Intel Bay Trail Processor - Overview of The New Atom

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Today Intel introduced the world to "Bay Trail," Intel's first 22nm system-on-a-chip (SoC) for mobile devices. Bay Trail is a complete redesign of the Intel Atom processor series and offers performance that comes closer to Intel's mainstream processors lines. Since Bay Trail is based on the company's new low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture, you can expect to see roughly two to three times the performance of the current "Clover Trail" Atom with better battery life! Intel hasn't had too many design wins in the tablet market with Clover Trail, but Intel is starting fresh and has high hopes to Bay Trail to capture a significant chunk of the Android and Windows tablet designs and even a fair number of 2 in 1 devices.

 

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

 

The new processors will be known in the consumer market as the Intel Atom Z3000 series. Many might be wondering why Intel kept the Atom branding, but that is what they decided to do.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

The Intel Atom Z3000 series would be split into two product lines, the Atom Z3700 series and the Atom Z3600 series. The flagship parts will be Intel Atom Z3700 processors, which are Quad Core SoCs that target both towards Windows and Android Operating Systems. The Intel Atom Z3600 processors are all dual-core SOCs that are aimed at just the Android OS.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

With the new Intel Atom Z3000 added to the existing processors lineup, Intel believes they have a CPU for every usage scenario.

Intel will be launching six Atom Z3000 series 'Bay Trail' processors:

  Atom Z3770 Atom Z3770D Atom Z3740 Atom Z3740D Atom Z3680 Atom Z3680D
Process 22nm 22nm 22nm 22nm 22nm 22nm
Cores 4 4 4 4 2 2
L2 Cache 2 MB 2MB 2MB 2MB 1MB 1MB
Frequency 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz 1.8 GHz 1.8 GHz 2.0 GHz 2.0 GHz
Memory Technology LPDDR3-1067 DC DDR3L 1333 LPDDR3 1067 DDR3L 1333 LPDDR3 1067 DDR3L 1333
Memory Bandwidth 17.1 GB/s 10.6 GB/s 17.1 GB/s 10.6 GB/s 8.5 GB/s 10.6 GB/s
Memory Capacity 4 GB 2 GB 4 GB 2 GB 1 GB 2 GB
Display Resolution 2560×1600 1900×1200 2560×1600 1900×1200 1200×800 1900×1200

The processors differ by more than just cores, cache and frequency though as now you have to note the memory capacity, max display resolution and the type of memory that each device uses.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

The Silvermont core uses an out of order execution engine, a new multi-and system fabric architecture featuring new IA instructions on the level with Intel’s Westmere Core series and new security and visualization technologies. On the power side, the Silvermont would be highly efficient featuring wider dynamic operating range and enhanced active and idle power management.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

 

The Intel Atom Z3000 series architecture is completely different, but that is why Intel feels Bay Trail processors are going to be very competitive with the SoCs from Apple, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, and Samsung. The Atom Z3000 Series architecture features support for LPDDR3-1067 dual-channel and and DDR3L-RS 1333MHz single-channel memory configurations. the Intel Intel HD Graphics with Intel Clear Video HD Technology with 4 Execution Units or EUs with 8 threads each. The graphics processor would feature dynamic frequency mode adjusting the clock speeds from a low clock speed up to 667MHz depending on the usage scenario.  The max supported resolution will be up to 2560×1600, which is plenty for a tablet right now.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Here is a quick look at the Bay Trail SoC Block Diagram for those that are curious. Connectivity is very good with support for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, 3G/LTE, PMIC, Sensor Hub, NFC, Audio Codec, Panel, HDMI, Front Camera, Rear Camera, Touch Controller, NDR Flash, eMMC, SD Card and USB 3.0/2.0.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

The media capabilities of the new Intel Bay Trail SOCs are pretty robust with full HW acceleration and support H.264, VC1, MPEG2, MVC, VP8, MPEF-4/H.263, MJPEG formats. It also has HDCP 1.4 and HDCP 2.1 support for online content that uses High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).

 Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Intel is very happy with the power efficiency of Bay Trail and has put a ton of time and effort into making sure the power and clock management is done correctly for this mobile platform. Bay Trail uses Intel Burst Technology 2.0 which is similar to their Intel Turbo Boost 2.0. This solution allows processor cores to automatically run faster than their base frequency if they are running below their power, current and temperature limits. You can also power share between the CPU and GPU cores on the fly, which is very impressive. 

Bay Trail v3

To better show this we made a quick animated gif that can be seen above. This better shows you how power sharing works and that it goes beyond just the CPU and GPU cores now the camera and display are in the equation. 

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Intel also has greatly improved the active and standby power management with the new 22nm SoC design, so better "all-day" battery life can be expected. Intel was not ready to talk about Max TDP numbers just yet, but they say it is looking good.

Intel Bay Trail Performance Details

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Intel isn't holding back any punches and straight away claims to be outperforming the best ARM SOCs on the market today. The slide above shows Intel beating the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and NVIDIA Tegra 4 SOCs by a fairly significant margin in SPECint_base2000.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Intel says that user-centric benchmarks are now available to better test mobile devices.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

The benchmark that Intel says is ideal for mobile devices is TouchXPRT 2013 by Principled Technologies. Of course that benchmark shows Intel leading the way with not only Bay Trail, but Clover Trail.

TouchXPRT 2013 is a benchmark for evaluating the capabilities of your Windows 8 and Windows RT devices. TouchXPRT runs tests based on five user scenarios (beautify photo album, prepare photos for sharing, convert videos for sharing, export podcast to MP3, and create slideshow from photos) and produces results for each of the five test scenarios plus an overall score.

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Intel's own benchmarking shows that the 3D gaming performance on Bay Trail (Intel Atom Processor Z3770) was about 5x greater than that of the Clover Trail system (Intel Atom Processor Z2760)!

Intel Atom Processor Z3000 Bay Trail

Of course Intel also shows that they can run on BAPCo's SYSmark 2012 Lite benchmark , which is something the other SOCs can't do.

That is all fine and dandy, but what about our testing?

Benchmarking Bay Trail By Legit Reviews

baytrail-testing

To test out the Intel Bay Trail processor, we were given early access to the Intel Bay Trail Tablet Reference Design. This tablet will never see the light of day since it is a reference design that is never coming to market, but we spent some time with it and tried it out on both Android 4.2.2 and Windows 8.1. The Windows 8.1 systems are fairly optimized and nearly ready to go, but the Android versions still needed some software optimizations and was considered to be using pre-beta software drivers. That means we were experiencing a numbers of bugs like crackling audio, flickering screens, the inability to run anything using WebGL JavaScript.

Intel Bay Trail Tablet Reference Design Specs:

We were very happy to be given a chance to use and benchmark the reference design, but we aren't exactly sure what to do with the performance numbers that we were getting. This tablet and the software that is on them will never make it into the hands of consumers and we've never tested any other tablet running Windows 8.1. That makes comparisons rather pointless, but it does give you a general idea of the overall performance at this still early stage.

We are comparing the Intel Bay Trail reference system to both versions of the very popular popular Google Nexus 7 by ASUS. This means that we were putting the Intel Atom Processor Z3770 w/ Intel HD Graphics up against a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064–1AA SoC (1.5 GHz quad-core Krait 300 and an Adreno 320 GPU) on the Nexus 7 (2013). Both systems have 2GB of RAM and feature high-end quad-core processors, so this should be interesting.

We highly suggest running some of these apps on your tablet or smartphone as well to give you an idea of how Intel Bay Trail performs against what you are using today.

Android Testing:

 Intel Bay Trail (2013) Nexus 7 (2013)   Nexus 7 (2012)
Quadrant 2.1.1 21,315 5,241 3,525
Vellamo 2.0 Metal
1,112 743 404
AnTuTu v4.0.1 36,054 20,863 12,270
CF-Bench 1.3
27,753 15,364 11,657
SunSpider 1.0 (ms) 531.6 1083 1468
Browsermark 2.0
2960 2356 2135
MobileXPRT 2013
241 157 119
GFXBench 2.7.2 T-Rex Offscreen
 16 15  3.2
GFXBench 2.7.2 T-Rex Onscreen
 11 15  5.4
GFXBench 2.7.2 Egypt Offscreen
41 40  9.7
GFXBench 2.7.2 Egypt Onscreen
30 39  14
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme
8,409 7,300 3,523
BasemarkX Offscreen
10.419 7.893 6.153
BasemarkX Onscreen
6.366 8.252 3.086

SunSpider: lower scores are better.  Higher is better on all other benchmarks.

The Google Nexus 7 (2013) is a fast tablet that has solid performance and offers a good user experience, but we found the Intel Bay Trail reference tablet to be very impressive. We weren't that impressed with Clover Trail and its poor performance, but Bay Trail is the real deal.  Intel has finally come up with a tablet processor that is competitive with others that are on the market today! The CPU scores are off the chart in popular benchmarks like AnTuTu, Quadrant, Vellamo 2.0 Metal and CF-Bench. The web browsing was also impressive as the SunSpider and Browsermark scores were significantly faster!

Windows Testing:

We actually don't have any Windows tablets available right now to compare the Bay Trail reference design to, so here are some quick tests that we ran.

Sisoftware Sandra:

  Cinebench 11.5:

cpuz

 The latest build of CPU-Z wasn't exactly working correctly, but showed a nominal speed of 1.47GHz on our Intel Atom Z3770 processor.

baytrail-idle

In an idle state the Intel Atom Z3770 processor would idle around 560 MHz. 3dmark-load

In most load scenarios we were hitting 2.24 GHz on the quad-core CPU. ie-sunspider

Using IE 11 we were able to get an impressive SunSpider 1.0.1 score of just 335.5ms!

geekbench

Geekbench scores were 974 for the single-core test and 3084 for the multi-core test. This is impressive as it scores nearly identical to the NVIDIA Shield did (both in single core and multi core tests). The NVIDIA SHIELD uses an NVIDIA Tegra 4 SoC and scores around 960 in the single-core test and 3000 in the multi-core test!

3dmark-results

3DMark testing showed an overall score of 12,239 in the IceStorm test and 1,223 in the Cloud Gate test.

truecrypt

TrueCrypt had the AES encryption algorithm test at 878 MB/s.

atom-power-testing

We didn't have time for battery testing in our time with Bay Trail, but Intel has several tablets pulled apart and connected to advanced power monitoring hardware and software. This means that Intel was able to measure the power use of the whole tablet and even just the SOC. They had a several tablets available Bay Trail, Bay Trail pre-production and Clover Trail. They showed us a number of benchmarks and workloads, but the one that stood out to us was when they ran SunSpider. The Bay Trail platform SoC pulled about 1.4 watts (CPU + GPU) while the Clover Trail SoC was slightly lower at 1.25 watts (CPU + GPU).  Not bad, but remember the Bay Trail tablet is faster!  Like it finished in just over 300ms and the Clover Trail finished in over 700ms. Not only are we seeing humongus performance gains on the GPU and CPU, but Intel has significantly lowered the power as well. It looks like Bay Trail will be competitive there as well!

Final Thoughts and Conclusions:

After looking at early pre-production hardware, it looks like Intel is on the right track and might have a market disruptor on their hands. That is a pretty big deal as this is the first time Intel will have something available on the mobile market that looks good. Intel's Clover Trail and the Clover Trail+ refresh that happened earlier this year were nothing to write home about and most of the competing processors and platforms were able to make short work of them. 

We expect Intel to get more tablet design wins than ever with Bay Trail and it should get the attention of companies like ARM, Qualcomm and NVIDIA as Intel is finally in the same league thanks to what we have seen with the quad-core Intel Atom Processor Z3770! Keep an eye out for Bay Trail this holiday as we expect there to be dozens of products on the market that are powered by this SOC!

We are excited about the devices that will be built around this SOC and can't wait to see what the final hardware and software will run. If they further optimize things and iron out the few bugs we found, Intel will have a winner!

Intel Atom Processor Bay Trail