First, a recap. Clover Trail is the dual-core 32nm Atom platform that will power the first generation of value x86 Windows 8 tablets (and go up against ARM based Windows RT designs). Clover Trail will be in ASUS' Tablet 810 as well as Acer's W510. The two 32nm CPU cores are based on the Saltwell design, which happens to be the same CPU core used in Intel's Medfield platform for smartphones. The GPU core is expected to be the PowerVR SGX 544MP2, and clocked high enough to be competitive with the 543MP4 in Apple's A5X SoC.

Cedar Trail is the 32nm netbook/nettop platform. It uses 1 - 2 Saltwell derived Atom CPU cores and a PowerVR SGX 545 GPU from Imagination. 

Now onto what's new.

An unintentional leak a few months ago brought the codename Valleyview to light. Take up to four 22nm next-generation Atom cores and pair them with Intel's own Gen7 graphics (currently used in Ivy Bridge) and you've got Valleyview. Bay Trail is the platform name.

Today EXPreview posted a bunch of slides offering additional insight into Valleyview. Valleyview will replace Cedar Trail's SoC, although you can expect that a Clover Trail/Medfield replacement will come down the road. The SoC will feature between 1 and 4 22nm Silvermont cores (Out-of-Order Atom, new architecture) running at anywhere from 1.2GHz to 2.4GHz. Each core gets a hefty 512KB L2 cache, for a total of 2MB in a quad-core configuration.

The combination of new architecture, more cores and higher max clock speeds should yield much better performance than Cedar Trail. Whenever this does go into a Windows 8 tablet, the performance should be quite good.

The big news are the four integrated Gen7 graphics engines, which I can only assume refer to Intel's EUs (Intel's HD 2500 has 6 EUs, while HD 4000 has 16 EUs). We've expected Intel to move away from licensing Imagination's GPUs for quite a while now, and it seems like Valleyview might be the first attempt at doing just that. By the time Intel gets to 14nm, I wouldn't be too surprised if it starts playing around with gen-graphics in a smartphone.

That being said, Imagination isn't totally out of Valleyview. In a bizarre move, a VXD392 decode block is still included from Img - despite Intel's own decoder being present in the design. There's a lot of guessing we can do as to why, including having a discussion around power efficiency of decode engines, but otherwise it's unclear why Intel opted to implement both decoders. There's support for hardware accelerated 1080p60 video decode (or 2 x 1080p30 streams). The usual codecs are listed (VC1, H.264, MPEG1/2/4) as well as some additions due to the VXD392 block (WebM, JPEG).

The timing on Valleyview and the Bay Trail platform appears to be late 2013 and into 2014. This seems a bit late, but the netbook/nettop platform isn't really begging for a faster refresh. What really matters is how quickly Intel will bring Valleyview to Windows 8 tablets and a similar setup to Intel's smartphone SoCs. Intel's current roadmaps tell us that we'll see Silvermont based smartphone SoCs in 2013, likely in the latter part of the year. I am hoping for sooner than Q4 2013 if Intel wants to be taken seriously in the smartphone space however. As of now it's efforts have been good, but distinctly not Intel-like.

Source: Expreview

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  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Intel has shown they can be competitive with Arm in terms of Price/performance and TDP with Medfield.
    Intel has had decades of experience, has the best manufacturing and design teams on the planet, they would be the last company I would count out in terms of competing with Arm.
    Reply
  • michael2k - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I wouldn't count them out, exactly, but they've been uncompetitive since 2007. It's only in 2012 that they finally caught up. Reply
  • vortmax2 - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I don't think Intel was really trying to enter into the smartphone market back in 2007. They probably didn't anticipate the explosive growth. Now, they see the potential of the market, but also the potential of their ARM competitors...which is a good thing. I'm looking forward to seeing their Medfield successor... Reply
  • Mike1111 - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - link

    "The big news are the four integrated Gen7 graphics engines, which I can only assume refer to Intel's EUs (Intel's HD 2500 has 6 EUs, while HD 4000 has 16 EUs). We've expected Intel to move away from licensing Imagination's GPUs for quite a while now, and it seems like Valleyview might be the first attempt at doing just that. By the time Intel gets to 14nm, I wouldn't be too surprised if it starts playing around with gen-graphics in a smartphone."

    So Silvermont based 22nm smartphones SoCs in H2 2013 will still have Imagination GPUs?

    And when you write "we'll see Silvermont based smartphone SoCs in 2013" do you mean retail smartphones or just chip availability?
    Reply
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    "So Silvermont based 22nm smartphones SoCs in H2 2013 will still have Imagination GPUs?"

    In support of that notion, this slide (http://www.expreview.com/topic/img/review/News/201... puts Valleyview at, like, Q4 2013, so Atom chips may be Silvermont+PowerVR between now and then. And I bet the chart's of SoC availability; I read it as Valleyview products either in 2014 right at the end of 2013 (in time for holiday shopping). But I'm doing fuzzy math here, so don't believe me.
    Reply
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Sorry, the slide is at http://www.expreview.com/topic/img/review/News/201... Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - link

    "
    The timing on Valleyview and the Bay Trail platform appears to be late 2013 and into 2014. This seems a bit late, but the netbook/nettop platform isn't really begging for a faster refresh.
    "

    I've said it before, I'll say it again. THIS is Intel's Achilles' Heel. The cost of maintain full x86 compatibility (including all that crap, from segments to PAE to SMM to MMX to virtual 8086 mode to ...) that is completely irrelevant to tablets and phones is NOT specifically power, and it's NOT specifically performance and it's NOT specifically area (though it does hurt all three).

    The REAL cost is agility. Intel simply cannot update these chips faster than the schedule we're seeing here because they are so damn complex. The best they could do is emulate their desktop setup --- seven (or more) parallel teams, each working on the model for a different year. That's a hell of a lot of money to throw at a dubious market; and IMHO the very fact that Intel has not done this shows that they have little confidence that they can actually beat ARM.

    So what we see here is something like Apple TV --- a hobby project. Will it one day take off?Who knows? (For either product.)
    But what I see in this roadmap is more of the same as the past few years --- a chip that's OK for netbooks and for the (unproven) Windows 8 non-RT tablet market, but not competitive in phones or most tablets.
    Reply
  • rs2 - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    So what is the TDP of these new parts?

    The Atom was never about CPU and graphics processing power. It's about having a very low-power x86 processor. This article covers virtually everything *except* the most important subject: What is the TDP?
    Reply
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I'm curious too, but I think Intel hasn't revealed any of that, even after glancing at the original slides linked in the post. Reply
  • cyrusfox - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    This will be an epic battle these 22nm atoms that are no longer glorified Pentium 3. Out of order execution is added along with competent GPU. AMD's Jaguar might be beaten here. Jaguar vs the new atom!

    I love my brazos, and I wanted to love atom. I still prefer x86 and these little beast are going to be great. This is going to be interesting
    Reply

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