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The first tablets featuring Intel Atom Z3000-series Bay Trail processors are due to hit the streets in the coming months. And if early benchmarks are anything to go by, they’re going to offer significantly better performance than any Atom-powered devices to date.

The folks at AnandTech spent a few hours with a test unit featuring an Atom Z3770 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 10 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel display, and they came away impressed with both the performance and the power consumption.

In a nutshell, it looks like Intel’s new chips will offer performance that’s on par with AMD’s Kabini processors, but significantly lower power consumption. While there are more powerful chips on the market, Bay Trail processors will likely hit a sweet spot between price, performance, and power consumption, resulting in tablets that cost less than $500, offer 8 hours of battery life, and performance that’s about as good as a mid-range laptop from a few years ago.

Intel Atom Z3770 Bay Trail PC Mark test from AnandTech

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14 replies on “Lilbits (9-11-2013): Intel Atom-powered tablets are about to get good”

  1. When can I expect a mini-ITX board with the new Atom? I am looking to replace my E350-based HTPC system.

    1. I’m sure the Pixel will be upgraded with an Haswell eventually.

      As for the Chromebooks, they’re not in the same price range. These Atoms will be placed in 500-700$ tablets while the Chrombooks won’t go over 500$ except for the Pixel.

      For comparison’s sakes, the Celeron 847 performs marginally better then the Exynos 5250 – but only by a little or even the same inreal world usage on the different Chromebooks models.
      Now, this Atom z3770 is advertised to triple the performance of the Z2760. Which in turn is roughly 20-40% faster then the 847.
      So, that’s about 4x times faster for 600$ vs. the Exynos 5250 that is found in the Samsung Chromebook for 250$. Power consumption has also improved so you can expect similar or better battery life on the newer models with much higher resolutions but smaller touch screens.

      Personally? I think Intel has a great CPU that is about to fail spectacularly at first. No one will buy a tablet for that price to run Angry Birds. And the market for a Windows tablet is non-existent. I would even argue their involvement with Tizen, Wayland and GnomeE17 is proof enough they know this too. And that they’re getting ready to push out Linux devices with those CPUs if and when windows will flop.

      1. Fortunately, Asus has just proved you wrong by producing the first convertible laptop/tablet hybrid with a quad-core Bay Trail processor for only $349–including the keyboard dock and running full Windows 8.1:



        This is a gamechanger in every sense of the word. It really does provide 2x the power of the Clover Trail platform. It’s not quite a Sandy Bridge Core i3 but, at Celeron or possibly even dual core Pentium performance levels, this is real laptop level computing power we’re into now folks…

        1. yeah but the Asus has a 3740 chip not the 3770 as discussed in the article

          1. Pricing won’t be that different and should still stay below $500 for the types of devices announced so far… really, OEMs tend to charge more for memory capacity and LTE…

          2. The 3740 is still a quad core, and is clocked only a little slower… So still providing over 2x the performance of a Clover Trail… While it’s the lower cost version and that’s kind of the point of a budget model product!

      2. Can you run linux on the 5250? If you dont’ care about GPU drivers maybe. ARM and the SOC manfacturers haven’t done jack to address the messy driver situation. Either you run sanctioned limited versions of android or nothing. If intel bay trail has the same driver problems as these arm SOCs then it will be toast if intel doesn’t aggressively price match. If the drivers are wide open then that would definitely halt growth of ARM based SOCs and you will see intel taking over settop boxes running xbmc, etc.

        ARM had *years* to try to address the crap driver situation and did nothing about it, I hope they and the SOC manufacturers get punished for these mistakes.

        1. Intel added Bay Trail to their Linux driver support back in April… and Linux 3.11 kernel also brought Intel Bay Trail audio support… So while full support still has to be verified it’s looking very good for the new platform…

        2. Actually you can run Linux on the 5230, and there are several ARM Linux distributions that are available that can run on ARM Chromebooks.

          1. The number of distros that will just run on ARM is still very limited and there’s a difference from being able to run a distro from it working 100%!

            Problem with ARM is hardware fragmentation and closed drivers make consistent support pretty much impossible right now. While even supported systems tend to require additional work to get everything working and updates can lag quite a bit from x86 support, which already lags a lot from Windows support.

            Even Android often gets dropped in less than 2 years for any ARM device, which is one of the reasons for the Rapid End of Life cycles that are the norm for mobile devices, and that’s with the primary OS usage for mobile devices that desktop Linux really hasn’t tapped into yet.

            The loops you have jump through to get desktop Linux working on a ARM Chromebook also border on the level that many average consumes may simply not want to bother… After all, most consumers never alter the OS from how it came pre-installed… So it will hardly promote use of desktop Linux, which is already not a large part of the market, on ARM…

            So it’s very hard to get excited about Linux support on ARM… but x86 is a known factor and with Bay Trail providing official Intel Linux driver support and the official Linux Kernel also developing direct support, it makes it far simpler to choose… Especially with linux based releases of Bay Trail expected to go a lot lower than the Windows releases…

            Intel stated there will be a sub $100 device coming out for example, while typical Android tablets based on Bay Trail are expected to be down to $200… So can compete with even mid range ARM devices like the Nexus 7… and you’ll still be able to put any OS you want on it!

      3. “These Atoms will be placed in 500-700$ tablets while the Chrombooks won’t go over 500$ except for the Pixel.”

        Have you not checked out the prices given for the upcoming Toshiba Encore, Dell Venue, and Asus T100?

        They’re all Bay Trail, running Windows 8, and all below $400!

        The Asus T100 even includes the Keyboard dock and even with 64GB it only goes up to $399!

        Really, Intel plans ATOM based products to go as low as $99 and a Android Bay Trail Tablet should be only around $200!

        Bay Trail is lower cost than the previous Clover Trail and OEMs aren’t going to be making the same mistakes as they did with the first gen of W8 tablets.

        1. I think Haswell is the way to go, not Atoms. It is only Windows 8 tablets that are going to end up using Atoms.

          Intel’s chips are a lot more expensive than ARM’s, although they have caught up with ARM’s last gen chips on power for the higher end of tablet power drain capable CPUs, due mainly to FinFET transistor junctions.
          However ARM isn’t staying still either and with FinFET transistor chips due 2014, the power advantage should shift back to ARM.

          1. Price is a good deal of the point for Bay Trail, the ATOM SoCs are being priced competitively with the high end ARM SoCs.

            While the other is battery life, as power efficient as Haswell is it’s still not as power efficient as Bay Trail and can’t be put into as small devices as Bay Trail can be!

            So there’s still trade offs to consider… Haswell will offer better performance but will cost a lot more and won’t be offered for devices as small as Bay Trail can be… The later Broadwell will be a better mobile solution, as it promises another 30% improvement in power efficiency but that’s over a year from now…

            While it’ll take more than FinFET for ARM to regain a clear power efficiency advantage. Since Intel is hardly staying still on that front and as long as they have a clear FAB advantage then they can keep the power efficiency gap competitive.

            For example, as ARM goes 20nm, with half 16nm node, advance… Intel will be already pushing their 14nm FAB out… The ATOM will also be getting another architectural advance at the same time… So the end of 2014 will see Silvermont 22nm Bay Trail starting to be replaced by Airmont replacements at 14nm!

            And by the time ARM goes 14nm, Intel will be hitting 10nm…

            So it won’t be cost or power efficiency that will determine who wins but rather performance and what features and conveniences they can offer and right now… x86 offers the better flexibility as you can run the entire range of software on them but ARM is still limited in what it can offer.

            But ARM still has the market dominance and momentum on their side. So nothing is certain yet but we can be pretty sure they’re going to be competitive for awhile!

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