Intel Announces New Z670 For Tablets

Intel is on record as talking about MIDs, netbooks, and the device ecosystem it envisioned in between long before much of the current tablet craze, but the company has been oddly quiescent in recent months. Talk of dual-core ARM-based products, from Tegra to the iPad 2, has dominated the industry, with scarcely a peep from Intel. As of now, that's changed. Intel has unveiled its first Atom explicitly aimed at the tablet market. It's the Atom Z670, and it's Intel's chosen SoC for reclaiming lost mindshare that's been snapped up by other solutions.

That's netbooks on the left, tablets on the right

Intel continues to foresee strong growth in tablets with moderate continued gain for netbooks. Note that the netbook graph (in yellow) starts in 2010 for a reason. If it went back to the market segment's debut, the drop between 2009 and 2010 would be significant. Leaving out that info makes for prettier lines (and a better record as an industry forecaster).

Intel's argument for the continued importance of both segments is neatly captured in the Venn diagram above. Now we come to the crux of the matter, and the established argument (from Intel's perspective) that the Z670 Atom is a platform for any choice of device. Intel notes that the chip supports Windows 7, Android, and MeeGo, operates at 1.5GHz, and can access both Intel's Appup center and MeeGo's value proposition. More cracks are sprouting in the Wintel Alliance—once upon a time not so long ago, Intel would've included a slide about the many benefits of Windows 7 support, as opposed to claiming MeeGo is a platform that "thinks like you do." The chip has a TDP of 3W, supports Intel Rapid Burst Technology (meaning it'll self-overclock for very brief periods of time), but it's a single-core / dual-threaded chip.

The Atom component of the SoC, in fact, offers virtually nothing to get excited about. It incorporates advanced SpeedStep features that first-generation Intel Atoms lacked, but it lacks 64-bit support. When all is said and done, it's hard to get excited about a core whose performance has scarcely changed in three years.

Luckily, the GMA 600 (built, like GMA500, on Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX 535). The GMA600 can run at double the clockspeed of its predecessor and offers commensurately higher performance. Its features, including 1080P output, are what put the new Z670 on par with what other tablets are offering. The GMA 600 isn't new either—it debuted when Lincroft did—but the higher TDP and discussion of video features implies the GPU will be clocked higher than what we saw with previous Lincroft products.

We'll be watching to see if the new Z670 is followed by fresh talk of Intel tablets to challenge the likes of Motorola's Xoom or the iPad 2. We suspect Intel is keen to regain mindshare in these areas—it's unusual for non-x86 products to gain prominence in an x86 market for very long.
Via:  Intel
omegadraco 3 years ago

From the sound of this it does not seem like it can complete with AMD's fusion solution

schmich 3 years ago

AMD fusion isn't the competition as much as ARM chips are. This is a tier a bit lower in performance and TDP.

rapid1 3 years ago

An Atom from what I have heard nor an ARM currently can compete with the Fusion chips and setup's, and it is also way cheaper as well as much more energy efficient than anything Intel currently has on the market.

joel h 3 years ago

Uh, no. Wrong on multiple counts, and in multiple ways.

1) Fusion isn't a brand; it's a product strategy. It refers to putting GPUs and CPUs on a single die. Therefore, Bobcat is a Fusion product. Llano is a Fusion product. Future versions of Bulldozer that combine CPU and GPU will be Fusion products--but the first iteration of Bulldozer *isn't.*

2) Bobcat is a 40nm chip. It is not an SoC. It is not designed to fit into the same power envelope as an Atom. Atom can't match ARM power consumption; Bobcat can't match Atom. The fact that Bobcat's lowest-power versions may debut in a few tablets doesn't mean it's truly a competitive solution. AMD won't be able to even think about targeting these markets until Ontario and Zacate are shrunk to a 28nm process. Even then, they'll be playing the "rich experience" card as opposed to the "great battery life" card.

Remember, folks, physics is a ***. Atom looks the way it does because Intel chose to conserve power virtually every time when it came time to choose between power and performance. Bobcat outperforms Atom because AMD chose to improve performance at the cost of maximum power conservation. This isn't going to magically change at some point in the future. ARM chips, in fact, will end up drawing more power as they adopt certain x86 features.

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