You’d have to look pretty hard to find the performance difference between a netbook from 2008 and one from 2012. While Intel has been steadily reducing power consumption of the Atom processors for laptop and desktop computers, the company hasn’t really done much to boost overall performance, aside from adding support for HD video playback in recent years.

That could change with Intel’s upcoming Intel Atom Bay Trail chips. According to some leaked product slides from 3DCenter, the next-generation of Intel chips could offer up to twice the performance and 3 times the graphics power of previous Atom chips.

Bay TrailWe’ve already seen some of the highlights of Intel’s upcoming “Bay Trail” processors, including:

  • Support for up to four 64-bit cores
  • Support for out-of-order execution
  • Moving from a 32nm to a 22nm design
  • Moving from PowerVR graphics to Intel HD 4000 graphics

The new chips will be based on a new “Valleyview” core which is a complete system-on-a-chip, unlike Intel’s earlier Cedarview platform which used two chips.

One of the biggest changes is support for out-of-order execution, which Intel says will make the new processors between 50 and 100 percent faster than Cedar Trail chips. The move to Intel HD graphics will also add support for DirectX 11 and screen resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 pixels.

While the netbook market isn’t what it used to be, Intel still sees a few different applications for its Bay Trail processors:

  • Bay Trail-M chips will be used for inexpensive notebooks (succeeding Intel’s Cedar Trail chips).
  • Bay Trail-T chips are designed for tablets (and will likely replace today’s Clover trail processors).
  • Desktop, nettop and similar computers will get Bay Trail-D chips.

The tablet chips will be designed to use less than 3W of power, while the notebook chips will hit 6.5W and the desktop processors will use up to 12W.

None of these processors will offer the kind of performance you’d expect from an Intel Core i3, or the latest Celeron processors. But for the first time it looks like Intel is getting serious about giving its low power, inexpensive Atom chips a big performance boost.

The new chips are expected to go into testing early this year, and should hit the streets in early 2014.

You can find more sliders at 3DCenter.

via TechPowerUp and FanlessTech

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18 replies on “Next-gen Intel Atom chips to offer 2x the speed, 3x the graphics performance”

  1. I currently use an Amd E-350 solution which I thought was around 15w for the last few years for a server and for general browsing. It’s just a little bit to slow after overclocking it to 1.7Ghz. I know atom WAS slower ghz to ghz comparing the amd vs intel which is not usually the case. I don’t even have a fan on the cpu which is great. I’m hoping we start to get more low power options that do improve in performance since the last few years AMD and Intel have dropped the ball on these processors. I will buy the desktop one for sure when this comes out.

  2. Hasn’t video driver support been the Achille’s Heel of Atom integrated video? Lots of existing Atom boards leave you with 32-bit Win7 support and little else.

  3. “But for the first time it looks like Intel is getting serious about
    giving its low power, inexpensive Atom chips a big performance boost.”

    Intel loves big margins from overpriced Core iwhatevers. Looking at the complete fail of Ultrabooks they need to offer low power/price models or the OEM’s will start building cheap ARM books.

    Thank you ARM for kicking Intel in their proverbial ass!!

  4. The dual core Atoms gave me 0% to 50% improvement since most of the software I use are single-threaded. I guess the few tasks I do that hit that 50% mark was nice.

  5. I wish to hell Intel would go back to numbers that made some damn sense. All these different Trail names are just too much to remember. 6502 (yeah, not Intel, but shut up), 8088, 8086, 80286, 80386, 80486 … things used to be easy to keep track of.

    1. Agreed.

      The names of the chip lineup read like a list of really nice golf courses, but gives zero information about what order they come in.

  6. And maybe the chips won’t be limited to 2GB of memory, and the manufacturers will make memory expandable above 1GB.

    1. The slides show that the tablet version goes up to 4 GBs while the other notebook and desktop ones go up to 8 GBs.

      1. Tablet version will be integrated though, so you’ll have to make sure it comes with the 4GB!

  7. “You’d have to look pretty hard to find the performance difference between a netbook from 2008 and one from 2012”

    That is a little over exaggerated! Especially as atom used to be single core in 2008. Clover Trail is significantly faster.

    1. I’ve been running the same audio and video transcoding tests on laptops for a few years, and there was virtually no difference between the Atom N270, N280 and N450 in terms of how long it took to transcode those files.

      Things got a little better with dual core, but the biggest gains were in multitasking and HD video playback. In terms of raw CPU power, even the latest Atom-based netbooks are just a little bit faster than the oldest models.

      1. Fair enough. I guess less scientifically you notice less lag, hangs and pauses with the current generation. Of course for this day and age the atom chip is slow period but I still argue that the earlier atom chips had serious weaknesses that have been overcome to the point that the chip is just adequate all round (well with fantastic battery life). Someone with basic needs can live with it as a primary computer without getting frustrated all the time as with the old atom chip netbooks. I guess when you talk about raw power you are right though but I like to take a more holistic all round view.

        I’m talking about the Z2760 aka clover trail. I call those 2012 chips not the single core pinetrail chips.

      2. It’s true that CPU performance is still low but it’s now good enough for basic usage. Since you can actually play HD content with a modern Clover Trail.

        It helps that the GMA now support hardware acceleration and that lessens the load on the CPU in most cases. Along with Windows 8 generally being easier to run.

        While Clover Trail specifically adds hardware encoding as well, which means you can do modest 720P video edits in a reasonable time frame.

        Compared to the old ATOM’s, overall the CPU performance is a little over 50% better than the single core ATOMs, while the GMA provides about 3x the performance.

        This helps at least to allow the ATOM to hold its own in the modern mobile market.

        While the 22nm update apparently promises a similar increase but instead of spread over two generations of updates it’ll be all in a single update and be out by early 2014!

        So looks like Intel will remain competitive, versus other modern low end solutions like ARM.

        We’ll just have to see how the Haswell update is received, but pricing is still a deciding factor for many and it’s unlikely we’ll see Core i-Series based tablets dip below the $500 mark any time soon.

        1. Dual Core basically gives about a 50% improvement and they managed incrementally faster clock speeds for a little extra…

          So yes, when Netbooks first came out it was just okay to be able to play Youtube at 480P or less… Now you can get 720P and most 1080P to play.

          So noticeable improvement, but still multiple times less powerful than modern Core i-Series products.

          Thing is that with the Haswell update they’ll be some cross over in max TDP with the 10W Haswell… So they’re going to have to get more aggressive in how they market them and hopefully that’ll mean better pricing for ATOM based products.

          1. Not quite, the 8W is how low it can go and still provide graphical performance equivalent to present 17W Ivy Bridge, but it’ll be a 10W or higher rated part.

            Mind the leeway needed for features like the auto over clocking, etc. So the 8W isn’t the Max!

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