Intel Launches New Bay Trail Atom Chips for Tablets

Just a couple months after launching its fourth-generation Haswell processors, Intel is updating its Atom lineup with new Bay Trail chips for Windows 8 and Android tablets. The new 22nm chips use Intel’s newest Silvermont architecture, and are officially dubbed the Z3000 series.

These new processors will go head-to-head with ARM and nVidia in the tablet market, and Intel thinks they can offer something pretty substantial. The Z3000 series will come in dual- or quad-core models and claim to deliver up to 2x CPU performance and up to 3x GPU performance. The flagship model is the quad-core Z3770, which will deliver speeds up to 2.4GHz with battery life lasting around 10 hours on average, according to Intel.

Currently, ARM processors dominate the tablet market, and nVidia’s Tegra lineup is starting to make an impact as well. Intel hasn’t really broken into the tablet industry that much, but these new Bay Trail chips look to create a bit of a shakeup. Intel didn’t say when we’ll see Bay Trail-equipped tablets release to the public, but they will appear in sizes between 7 inches and 11 inches and will cost as little as $199.

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Image Credit: Intel

Intel’s Atom lineup is fairly popular, but they’ve really only experienced mass appeal in netbooks, which are extinct beyond belief now, so Intel is looking to go where the majority of users are going with tablets and hybrid laptops.

Furthermore, with the increased performance, we could see a lot of new tablets come with some pretty impressive chops. 2x the CPU performance and 3x the GPU performance over the previous generation Clover Trail chips is an impressive boost, so users should be able to do a lot more with tablets when these new chips get the public treatment.

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However, the increased performance won’t affect the battery life, according to Intel. It’ll still be at 10 hours of “active use,” and around three weeks of standby time. It’s certainly the best battery life we’ve seen on tablets, but we suppose it’s pretty average; it’s certainly a good number if we’re talking about laptops, which Intel plans to stuff these new chips into as well.

No word on availability yet, but you can expect to pay as much as $350 for a full hybrid machine, while the smaller and slightly slower models will cost as little as $200, according to the chip maker.

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