Intel's 2013-2014 Bay Trail Platform Leaked, But With Netbooks Dead, Will Anyone Care?

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News Posted: Thu, Jan 3 2013 3:20 PM
New leaked slides from Intel have shed additional light on how the company's 2014 platforms will challenge ARM products in the netbook/nettop space. At present, the company's efforts in the segment are anchored by Cedar Trail, the 32nm dual-core platform that launched a year ago. To date, all of Intel's platform updates for Atom have focused on lowering power consumption and ramping SoC integration rather than focusing on performance -- but Bay Trail will change that.



Bay Trail moves Atom to a quad-core, 22nm, out-of-order design. It significantly accelerates the CPU core with burst modes of up to 2.7GHz, and it'll be the first Atom to feature Intel's own graphics processor instead of a licensed core from Imagination Technologies. TDPs are expected to hit the 4.6-5W range at the low end, with 10W parts at the upper -- that's comparable to Cedar Trail's overall target spread. Full HD encode/decode are also going to be supported. With DDR3-1333L (low-power) support, and external resolutions of up to 2560x1600, the new mobile platform should finally shake the netbook stigma that's dogged Atom for years.

The new 22nm chip should be a strong competitor for AMD's Kabini (28nm, quad-core, expected to drop by the middle of this year) as well as ARM designs based on the Cortex-A15. They'll also flatten Atom's previous performance.

Even without knowing the details of Atom's leap from in-order to out-of-order execution, we know the move will substantially increase the chip's efficiency before any additional clock speed or the move to quad-core is considered. Overall performance could jump by 50-70% as a result. That's going to put Intel in excellent shape to compete with both AMD and the various ARM vendors -- provided that the netbook space remains viable to begin with.

That last is somewhat in doubt. Asus and Acer announced this week that they would no longer manufacture any netbooks. These upgrades, however, could give Atom platforms the leg up they need to anchor the low end of the notebook market, rather than being consigned to a fundamentally lower class of performance. AMD is likely trying something similar with Kabini -- that chip will come in a quad-core configuration with an enhanced GPU, and may be capable of competing in markets where Brazos simply didn't have the chops.


Launch, however, is still a ways away. Bay Trail's netbook / nettop aren't a major focus for Intel in 2013 -- not when the company is focused on driving its traditional Core series of processors down to the 10W envelope and below. We expect Intel's CES disclosures to focus on Haswell as well as upcoming smartphone/tablet/ultrabook design wins, with less space dedicated to parts that won't debut for a full year.

Update:  Bay Trail's tablet platform is still expected to debut in 2013, with many of the features of its nettop/netbook cousin and the same quad-core, 22nm architecture.
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Hi Mr. Hruska,

And third competitors:

The new 22nm chip should be a strong competitor for AMD's Kabini (28nm, quad-core, expected to drop by the middle of this year) as well as 28nm VIA QuadCore CN-R designs based on the VIA "Isaiah II".

VIA "Isaiah II" Architecture new Highlights

• new quad-core processor (CN-R) on a single chip

• 28nm TSMC lithography

• 2MB L3 Cache

• SIMD: up to AVX2

• 1333MHz V4 Bus

• speeds from 1.2GHz to 2.0GHz

• advanced VIA PadLock Security Engine unit with new cryptography operations

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JDiaz replied on Thu, Jan 3 2013 9:27 PM

Quote, " and it'll be the first Atom to feature Intel's own video graphics instead of a licensed part from Imagination Technologies. "

No, it's just the first since the ATOM went 32nm! Unless you meant first ATOM SoC with Intel graphics?

The original ATOM started with Intel based embedded graphics, GMA 950 and then GMA 3150 when they came out with the Pine Trail update, and it was the Z-Series ATOM that first introduced a Imagination PowerVR GPU based GMA, specifically SGX535, with the GMA 500 (200MHz), which later got enhanced to GMA600 (400MHz).

It was the release of 32nm Cedar Trail last year that marked when all ATOMs were switched to Imagination PowerVR, with the SGX545 based GMA3600 (400MHz) and GMA3650 (640MHz).

While Medfield used one based on SGX540 and Clover Trail uses one based on SGX545, like Cedar Trail but clocked between the 3600 and 3650 at 533MHz.

However, it is the first time Intel is putting any serious effort into the technology for the ATOM as the new GMA will be based on the higher end Ivy Bridge HD4000... just scaled down from 16 execution units to 4 but is claimed to still offer over 3x the performance of the present Clover Trail GMA.

A nice bump for sure but AMD should still hold the graphical advantage over Intel but at least this will mean ATOMs will get back full 64bit support and Linux driver support, as well as helping Intel hold its own graphically in the mobile market.

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Intel-based netbooks are dead. ARM-based Android netbooks are alive and well. As usual, Intel missed the boat by relying on vastly inferior GPU technology.

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zuriel replied on Sun, Jan 6 2013 8:03 AM

After the last few yawn-inspiring Atoms, it's very nice to see a real performance boost.

With the CPU much better and decent video performance, this could be a nice chip to put in a media PC or a 10 to 12 inch laptop.

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