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“Apollo Lake” Atoms to offer graphics-rich Goldmont cores

Apr 18, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1,408 views

Intel unveiled an “Apollo Lake” Atom SoC that integrates 14nm “Goldmont” cores and Gen9 graphics, plus a reference design featuring USB Type C and WiFi.

At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shenzen, China, Intel tipped a new version of the Intel Atom code-named “Apollo Lake” along with a 14nm “Goldmont” core that will power it. There was no formal announcement, and publicly, Intel offered only a video from IDF with a few comments (about 7:45 in) from Navin Shenoy, CVP and GM of Intel’s Client Computing Group. Many more details, however, were provided by AnandTech, based on the Intel slides shown at IDF.

According to Intel’s Shenoy, Apollo Lake is a “follow-on” to Cherry Trail and Braswell, both of which use the 14nm Airmont core microarchitecture. Apollo Lake offers better graphics, and much longer battery life than Cherry Trail mobile SoCs and the tablet- and 2-and-1 oriented Braswell-based Celeron and Pentium SoCs, said Shenoy. It’s already being built into 100 computing designs, including budget PCs and 2-in-1’s, many of which will ship in the second half of 2016, he added.

Intel Apollo Lake SoC presentation slides
(click images to enlarge; source: Anandtech)

According to AnandTech’s Anton Shilov, meanwhile, the list of applications also extends to miniature PCs, hybrid devices, notebooks, and tablets. Shilov also suggests other potential devices, noting that while most of the consumer devices will likely have four cores, 8+ cores might be used in “communications and embedded systems.”

Intel released no clock rates or TDPs, so it’s unclear if Apollo Lake is a step up from Braswell, with which it has more in common than Cherry Trail, or a step sideways or down toward the budget market. The Intel slides refer to a focus on “entry segment” devices, suggesting a PC counterpart to last year’s mobile Atom x3 (Sofia) system-on-chips.

Intel Apollo Lake-I SoC overview
(click image to enlarge; source: Intel Communities)

If nothing else, graphics will be better than on Braswell, which also includes the more embedded-focused Atom x5-E8000. While Braswell and Cherry Trail offer much improved Intel Gen8 Graphics, Apollo Lake will advance to the Gen9 graphics found on 6th Generation Core “Skylake” processors. According to AnandTech, the SoC will also offer hardware-accelerated playback of 4K video via HEVC and VP9 codecs.

Apollo Lake will support DDR4, DDR3L, and LPDDR3/4 RAM, as well as traditional SATA drives, PCIe x4 drives, and eMMC 5.0. More USB devices will be supported, and the design supports USB Type-C, as well as MIPI-CSI cameras, 802.11ac WiFi, and Intel Sensor Solutions. The battery can be smaller, but with the help of a PMIC, overall battery life is said to be improved in relation to the size.

While there were few details about Apollo Lake itself, Intel had plenty to say about how the chips should be used. Intel showed off specs for a reference design for a tablet 2-in-1 hybrid. The reference design features an 11.6-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel, 10-point multi-touch display. The design has 4GB of LPDDR3-1866, and either a 64GB M.2-based SATA 3 SSD or 32GB of eMMC storage, says AnandTech.

All this is soldered down, along with an M.2 module supporting 802.11ac. There’s also an optional M.2 LTE modem, as well as sensors and USB Type-C ports. The design is said to enable BOM (bill of materials) savings of somewhere between $5.55 and $7.35, says AnandTech.

More information should be revealed at Computex, to be held in Taipei, Taiwan, May 31 through June 4, says AnandTech.

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One response to ““Apollo Lake” Atoms to offer graphics-rich Goldmont cores”

  1. bernstein says:

    really glad to see it supports displayport 1.2a, as that should enable [email protected] But ultimately it’s a real shame it only supports HDMI 1.4a/DP 1.2a.

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