Microsoft is working on its next-generation operating system designed to run on touchscreen tablets as well as it does on laptop or desktop computers. Intel, meanwhile is working on a next-generation Atom chip designed to work in tablets, netbooks, and other low power devices. See a trend here?

This next part should come as no surprise, but it turns out that Intel is hoping to time the launch of its new chip to coincide with the launch of Windows 8.

The Intel Atom Cloverview platform will replace the company’s Oak Trail chips next year. Cloverview chips will be the first Atom processors built with a 32nm design. Intel hasn’t released many details yet, but the company wants these chips to compete with low power ARM-based processors, so it seems like a safe bet that they’ll use less power and generate less heat than today’s Atom processors while offering higher performance graphics.

Intel will also continue to offer N-series and D-series Atom chips which use more electricity, but which offer higher performance computing for netbooks and budget laptop and desktop computers.

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3 replies on “Intel plans to have Atom Cloverview chips ready in time for Windows 8 launch”

  1. Intel’s decision to launch Cloverview Atom chips at about the same time as Windows 8 makes a lot of sense. When Win8 arrives a lot of companies are going to announce tablets with that OS. If Intel doesn’t offer something nearly as power efficient as ARM processors, it will lose out.

    1. It matters towards whether Intel will be able to provide any serious competition towards ARM offerings by the time Windows 8 comes out.

      Oak Trail brings power usage pretty close to what ARM offers, but it’s mainly the fact Windows is still x86 only that you would prefer it over an ARM solution. 

      Remember, MS is making it so Win8 can run on ARM and they’re already closing the gap quickly in performance with ATOM.  Some have already exceeded it graphically and provide better power efficiency and manufacture costs.

      While Oak Trail only provides a little better graphics than present ATOM solutions, the GMA 600 is basically a GMA 500 with double the clock speed to better handle HD video and limited entry level gaming, but the CPU performance is not as robust and presently only single core is offered.  While the cost per chip is also pretty high for what it offers.

      Thus going smaller means Intel can offer better pricing while possibly offering more performance or at least the same performance for both lower cost and lower power usage.

      While ARM is a little behind on the manufacture die shrink.  Even the upcoming Tegra 2 is still a 40nm product. But ARM manufacturers have more experience with making SoC’s and leveraging both power efficiency and costs than Intel, along with market momentum in the mobile arena.

      So Intel needs a more significant edge to close the gap if they expect to make headway in the mobile market.

      Right now that’s limited to the fact ARM is still 32bit processors, they are getting 64bit memory management but that’s about it for now, they’re still 45-40nm, and they can’t run software made for x86 hardware directly.

      While Intel has been 64bit for years now, even the ATOM series supports 64bit OS (though not full support of 64bit memory management), are already headed for 32nm for Cedar Trail this year, and of course can run any made for x86 hardware software.

      These advantages though can all change, we already know about Windows 8 for example, and Intel will start losing the reasons people would still favor them over the growingly popular ARM solutions unless they create new advantages to keep them competitive.

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