Intel may not sell consumer chips under the “Atom” name anymore, but the Intel Atom architecture is still at the heart of low-power processors including Intel’s Celeron and Pentium Silver “Apollo Lake” chips.

These processors tend to be low-power chips that are used in a range of devices including inexpensive laptops, tablets, mini PCs, and industrial or business devices such as IoT products, digital signage, kiosks, or point of sales machines.

They may not offer the same level of performance you’d find from an Intel Core processor, but they’re a lot cheaper and recent chips offer surprisingly decent performance for general computing.

All of which is to say that it’s nice to see what Intel has planned for its Atom lineup — and the company just unveiled a 5-year roadmap.

AnandTech

Unsurprisingly, Atom chips aren’t a top priority for Intel — the company didn’t specifically mention them in its press materials for this week’s Intel Architecture Day. But AnandTech was on-hand at the event, and the website snapped the photo of the roadmap shown above.

In a nutshell, it looks like Atom microarchitecture updates are set to take a slower pace than Intel’s Core chips, with major updates only coming every other year. But that starts in 2019 when we’ll see the first Atom chips based on the new “Tremont” designs.

Tremont is said to bring improvements to single-threaded CPU performance, battery life, and network server performance.

In 2021 we’ll see “Gracemont” architecture, with another boost in single-threaded performance, a bump in CPU frequency, and better vector performance.

Then in 2023 Intel will launch “Next Mont,” (that seems to be a placeholder name) with additional boosts in CPU frequency, single-threaded performance, and additional features.

While the roadmap doesn’t include any details about integrated graphics, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Intel provide a bit of a spec bump for the GPUs as well. The company seems to be taking competition from AMD and NVIDIA seriously.



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12 replies on “Intel unveils 5-year roadmap for low-power “Atom” chips”

  1. The slide actually says “Next Month”.
    So they’re either choosing the name in January, or announcing it, or Intel is so incompetent that they can’t even spell correctly. Maybe they’re feeling the heat under the collar from that latest AdoredTV leak video?

    1. LOL. Intel almost certainly has far more accurate information on what AMD is planning than anything “Adored” has claimed to reveal. There’s a whole bunch of ex-AMD engineers and managers working for them.

  2. Intel should retire the Atom name. It’s tarnished. I had an Atom Android tablet. The worst performing computer device I’ve ever owned. I see “Atom” and I think stay away.

    1. Hey, I have one of those tablets too. It’s in a drawer of my desk at work.
      The worst aspect of the performance was the way the battery drained faster than it could charge, so that I had to charge it fully while off, and then use it plugged in to get a couple of hours of life out of it.

      1. Not so, I had a second-gen Atom-powered netbook in 2008 and it performed decently for what it was.

        On the other hand, the tablet-bound Atom chips (I too have an Android tablet from 2015 with one one of those chips) were absolute crap because it was a total after-thought on Intel’s behalf, they completely missed the boat and tried to improvise something to save face.

    1. Interesting that you think a $200 billion company that still dominates the CPU marketplace and is coming off its best ever quarterly sales and profit will somehow be gone in three years.

      Or maybe you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

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