Tag: Silvermont

Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU: Part One

Wednesday’s IDF Keynote started by asking the audience to stand for a moment of silence in remembrance of lives lost on 9-11 in 2001. From there, it was business as usual with product hype and promises of future success.

Intel seems to be spotlighting health. It opened with a feel-good video of Jack Andraka, child prodigy and biology whiz. Andraka is a high school sophomore who won the youth achievement Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in December 2012 for inventing a new method to detect a lethal form of pancreatic cancer.

From there, Intel moved into its theme of “The Internet of Things.” One thing that aroused curiosity was a dull white plastic wristband on every seat. It became an attention-getter later in the programme. In the meantime, everyone got a shot at the podium to talk about their pet project.

Doug Fisher, VP General Manager Software and Services Group, gave a few brief remarks, then introduced Dr. Herman Eul, VP General Manager Mobile and Communications Group. He started off with a video about MTV and Intel getting together to improve the audience’s experience because they do not really understand how wireless works, and what are its limitations.

 
Eul said the goal is to make the mobile platform smarter, the CPU more powerful, and the imaging performance better. He did a brief introduction of “Bay Trail,” the next-generation Atom Z3000 ,  focusing on it being used as a gaming platform. He showed that it is capable of running Windows – which is called heavy legacy software – or running Android OS, Apple OS, Chrome OS, or Linux OS. Bay Trail is a 64-bit processor, built using Intel’s Silvermont 22nm micro-architecture. There will be six variants of the chip available – with dual and quad-core configurations. Clock speeds will range from 1.8GHz to 2.4GHz.

Bay Trail’s Hardware and Software supports:  

  • Windows (32/64-bit) and/or Android and/or Chrome
  • Displays resolutions up to 2500 x 1600 (Retina display)
  • Dual independent displays
  • Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology
  • Up to 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • USB 3, HDMI, Displayport, SD card, NFC, 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS
  • X 11, Open GL 3.0 graphics
  • Up to 13MP camera on the rear with Zero shutter lag, burst mode, digital video stabilization, 1080p recording at 60FPS and up to 2MP on the front.

Eul then brought Victoria Molina on stage, a fashion industry consultant and former executive for Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, and the Gap, who explained her virtual shopping experience application. They developed it using the Intel Android SDK in about a week  – but gave no information on the experience level of their programmers.

Molina said the most important part of this application is the fit map, an important factor in making the apparel attractive on the wearer, to attain a “cool” outcome. The application uses an avatar based around the person’s measurements, height and weight, and a facial photograph. The shopper goes out to the web site where they want to shop and chooses the clothing to virtually try on before purchasing. Next, the website pulls up sample clothing from their product lines.

After you build your ensemble of clothing, then you can adjust the clothing so the fit is tight, medium, or loose. After deciding on your look, you go through the “Cat Walk” show-n-tell process. That means the avatar is dressed with each one of the outfits in the size and drape you want and it looks like you are a model on a fashion show runway. Molina said, “This will revolutionise the online shopping experience. Because of the huge “cool factor”.

Next, Intel focused on a Bay Trail small-form-factor tablet running and editing videos. Eul invited Jerry Shen, chief executive of Asus, to introduce its T100, a 2-in-1 Bay Trail notebook with over ten hours of battery life. “We are very excited about the Bay Trail quad-core promise,” Shen said.

Asus is more optimistic than Intel regarding battery longevity. Intel claims Bay Trail tablets could weigh as little 14.1 ounces and offer more than eight hours of battery life when the users are watching high-definition video.

Neil Hand, Dell’s VP of Tablets, showed its  Venue 8-inch, Windows 8.1, Bay Trail tablet that is going to be shipping soon. He said it has 4G LTE.
 
Eul talked briefly about upcoming Merryfield, a 22nm SoC which is build on the Silvermont architecture specifically for smartphones. We were told that Airmont, a 14nm process engineering SoC with all the features of Bay Trail for tablets, is on schedule for Q3 2014 release.

Finally, Eul satisfied our curiosity by showing his audio DJ idea which activated those dull white plastic bracelets that were sitting on each chair. A video was projected onto the giant screens in the auditorium showing the Keynote audience and the wristbands lighting up in synch with Eul’s music.

The presentation took another turn with Kirk Skaugen, Senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel which will be covered in part two.

Intel's usual troops missing from IDF stage

For Tuesday morning’s keynote presentation at IDF-SF 2013, there were none of the usual Intel standard bearers. New CEO, Brian Krzanich, did a major part of the presentation along with Renée James, Intel’s President.

Before the presentation started, one of the old guard, Mooly Eden was spotted standing in the aisle way wearing his signature cap.

Also sitting in the audience’s VIP seats was former Intel CTO Justin Rattner. Rattner retired in June of this year and we missed his imitations of TV’s Mister Wizard.

CEO Krzanich gave his overview of the “new and improved” Intel. Krzanich laid out Intel’s vision and described how Intel is refocusing – away from its traditional CPU centric design philosophy to a system centric solution based around SoCs (system-on-a-chip) and broader integration.

Intel’s foundry capabilities were touted as reducing the die size to 20nm which is now shipping, with 14nm in the works. This will allow wearable computers. The obvious ones are smart watches – Intel’s engineering sample is many generations behind the competition in looks. The not-so-obvious areas they’ll address will be in the healthcare industry.

Krzanich said: “Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel’s strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing.”

He continued: “Intel plans to lead in every segment of technology from the traditional to the emerging. Intel will continue with its data center revolution/evolution by increasing the computing power and lowering the kilowatts used in the rack space.” Krzanich stated that “the traditional PC is in the process of reinventing itself” with most notably tablets and 2-in-1 PC platforms.

The CEO said that Intel is introducing this week “Bay Trail,” Intel’s first 22nm SoC for mobile devices. “Bay Trail” is based on the company’s new low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture, which will power a range of Android and Windows designs.

[Remember Intel’s commitment to Wimax?-Ed]

Krzanich showed the first Intel phone with the 22nm SoC with Intel data LTE and voice 3G. He claimed that “by next year you will see LTE data and LTE voice in the same phone”. Then, he showed a demonstration of LTE Advanced. LTE advanced will have carrier activation switching from 30Mbps (Megabits per second) to 70 Mbps. He said the San Diego group is working on this. Could this be Qualcomm?

Krzanich announced the Intel Quark processor family. The new lower-power products will extend Intel’s reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Things to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance.

The tablet marketplace is a key ingredient for the atom processor family. “The Hallway tablet systems price point will go below $100 by Q4 2013,” Krzanich said. 

However, the ARM and MIPS based 7-inch tablets have been there for over a year with good quality graphics, wi-fi, and reasonable gaming performance. Intel has some hurdles to jump over to gain a bigger chunk of that marketplace.

Renée James, Intel’s President, talked about the company’s involvement in the healthcare world and wearables.

Referring to health care as it relates to technology, she gave an example: “one person’s complete genomic data is approximately 1 PB, or 25 filing cabinets of information”.

“Genomic data cost for one person was in the hundred thousand dollar range less than four years ago,” James said. “Soon it will be in the $1000 range, which makes it plausible for use as a cancer fighting tool.”

James introduced Eric, an Intel employee who for over 20 years has been fighting cancer.

Eric came up and told his story about having his genomic data sequenced and taking that data to his doctors. About a month after they had the data they had a meeting with all his doctors including the East Coast doctors on Skype.

Eric said by having his genomic data, the doctors figured out that over the 20 year period of time, 90 percent of those drugs they had given for his cancer treatment could not work for him.

The doctors created a new set of drugs specifically typed for his genome, and in less than 90 days, he was completely cancer free and has remained cancer free. Understandably, Eric received resounding round of applause from the audience.

When one can see directly how technology impacts one person’s life in the extreme, we are all glad to be in this industry. 

Intel attempts to re-invent itself

For yesterday’s “keynote” presentation at IDF-SF 2013, there were none of the usual Intel standard bearers. Intel’s newly hatched CEO, Brian Krzanich, did a major part of the presentation along with Renée James, Intel’s President.

Before the presentation started, one of the old guard, Mooly Eden  was spotted standing in the aisle way wearing his signature cap.

Also sitting in the audience’s VIP seats was former Intel CTO Justin Rattner. Rattner retired in June of this year and we missed his imitations of TV’s Mister Wizard.

CEO Krzanich gave his overview of the “new and improved” Intel. Krzanich laid out Intel’s vision and described how Intel is refocusing – away from their traditional CPU centric design philosophy to a system centric solution based around SoCs (system-on-a-chip) and broader integration.

Intel’s foundry capabilities were touted as reducing the die size to 20 nm which is now shipping with 14 nm is in the works. This will allow wearable computers. The obvious ones are smart watches – Intel’s engineering sample is many generations behind the competition in looks. The not-so-obvious areas they’ll address will be in the healthcare industry.

Krzanich said: “Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel’s strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing.”  There you go.

He said, “Intel plans to lead in every segment of technology from the traditional to the emerging. Intel will continue with its data centre revolution/evolution by increasing the computing power and lowering the kilowatts used in the rack space.” Krzanich stated that “the traditional PC is in the process of reinventing itself” with most notably tablets and 2-in-1 PC platforms. See?

The CEO said that Intel is introducing this week “Bay Trail,” Intel’s first 22nm SoC for mobile devices. “Bay Trail” is based on the company’s low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture, which will power a range of Android and Windows designs.

Krzanich showed the first Intel phone with the 22 nm SoC with Intel data LTE and voice 3G. He claimed that “by next year you will see LTE data and LTE voice in the same phone”. Then, he showed a demonstration of LTE Advanced. LTE advanced will have carrier activation switching from 30Mbps (Megabits per second) to 70 Mbps. He said the San Diego group is working on this. Could this be QUALCOMM?

Krzanich announced the Intel Quark processor family. The lower-power products will extend Intel’s reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Fangs to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance.

The tablet marketplace is a key ingredient for the atom processor family. Krzanich said, “the Hallway tablet systems price point will go below $100 by Q4 2013.” However, the ARM and MIPS based 7-inch tablets have been there for over a year with good quality graphics, WiFi, and reasonable gaming performance. Intel has some hurdles to jump over to gain a bigger chunk of that marketplace.

Renée James, Intel’s President, talked about its involvement in the healthcare world and wearables. Referring to health care as it relates to technology, she gave an example “one person’s complete genomic data is approximately 1 PB, or 25 filing cabinets of information”. She said, “genomic data cost for one person was in the hundred thousand dollar range less than four years ago. Soon it will be in the $1,000 range, which makes it plausible for use as a cancer fighting tool.”

James introduced Eric, an Intel employee who for over 20 years has been fighting cancer. Eric came up and told his story about having his genomic data sequenced and taking that data to his doctors. About a month after they had the data they had a meeting with all his doctors including the East Coast doctors on Skype. Eric said by having his genomic data, the doctors figured out that over the 20 year period of time, 90 percent of those drugs they had given for his cancer treatment could not work for him. The doctors created a new set of drugs specifically typed for his genome, and in less than 90 days, he was completely cancer free and has remained cancer free. Understandably, Eric received resounding round of applause from the audience.

Intel Bay Trail-T to launch on 11 September

Intel’s new Bay Trail-T SoC appears to be ready for launch.

According to VR-Zone, the new SoC will official launch on 11 September, giving manufacturers plenty of time to come up with cheap x86 tablets in time for the holiday season.

It appears that Intel will introduce a total of four SKUs in the first batch. The Z3740 and Z3770 feature two memory channels, four CPU cores and 2MB of L2 cache. The Z3740D and Z3770D will be cheaper versions, with a single memory channel. The core count and cache size are the same across the range.

The Z3740 and  Z3740D should end up clocked at 1.8GHz, while 3770-series parts will run at 2.4GHz. That sounds rather high for an x86 quad-core with a mobile thermal envelope.

The dual channel parts should offer 17.1GB/s memory bandwidth, while D-series parts with a single memory controller top out at 10.6GB/s. Non-D parts also support DDR3L-RS 1333 memory and up to 4GB of memory, while D-parts support DDR3-1066 and up to 2GB of memory.

The GPUs are different, too. D-parts support resolutions up to 1920×1200, while their non-D siblings can handle displays up to 2560×1600.

Since Intel doesn’t like to talk TDPs anymore, it is merely stating that the Scenario Design Power (SDP) of the chips is between 2W and 2.4W.

Intel demos reference Silvermont tablet

An interesting Computex showcase seems to have gone under the radar. Intel showed off a reference Silvermont tablet, built around the new Bay Trail-T platform.

The specs sound quite impressive, with a 10-inch 2560×1440 screen weighing in at 611 grams. Anand got some hands-on time with the device and reports that it’s about as thick as a fourth generation iPad.

The choice of OS is just as interesting – the device is capable of running both Windows 8 and Android 4.2.2. Thanks to the new chipset, it also features USB 3.0 support, something that we’re just starting to see on new tablets, such as a few models based on Nvidia’s Tegra 4.

Although high res screens are nothing new in the Android world, Intel’s reference tab seems to be the highest resolution tablet capable of running Windows. So far most Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets featured rather unimpressive screens, trumped by 2560×1600 and 2048×1536 panels used on high end Androids and iPads.

There is still no word on performance, battery life or pricing. Although we don’t doubt Intel’s new chip should deliver loads of performance and good efficiency, we’re not sure it will come cheap.

ARM is better than Intel – says ARM

At a press conference here at Computex 2013 this morning, a senior ARM executive claimed his company’s designs outperformed Intel designs.

And, he added, as ARM moved to 20nm and 16nm/14nm sizes, it would continue to outwit the chip giant.

Noel Hurley, VP of ARM’s Processor Division, said: “Our leadership will increase in the future. ARM platforms are more than a generation ahead [of Intel]. Eighty four percent of the top 25 free games use ARM native code,” he said.  Intel will have difficulties because as it turns to emulation, it will dicover that emulation burns power.

He said that ARM A15 28nm “outstrips” Intel Silvermont using a 22nm Finfet process. “When we move to 22nm, ARM’s leadership will grow,” he said.

ARM is aiming at the mid-range market and expects half a billion units to ship in 2015.

But ex-Intel employee Ian Drew, chief marketing officer at ARM, was cautious about the rapid demise of the X86 platform.  “X86 is a long way from being dead,” he said. “X86 will continue to ship long into the future. ARM now dominates the middle range market and we’ll move into servers in the next few years.”

Intel could not be commented at press time for comment.  It no doubt is keeping its powder dry for its Haswell announcement tomorrow.

Drew said that five years ago ARM saw growth in the midrange market and it has seen 250 percent growth since 2012.  “This market will be significantly larger than the PC industry,” he said. “You need price, power, software and grahics.”  ARM made four announcements today which it claims will give it an even bigger edge in the future. He said the ARM Cortex A12 CPU will be the flagship product and will arrive at the end of next year, coupled with Mali-T622, and Open GL ES3.0.

Nvidia thinks Android is disrupting PC maket

Nvidia managed to beat the street once again, but CEO Jen-Hsun Huang sees some rough seas ahead.

During Nvidia’s first-quarter earnings call, Huang said the company’s upcoming fourth generation Tegra chips will start shipping in the second quarter, but production of Tegra 4-based devices will ramp up in the third and fourth quarters. Tegra 4 was delayed by several months and although we should see the first design win announcements in a matter of weeks, availability still remains a concern. The Tegra 4i, a smaller SoC with previous generation CPU cores and LTE support, has been brought forward by a few months, Huang said. However, Tegra 4i phones aren’t coming this year. They are expected to ship in Q1 2014.

“This time around, although we have fewer phones, fewer high profile phones, there more Android devices being built around the world than you could imagine.” said Huang. “We have tablets, obviously in development. We have other types of computing devices that we will also announced probably starting in the second quarter and ramping strongly in Q3 and Q4.” 

Although Huang reiterated Nvidia’s commitment to the mobile market, he also pointed out that Android and tablets in general are disrupting the PC market. Huang argued that consumers who already have Android phones are likely to pick up Android tablets as well. He added that a great tablet is better than a cheap PC and that they are disrupting the entry-level PC market. In other words, while Nvidia stands to cash in on Tegra 4 tablets and Tegra 4i phones, it will lose out to cheap tablets in the PC market. 

However, Nvidia doesn’t appear too concerned and this is why. Intel’s upcoming Haswell chips, along with AMD Richland and Kabini APUs, feature relatively powerful integrated graphics, hence the need for discrete graphics in the low-end is evaporating fast. In spite of this, Nvidia hopes to grow its market share on Haswell based systems. It is counting on enthusiasts who are willing to pay a premium for more GPU performance. Although Intel integrated graphics are getting better, Nvidia is convinced that its low-end offerings will still offer superior performance and compelling value. If AMD were to grow its CPU share in the notebook market, Huang believes Nvidia could take a hit, but this doesn’t seem very likely. 

Although the PC market declined by double digits quarter-on-quarter, Rob Csongor, NVidia VP of Investor Relations, pointed out that Nvidia declined only six percent. 

“That difference comes from growth in the non-commodity PC space of course and wherever that growth is that’s non-commodity PC space will tend to be Tesla, Quadro and GTX,” he said. “That’s also we are putting most of our energy. Most of our energy related to GPGPU, related to extending our GPU beyond the PC into our data centers and servers.”

In other words, GPGPU and Tegra are helping Nvidia diversify and weather the storm in the PC market. The approach seems to be working, although the company is about to face a bit more competition on the mobile front from Intel’s Silvermont Atoms, especially in the tablet market.

Intel’s Silvermont SoC ready for ARM wrestling

Intel is finally starting to take the mobile market seriously, three years too late for anyone to care. The chipmaker has finally revealed its next generation Silvermont microarchitecture, and although it is late to the party, it looks like an impressive piece of tech.

For years Atoms were built using ancient architectures and off the shelf chipsets, but Silvermont is a different beast. It is a 22nm system-on-a-chip and it is the first Atom to use out-of-order execution. It also features 3D tri-gate transistor technology and a very scalable design, which means Intel could theoretically come up with eight-core parts. Some Silvermont parts will use graphics derived from Intel’s HD 4000 core, used in Ivy Bridge chips, which means they should end up quite fast. 

Basically Intel crammed Silvermont with the latest tech it has to offer, and that’s what makes it significant. Intel is finally taking ARM seriously.

In terms of performance, the new microarchitecture is three times as powerful as the cores used in current Atom SoCs, which are already capable of holding their own against many ARM chips. Silvermont chips can wipe the floor with the current crop of ARM SoCs with relative ease. 

The added performance doesn’t come at a price. In fact, Intel says the new chips can cut power consumption five times compared to existing Atoms running at the same performance level. Performance per watt is crucial in smartphones and tablets. It was Intel’s undoing for years, but it seems to have nailed it at last. 

Silvermont will appear in several flavours. Merrifield chips will cater to smartphones, while beefier Bay Trail chips are reserved for tablets. Avoton will take care of microsevers. Merrifield and Bay Trail should basically deliver the performance of three to four year old PC chips to tablets and phones, which sounds very impressive indeed. It has the potential to transform Microsoft’s fledgling Windows 8 into a proper tablet operating system, which means Silvermont is yet another nail in the Windows RT coffin.

The bad news? We’ll have to wait a bit longer to see what Intel has cooked up for the ARM gang. Silvermont phones will show up sometime next year, which means ARM will continue to dominate the market for the time being. Bay Trail tablets are expected later this year, running Windows 8.1 and Android

Intel's LTE System on Chip to be the death of WiMAX

Intel’s CEO, Paul Otellini, hinted in a company call that it will further integrate its acquired Infineon wireless assets into mobile SoCs, including 4G technology.

During last week’s Financial Analyst Call, Otellini stated that Infineon assets will provide it a strong starting position in feature phones, but Infineon baseband tech will spread out across mobile platforms and be fully integrated into what we see one of the future Intel SoCs.

Infineon’s own tech is based on LTE fourth-generation wireless technology, not Intel’s proprietary 802.16, aka, WiMAX.

Intel did not disclose a fixed timeframe for this, but we are sure it won’t come with the next generation of Intel SoCs (Clover Trail), that was actually demoed at CES 2012. More than likely it will be a feature of Silvermont, Intel’s 22nm system-on-a-chip (SoC), slated for sampling early next year.

Putting two and two together, and looking at Intel roadmappery, you can figure this one out.

LTE coverage is increasing rapidly in priority markets like the US and, as we mentioned, Clover Trail silicon was already demoed at CES 2012 with an add-on LTE module.So the design will skip Clover Trail altogether.

At the current 32nm node, Intel would also find it very hard to integrate LTE into the SoC without completely blowing its target power consumption and, by association, battery life. It should be able to do that one node down the line, with its 22nm tri-gate transistors, provided all goes as planned.

While this does not require that Intel keep with the programme, you can add the fact that Intel’s greatest adversary in this race, Nvidia – which happens to have bought baseband IC company Icera – is aiming at early 2013 for a fully integrated LTE SoC for smartphones, dubbed Nvidia Grey (TG4).

Intel will have no real option but to have something to throw back at Nvidia’s partners and split the Windows Phone market down the middle.

TechEye contacted Intel for comment but has not received a reply yet.