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Intel's new Silvermont architecture offers greater performance using less power


May 6, 2013

Intels' new Silvermont architecture promises three times the peak performance of current-generation Atom processors (Photo: Shutterstock)

Intels' new Silvermont architecture promises three times the peak performance of current-generation Atom processors (Photo: Shutterstock)

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ARM is currently king of the hill when it comes to mobile devices, with ARM architecture the basis of processors and systems on a chip (SoC) including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, NVIDIA’s Tegra, Texas Instruments’ OMAP, the CORTEX series and Apple System on Chips found in iPhones and iPads. It’s obviously not a situation Intel is happy with and the company has high hopes that its new Atom chip design called Silvermont will help change the mobile silicon landscape.

Manufactured using Intel’s 22 nm SoC process and boasting its 3-D Tri-Gate transistors, Intel says its Silvermont architecture provides three times the peak performance of current-generation Atom processors, or the same performance using a fifth of the power.

As well as being targeted at mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, entry level laptops and in-vehicle infotainment systems, the power-sipping Silvermont design is also aimed at microservers and network and communication infrastructure devices.

Delivering what Intel calls an industry-leading performance per-watt efficiency, the Silvermont microarchitecture boasts a new out-of-order execution engine, a new multi-core system that is scalable up to eight cores, support for power sharing between CPU cores and GPUs, and hardware management of burst frequency based on thermal, electrical and power delivery constraints.

Silvermont-based products will start appearing in the second half of the year, with “Avoton” headed for microservers and data centers, and “Rangeley” aimed at entry- to mid-range routers, switches and security appliances. Also due to ship by the end of the year is “Merrifield,” which is aimed at high-end smartphones, and the quad-core “Bay Trail” SoC, which will power tablets and entry laptop and desktop computers.

With the mobile computing landscape evolving at a rate of knots, it’s not surprising to learn that Silvermont is the first in a family of cores that Intel will refresh every year.

Source: Intel

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick
1 Comment

Unlike the desktop version I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the Atom's performance in a smartphone named Xolo 1000. Manufacturer of Xolo is, I believe, one of only 5 manufacturers licensed by Intel as OEM for this cpu. What I would really like to see is its actual performance and power consumption figures as and when they come out with its desktop version. Presently I am quite comfortable with i3-3220T.

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