CHIPMAKER Intel has updated its Atom family with the Z670 Oak Trail processor that is designed for tablets.
Intel has enjoyed significant success with its Atom processor in netbooks, however as tablets becomes the next big cash cow the firm is in danger of sitting back and doing nothing while ARM takes all the glory. Therefore Chipzilla's Atom Z670 processor is likely to be one of the firm's most important chips in a long time.
When mated with Intel's Express SM35 chipset, the Atom Z670 processor becomes part of its Oak Trail system, the successor to last year's Pine Trail. The 1.5GHz processor, which can have one or two cores, has Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator 600 and 512KB of Level 2 cache on the same chip. Memory support tops out at single channel DDR2 800MHz with 2GB maximum capacity.
Intel's Atom Z670 will be fabricated at 45nm with a 3W thermal design power, and the company says that tablets based on the Atom Z670 are scheduled to appear in the second quarter of 2011. Fujitsu's Stylistic tablet that was demonstrated for The INQUIRER will be running Intel's Oak Trail technology.
One of the big selling points of Intel's Atom Z670 is the ability to support Microsoft's Windows 7 alongside Google's Android and Intel's own Meego. However Intel is confident that Oak Trail's appeal extends beyond just Windows 7 support, saying that device manufacturers want a single chip that can support many operating systems.
Intel also said that 2013 will see the next big advance for its Atom line of processors when it moves to 22nm production. At this point Intel didn't give out any codenames, but it did say that that will be the first chip to feature technology from its acquisition of McAfee.
For the time being, Intel's Atom Z670 offers the firm a final chance to defend its complex x86 architecture before Windows support comes to ARM chips. µ
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