-silvermont-architecture-revealed-getting-serious-about-mobile

      Intel will be releasing three versions of Bay Trail…

      T (Tablets) Models will be ≤ 3W TDP…

      M (Mobile – Laptops, Hybrids, etc) Models will be ≤ 4-6.5W TDP…

      D (Desktop/Servers) Models will be ≤ 12W

      The D models are the ones that will offer up to eight cores. While the other two offer up to quad (4) cores…

      It’s the M and D variants that will be released under the Pentium and Celeron branding according to the PC World article!

      So we could see quad (4) and octo (8) Celeron and Pentium released based on Bay Trail…

      1. How about the expected average power consumption compard with the ULV
        Haswell chips he asked about which Brad claims to be similar.

        1. Haswell is implementing many of the same power efficiency improvements that Intel already applied to the ATOM SoCs to allow them to be competitive with ARM SoCs.

          However, Haswell also provides more performance and more performance still tends to draw more power. So the averages should be higher than what Bay Trail will offer but that’s the trade off for more performance.

          The differences just won’t be as massive as they were compared to Ivy Bridge.

          Haswell should get about 33% better battery life during active usage and more than 50% improvement when being idle… So battery life may finally get into the good enough range for mobile devices but even the lowest end Haswell will still require fan cooling, etc.

          While Bay Trail can go fan-less for the Tablet range and some of the Bay Trail M/Celeron may as well because models start at 4W TDP and anything below 5W can generally go fan-less… But will transition to fan designs for the upper 6.5W models… While the high end Bay Trail D-which goes up to 8 core and ≤ 12W TDP will be more comparable to the Haswell ULV’s but should still provide noticeably better battery life and of course will still be a lot cheaper to show the distinction between them…

  2. This reads like Intel is just moving the beans around on their plate.
    Celeron, Pentium, and even Atom are all names that say, “old and weak”, “old” and “Newer and weak” to me.

    They’d almost be better off coming up with a new name so that they have something to market at least…

    1. Celeron and Pentium have been Intel’s bargain range for years… Up till now they’ve been basing them on reduced versions of their Core i-Series.

      Most are presently Sandy Bridge based, with Ivy Bridge based versions already starting to be released and they should have them all out in June.

      It can take up to year though, after releasing a new Core i-Series version before they can release a Celeron and Pentium version based on it…

      And Haswell will be the first time Intel will be applying their advance mobile power optimizations, which allows the ATOM SoCs to compete with the power efficiency of ARM SoCs, into their high end chips.

      Given how Intel wants to make a push towards competing in the mobile range, especially against the growing number of ARM options that are starting to come out… It’s just a lot quicker for them to offer the next gen ATOM in that range and quickly provide the both good enough performance and all day battery life…

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