bit-tech.net

Intel teases 22nm tri-gate Atom system-on-chip parts

Intel teases 22nm tri-gate Atom system-on-chip parts

Intel's next-generation Atom SoC designs, codenamed Merrifield, will be based on a 22nm process and feature tri-gate transistor technology, the company has announced.

Intel has promised to launch third-generation 22nm Atom system-on-chip (SoC) processors by the end of the year, even as it announces the first shipments of Clover Trail+ dual-core chips.

Announced at the Mobile World Congress event today, Intel's new Atom Z2580, Z2560 and Z2520 system-on-chip processors offer dual 32nm processing cores running at 2GHz, 1.6GHz and 1.2GHz respectively, with support for Hyper-Threading to bring the total simultaneous processes count up to four - helping the chip maker compete with the current raft of quad-core ARM processors that dominate the smartphone and tablet market. The graphics engine, too, gets an overhaul, with the Intel GMA now boasting 533MHz core frequency in Turbo Boost conditions and a claimed three-fold performance boost over last-generation Atom SoC parts.

'Our second-generation product delivers double the compute performance and up to three times the graphics capabilities, all while maintaining competitive low power,' claimed Intel's Hermann Eul at the event, somewhat disingenuously equating "double the cores" with "double the compute performance." Even so, it's an impressive platform with extra features such as support for 16 megapixel image sensors, burst-mode capabilities capturing eight megapixel images at 15 frames per second, and enhanced high-dynamic range (HDR) capabilities - something Nvidia's rival Tegra 4 SoC is also promising.

The first product to include the new Atom parts will be Lenovo's top-end IdeaPhone K900, which packs the full-fat 2GHz Atom K2580 behind its 5.5in high-resolution display. Further products have been promised from Asus and ZTE, with Intel hinting heavily that it will be powering Android tablets and phones in the near future.

The real story, however, was in the product to follow Clover Trail+: Merrifield. 'As we transition to 22nm Atom SoCs later this year,' Eul teased, 'we will take full advantage of the broad spectrum of capabilities enabled by our design, architecture, 22nm tri-gate transistor technology, and leading-edge manufacturing to further accelerate our position.' While Eul wouldn't be pushed on a precise schedule or specifications, the use of tri-gate transistors and a process shrink will help boost performance while dropping battery draw - something Intel needs to continue in its fight against Cambridge chip design giant ARM.

Intel will have a long road ahead of it, however: ARM architecture processors remain the chips of choice for the mobile industry, and that is unlikely to change in the near future - tri-gate transistors or no tri-gate transistors. With mobile developers working on ARM-compatible packages first and considering x86 compatibility a distant second - if at all, with many Android apps still refusing to install on an Atom-based device - Intel faces something of a Catch 22 scenario as it attempts to convince more manufacturers to adopt the chip and more developers to support the x86 instruction set in mobile hardware.

No release date for Merrifield parts has been provided, with Intel merely stating that production begins later this year - meaning the first Merrifield-equipped hardware likely won't hit shop shelves until the second half of 2014, when ARM Cortex-A15 hardware like Nvidia's Tegra 4 and Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa eight-core chip will likely be well established.

11 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Blackshark 25th February 2013, 14:22 Quote
Rather than post a &%/( youtube vid - Ill merely say bleh.... Atom was wrong and poor when it came out and has caught up little in the past 5 years
jrs77 25th February 2013, 15:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark
Rather than post a &%/( youtube vid - Ill merely say bleh.... Atom was wrong and poor when it came out and has caught up little in the past 5 years

Atoms are actually quiet OK. The only thing they lack is GPU-performance. I have a Zotac IONITX A-E (Atom 330 with GeForce-9400) for a few years now running as a HTPC and it has enough power really to playback any media I throw at it. It's even powerful enough to play some older games at 1080p without problems.

The newer chips like the N2800 are not bad either, and the iGPU is powerful enough to playback BluRay-media aswell, and it draws way less power, then my old solution.
When they move from 32nm to 22nm the TDP will drop even further and maybe they'll use the headroom for a more powerful iGPU to make the package better.

The problem with the Atoms in the mobile-market is it's x86-architecture. Developers have grown up with ARM in this sector and simply don't want to adopt to x86, allthough the mobile Atoms, like the Atom Z2760 have proven to be as powerful and efficient as the best ARM-packages allready.

The biggest advantage of the mobile Atoms really is the Windows-compatibility that allows to run native x86-software and it's really a shame that Microsoft uses the Tegra3 in the Surface RT, as the Z2760 is better in all aspects. I think Microsoft has taken the wrong turn here by going with an ARM-SoC.

The next year will tell, if intel can gain some ground in the mobile market, but this only depends on the developers really, as the new intel chips are not the problem to begin with.
law99 25th February 2013, 15:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark
Rather than post a &%/( youtube vid - Ill merely say bleh.... Atom was wrong and poor when it came out and has caught up little in the past 5 years

Alright buddy. Calm down. As the song says:

Tease me, tease me, tease me Tease me baby,
till I lose control
Tease me with your love until I lose control
Take all my body and soul,

Not F&£$! Mate, your Atom is $)(!^. Boom... lost it.

:)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Atoms are actually quiet OK.

Do you mean Quiet OK. Like, don't say it too loud or it'll wake the neighbours, and they might have a thing or two to say about that!

OR: It's ok.
jrs77 25th February 2013, 17:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by law99
Do you mean Quiet OK. Like, don't say it too loud or it'll wake the neighbours, and they might have a thing or two to say about that!

OR: It's ok.

Atoms are fine, OK, allright, whatever term suits you...
Speed 25th February 2013, 18:01 Quote
Think he means you mixed up quiet and quite! :)
Yslen 25th February 2013, 18:12 Quote
[QUOTE=jrs77]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark

The biggest advantage of the mobile Atoms really is the Windows-compatibility that allows to run native x86-software and it's really a shame that Microsoft uses the Tegra3 in the Surface RT, as the Z2760 is better in all aspects. I think Microsoft has taken the wrong turn here by going with an ARM-SoC.

The next year will tell, if intel can gain some ground in the mobile market, but this only depends on the developers really, as the new intel chips are not the problem to begin with.

+1

My thoughts exactly. Everyone seems very hostile against the latest Atom chips but compared to alternatives they perform very well, plus being x86 are ideal for low-powered productivity.
dicobalt 25th February 2013, 19:26 Quote
I just put 2GB of RAM and a SSD in my 2010 Eee netbook and it's totally a different computer now. Well, before I don't know if I would have called it a computer to be honest. Now I can play anything up to 720 in VLC and I haven't run into an embedded video on a webpage that wouldn't play properly in Firefox flash player. It's just too bad I can't upgrade the horrible 1024x600 LCD *puke*
Xir 26th February 2013, 09:19 Quote
I still like my Atom eee netbook.
It's no powerhouse for sure but the battery still lasts about 8 hours. Don't know about HD playback but it suffices for DVD quality.
Yeah the LCD is a bit small and it doesn't support digital output.
Maybe i should look for one of the later makes.
law99 26th February 2013, 11:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed
Think he means you mixed up quiet and quite! :)

Yep.

To be fair, unless you were doing only playback of media, the atom used to be unacceptable. You could use and SSD, more RAM etc... but you were always only going to be doing the most basic of tasks.

As long as you were aware of that before the PC World salesman told you it would set your world on fire and you could edit video, run anti-virus scans and watch pron all at the same time because it's a dual core, you were fine.
Xir 27th February 2013, 10:20 Quote
No, I surf and type a bit, if that's what you expect they perform well.
If you buy a netbook for videoediting, well the name shoud have been a clue :D
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums