Though we gave you a glimpse of it in our IDF 2012 coverage, Intel is officially unveiling their new Atom Z2760 dual-core SoC (System on Chip), code named Clover Trail. The Z2760 is a dual-core Atom-based chip with a 1.8GHz clock frequency and support for Intel Hyperthreading technology which allows two cores to process four threads to enhance performance in multithreaded workloads. Clover Trail is manufactured using Intel's 32nm process node and is targeted at ultra-mobile computing applications like tablets and adjacent convertible devices. Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX545 graphics core has been coupled with the Atom architecture on the Z2760 for what Intel claims will be the best, low-power Windows 8 tablet experience available when they begin to ship from a number of top name manufacturers in the coming months. In fact Intel is claiming design wins from virtually all the top brands, including: Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, LG, Samsung, ZTE, and others. “This is just the beginning of Intel’s effort in the tablet market, and our goal is to deliver products that fit the spectrum of evolving needs of both consumers and business users without compromising on compatibility, experience or battery life,” said Erik Reid, general manager, Application Processor Platforms for Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group. “When people or corporations buy a device with Intel Inside, they’re getting the best of Windows 8 features with a computing experience that just works.”
Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail System on a Chip
High Level Block Diagram of Intel Atom Z2760 SoC
Thermal images are of Clover Trail, Intel's 32nm SoC in active and standby states - click for high res
When the SoC is in the S0i1 power state, for example, the chip’s GPU block, video encode/decode engines, display controller and its links to the IOH are all power gated, while the CPU cores are in a low-power C6 state. It’s only the C6 SRAM, wake logic, and power manager than remain fully active, which reduces power consumption significantly and allows for quick wake up times. This is possible because virtually everything in the Clover Train SoC is power and clock gated. In fact, when the chip is in the S0i3 state (not pictured), the majority of the chip is powered down, save for a bit of memory which must remain active and holds some state data.
We're told we'll be getting an early look at Clover Trail hardware very soon. Several manufacturers have already offered an early peek at the hardware. It's shaping up to be a busy October around here, so make sure you stay tuned. It will be interesting to see how Clover Trail performs versus with Windows 8 in real-world testing, especially versus ARM-based Windows RT tablets, in the weeks ahead. The Intel vs ARM battle will be raging strong again, as Intel continues to drive X86 further down the low power mobile device stack. Once we get all touchy-feely with the first crop of slates to hit our test bench, we'll be sure to let you know.
Can't wait for some of the reviews, it will be interesting to see the load times for windows 8 from a powered down state as well as the battery life in real world use.