Betting On Bay Trail: Intel's Atom Overhaul Tested

A Few Words on Power

Power consumption with Intel's new Bay Trail architecture is a bit more nebulous. Understand that this is an area where Intel is obviously going to optimize for absolute peak efficiency when it comes to building test tablets for the media to evaluate. Such tablets, however, are just that -- test devices. While they should give a strong indication of overall performance, power consumption at the device level is going to come down to whether or not OEMs maximize power efficiency on every component. Swap out a different panel, or use components that can't sleep as readily to save on manufacturing costs, and the end result is a device with higher power consumption; conversely as well of course, if component selection is tailored for efficiency.

Bay Trail fully powered.

As such, these power consumption figures should be taken with a grain of salt. While we believe they are representative of what OEM hardware can offer, they are not the final word. It should be noted that while the figures below are both for the entire platform as measured at the battery, it's difficult to believe they include the actual display. A 2560x1600 display draws far more power than a 1280x800 -- IGZO and advanced power management techniques may well shrink that gap, but it's hard to believe they've eliminated it entirely.
Web Browsing:  
Clover Trail: 3.3W
Bay Trail:  3W

Web Video Playback:
Clover Trail: 4.5W
Bay Trail:  3.17W

1080p Video Playback:
Clover Trail:  3.75W
Bay Trail:  2.67W

Bay Trail, with CPUs mostly shut down but graphics core active

Intel's gaming benchmarks suggests that Bay Trail spends a great deal more power on the GPU than Clover Trail ever did, and these are the workloads where BT drives past CT. Performance per watt, however, is far better thanks to 2-3x the performance, period. In the two gaming benchmarks Intel showed, Bay Trail tied Clover Trail power consumption in one test and was worse (1.5W vs. 1.35W) in the other.

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