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New wave of tablets with Intel Bay Trail chips will start at $99

Agam Shah | Sept. 12, 2013
Dozens of new tablets are expected out by year's end.

Tablets with Bay Trail will support 8-megapixel and 13-megapixel front and rear cameras, and also support voice commands to play back songs, get directions and to post updates on social networks. The tablets will support displays up to 2560 x 1600 pixels and have wireless display features to stream images directly to TV sets. The wireless multimedia streaming feature supports Miracast and Intel's Wi-Di networks.

Intel said that gaming will also be better with Bay Trail's improved graphics engine, which is based on the same technology used in Intel's recent third-generation Core processors named Ivy Bridge.

"The purchase drivers are things like battery life, sensors, cameras, and we increasingly see ... they are becoming more aware of what's inside," Walker said of would-be tablet buyers.

Bay Trail chips could also be used in laptops and have security features to protect devices and secure data. For example, Intel's identity theft features, which are also used in Intel laptop chips, can secure logins to websites.

The new chips are Atom Z3770 (2.4GHz clock speed, supports 4GB of memory), Z3770D (2.4GHz, 2GB memory), Z3740 (1.8GHz, 4GB memory) and Z3740D (1.8GHz, 2GB memory). The dual-core Android chips are Z3680 (2.0GHz, 1GB memory) and Z3680D (2.0GHz, 2GB memory). The chips support 2MB of cache.

Bay Trail and Intel's upcoming smartphone chip code-named Merrifield are based on an architecture called Silvermont. The architecture is also being extended to laptops with Pentium and Celeron chips, which previously ran on the faster Core processors.

There is also room for more performance or power efficiency on Bay Trail chips in the future. Depending on how the chips are adapted by manufacturers, Silvermont could provide up to three times improvement in performance or five times lower power consumption. Improving performance usually leads to lower battery life.

A block diagram of the quad-core Bay Trail chip design showed a new chip structure, more video acceleration technologies, new security feature and power-gating technologies. The chip is broken down into two blocks, with one block holding the main CPU, memory, graphics, display and audio interfaces. A switching interconnect connects the host block to a second block, which has the power management controller, storage interfaces, and I/O and audio controllers. Power management features are stretched across the entire chip.

The graphics processor supports Microsoft's DirectX 11, a graphics technology around which the latest PC and Xbox games are developed. The chip has hardware acceleration for video formats such as H.264, VC1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and VP8. Additionally, a technology called Intel Burst 2.0 can clock up or reduce CPU or GPU processor speed depending on the workload. With the technology a camera can also be shut down and its power can be rerouted to CPUs for demanding workloads.


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