As expected, Intel has announced that it’s now shipping low-power Celeron and Pentium processors based on “Braswell” architecture. These chips replace the Bay Trail-M chips that have been popular in low-cost Chromebooks and Windows laptops for the past year or two. Braswell chips could be used in other notebooks, 2-in-1 devices, and small, low-power desktops.

msi eco

The new chips are all 14nm, 64-bit processors that support up to 8GB of RAM and feature Intel HD graphics.

The Intel Celeron N3000 is a 4 watt, dual-core processor, while the Celeron N3050 is a slightly more powerful 6 watt, dual-core chip.

The Celeron N3150 and Pentium N3700 are 6 watt, quad-core processors that should offer all-around better performance.

Now that the chips are shipping, we’re starting to see products based on the platform: MSI has already unveiled 3 new Mini-ITX ECO motherboards using the Celeron N3050, Celeron N3150, and Pentium N3700 chips.

Meanwhile, as UMPC Portal points out, Intel is also introducing a reference design for a 2-in-1 Braswell tablet/laptop called “Orchid Island.”

orchid island

The design is for a $300ish device with a detachable keyboard, an Intel Celeron N3000 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display.

The Orchid Island reference design includes USB 3.0, HDMI, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0. The tablet measures 11.9″ x 7.7″ x 0.4″ and weighs 1.7 pounds. In laptop mode the system measures 0.76 inches thick.

Intel says all of these chips should offer up to twice the graphics performance of the Bay Trail processors they replace. That should help them handle high-definition video playback as well as some modest gaming.

The new processors also generally use a little less power than their Bay Trail counterparts… but don’t expect that to translate into huge battery life improvements. The difference between a 6 watt and a 7.5 watt processor isn’t really enough to matter very much. Dimming the screen on your laptop a little bit will probably have a bigger impact on battery life than moving from a Bay Trail-M to a Braswell chip.

via UMPC Portal and Tom’s Hardware

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7 replies on “Intel’s low-power Braswell chips are now shipping”

  1. Does Braswell and Cherry Trail use the same architecture on the CPU side?

    1. no. cherrytrail and broxton have different cpu architectures. I believe gpu configurations will be identical. all presently shipping braswell are cherrytrail.

      1. The question wasn’t about Broxton but Braswell, which is the same architecture as Cherry Trail… and there’s also the difference that Braswell is for the Celeron/Pentium product range but Cherry Trail is specifically for the tablet market…

        Otherwise, correct… Broxton will be based on the next gen Intel ATOM Goldmont architecture that will finally give Intel a scalable and customizable architecture that should be able to better complete with ARM…

        But they’ll also changing the GPU again to a Gen 9… So Broxton will offer both a CPU and GPU advancement under the Goldmont Architecture…

    2. Yes, Braswell and Cherry Trail are both based on the Intel ATOM Airmont Architecture…

    1. It’s basically the same update but optimized differently for the part of the market they are intended…

      Cherry Trail replaces Bay Trail T for tablet range devices that use mobile hardware (LP-DDR3 RAM and eMMC storage being examples) and have to compete with ARM range power efficiency… Thus the 2W SDP emphasis, defaulting to having Connected Standby enabled by default, etc…

      While Braswell replaces Bay Trail M/D for the Celeron/Pentium range that we normally see in low cost laptops, Chromebooks, etc… Operating at a higher TDP, defaults to having Connected Standby disabled, can use regular SATA drives and DDR3L RAM, etc…

      The lower emphasis on power efficiency and higher TDP does mean there’s a performance advantage for Braswell but it’s not a huge difference… and the main improvement over Bay Trail is the much improved GPU performance for up to twice what Bay Trail offered but the CPU performance improvement barely registers on benchmarks and would be mostly unnoticeable to end users…

      While, you’ll mainly just have to compare individual models… as some may be dual core and others may be quad core and thus offer different performance levels…

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