Intel is going right after ARM with its new Atom Bay Trail-T processor. This new chip is designed to provide a far more powerful tablet experience than the company's Clover Trail CPU found in several Windows 8 and Android slates. The 22-nanometer platform allows for more efficient battery use, as well as better overall performance for apps and games. We’re talking double the performance and three times the graphics muscle. From 4K video playback to OS compatibility, here are the five things you need to know about Intel Bay Trail.
We tested a quad-core Z3770 Bay Trail-powered tablet against an Acer Iconia W3 running on Clover Trail, and the new Atom chip significantly outperformed its predecessor. The Bay Trail tablet performed 80 percent better than the W3 on the PCMark 7 performance test, and nearly quadrupled the W3’s score on the 3DMark Ice Storm graphics test. These statistics held up in real-world situations, as the Bay Trail tablet instantly loaded a 36-MP photo and ran the high-action “Torchlight II” game with ease.
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Like Intel’s Haswell processor, Bay Trail uses a 22-nanometer process and delivers better performance at 10 less nanometers than the Clover Trail processor. The processor’s size allows for lower thermals, which means Bay Trail-powered tablets will suffer from less overheating. When things need to get done fast, the chip’s “Burst Mode” will temporarily raise its frequency to accomplish tasks.
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The Bay Trail chip will be available in six different SKUs, each allowing for sharp resolutions. The highest-end Z3770 and Z3740 models support up to 2560 x 1600-pixel resolutions, the Z3770D, Z3740D and Z3680D go up to 1920 x 1200, and the Z3680 maxes out at 1280 x 800. By comparison, the older Clover Trail chip can only support resolutions up to 1366 x 768.
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4K video is beginning to find its way onto various phones and tablets, and Bay Trail makes 4K playback possible on the slates that carry it. While the chip maxes out at 2560 x 1600, it can decode and play 4K clips. On our testing, a Bay Trail-powered tablet played a converted 4K video in smooth detail, while the video ran at an unwatchable framerate on a Clover Trail device.
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Like Clover Trail before it, Bay Trail can run both Windows and Android. The Z3700 series supports both Windows and Android, while the Z3600 supports Android OS exclusively. The new Atom chips will be coming to Windows 8 tablets first, with Android slates to follow. And while Bay Trail-T is built for tablets, modified versions of the chip may find their way into Windows 8 or Chrome notebooks.
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