Intel has launched its latest Atom chipset, Bay Trail, with quad-core (four CPUs) System on a Chip (SoC) architecture intended for low-power devices. Intel is honing in on the tablet and smartphone markets, currently dominated by ARM-designed processors such as Snapdragon (Qualcomm) and Tegra (Nvidia).
Intel's chips are the predominant chip found in desktop and laptop computers and have been for decades. These markets are now looking lacklustre compared to the tablet and smart phone markets, which are seeing higher rates of growth.
Intel is looking to tempt tablet-makers away from ARM, specifically with its Atom Z3000 series of System on a Chips (SoCs) im the Bay Trail platform. Its first attempt with the Clover Trail platform, only made it into relatively small numbers of tablets
Compared with its predecessor Clover Trail+, these new SoCs double the computing performance and treble the graphic performance, says Intel.
Basically, Bay Trail is faster and tablets are able to run for longer off the same battery, say market commentators.
By using 3D transistors Intel has been able to increase computational power, as more transistors are packed into the same space (3 on each fin as opposed to 2) requiring less power for each task and also eliminating previous power leakage issues.
Bay Trail introduce Intel’s new Burst Technology 2.0, which can alter the areas of the SoCs (the processor cores) that receive the most processing power to maximise performance without breaching temperature limits. The chips can scale power up or down dynamically, so if graphics functions need to process more, it can take processing power from another function.
Bay Trail chips support both Android and the full Windows 8 operating systems, making them ideal for convertible tablets. Current ARM-based processors support Android and Windows RT, meaning some applications which need Windows 8 aren’t fully supported right now.
Android and Windows 8.1 tablets based on Intel’s new Bay Trail platform will be out soon, as visitors to the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco were given a preview of some early prototypes.