Intel Readies New Silvermont Atom Architecture
Silvermont will be the first new architecture for the low-power Atom chip platform, which is aimed at everything from smartphones to microservers.Intel, as it prepares to unveil its next-generation Core “Haswell” chip for tablets and notebooks in early June, is reportedly preparing to outline the new architecture that will be the underpinning of upcoming low-power Atom chips that will begin appearing in devices later this year. Intel officials are expected to talk about the “Silvermont” architecture at an event at the company’s Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters May 6. Silvermont represents the first new architecture for the Atom platform since it was introduced in 2008 and targeted at the now passé netbook. Since that time, Intel executives have rapidly expanded Atom’s reach, making it the platform for not only many of its tablet plans and smartphones, but also for embedded devices and even low-power microservers. Silvermont will be the next-generation architecture for upcoming chips like the 22-nanometer “Bay Trail” for tablets and other devices running both Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Google’s Android operating systems, and for “Merrifield,” which will go into smartphones. It also will be the architecture for “Avoton,” which will succeed “Centerton” in microservers such as Hewlett-Packard’s Project Moonshot systems.
Silvermont is expected to bring greater performance and lower power to the Bay Trail chips, which Intel officials are hoping will help the vendor make inroads into a tablet market where most of the devices currently run on ARM-designed chips made by the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia. The chips, which will include higher end Intel graphics capabilities, also could be a boon for Windows 8 tablets, which still lag far behind those devices running Android and Apple’s iOS.