I hasten to tell you about a piece of news that is sure to interest netbook and tablet enthusiasts. According to Intel, the next generation of Atom chips will hit the market in the 4th quarter of 2011. Code name of the platform is “Cedar Trail”, it will be based on the chip, created by 32-nm process technology.
The new Atom will have both a CPU and a new GPU on board with support for DirectX 10and high-definition video. Thanks to the transition to the new tech process, Intel engineers were not only able to increase the clock speed while maintaining the same thermal package (TDP) (as in the earlier Atom), but even reduced the latter. The Cedar Trail will use the same NM10chipset as the Oak Trail.
The table shows the specifications of the existing Atoms and those expected in the near future.
|Intel’s Atom Lineup|
|L2 Cache (KB)||512||1024||512||1024||1024||1024|
Also, according to experts, Intel may update Pine Trail series, probably it will happen in Q3 2011. Most likely the updated processors will run at frequencies close to 2 GHz and consist of single-core and dual-core Atom processors, but without a GPU upgrade.
Cedar-Trail will be able to show full support for DirectX 10.1 and HD decoding (MPEG2, VC1, AVC and H.264) with Blu-ray 2.0. In addition, there will be significantly improved support for video interfaces, including HDMI 1.3a, DisplayPort 1.1, EDP (integrated DisplayPort), LVDS and VGA. Also, the integrated graphics will be able to support up to two monitors.
Unfortunately, the specifications, clock frequencies and supported resolutions of the embedded GPU are not reported yet. Presumably, it will use a stripped-down version of Arrandale’s HD Graphics. Despite this, the GPU will be significantly faster compared to the GMA 3150.
One of the main questions remains: “how Cedar Trail can compete with Brazos (a new, promising, mobile platform from AMD)”. After all, according to tests , the AMD E-350 easily beats the D510. The D2700 is 500 MHz faster than the D510, so in terms of performance, the CPU should equal the E-350. On the other hand, the graphics built into the chips from AMD, demonstrates very decent results, in the case of the platform from Intel, in terms of graphics performance, nothing will become clear until the first tests. Regarding the “heat pack”, the Cedar-Trail is a head over the Brazos, 10W vs. 18W – a fact that could play a decisive role for ultra-mobile device manufacturers.
Ultimately, the Cedar-Trail is essentially a logical continuation of the Pine Trail and will focus on netbooks in the $300 price range, although it’s possible that we’ll see the D2700 in more expensive versions as well. Like previous generations, the new atoms are designed for basic office tasks such as web browsing, email and instant messaging.
Well, let’s look forward to some interesting solutions based on Intel’s new power-efficient platform. Thank you for your attention.