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Intel Unveils Atom Z2760 Processor For Windows 8 Tablets

Intel's Atom platform was the spark that ignited the netbook revolution and now the company hopes a new version of its low-power CPU will bring Windows 8 slates into the mainstream. Officially launched today, the Intel Atom Z2760 -- formerly code named "Clover Trail" -- will appear on a new generation of lightweight Windows tablets that can weigh as little as 1.5 pounds while measuring just .33 inches and playing over 10 hours of HD video on a charge. 

The dual-core, Atom Z2760 comes as a 32nm SoC (system on a chip) which includes integrated graphics that can play 1080p video and NFC as well as support for Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections. Able to turbo up to 1.8-GHz and run four threads using Intel Hyper-Threading technology, the new chip also includes support for dual cameras, USB 2.0, LPDDR2 memory and HDMI-out. 

IT departments should also appreciate the Atom Z2760's security and manageability features, including support for Intel's Secure Boot and Platform Trust Technology.  However, if you're looking for vPro support on a tablet you'll need to buy one with a Core Series CPU instead.

At an event today, Intel and its partners plan to demonstrate a variety of Windows 8 slates based on the Atom Z2760. Even before this announcement, we knew that Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet 2, ASUS's Vivo Tab, HP's Envy x2,Samsung's Series 5 Slate and Dell's Latitude 10 would have this next-generation Atom CPU. What remains to be seen is how these devices and others stack up against their ARM-based, Windows RT competitors.

Clearly, Atom Z2760-powered tablets have a distinct advantage over those running on ARM chips, because with full-fledged Windows 8 on board, they can run the millions of desktop applications that have been written for Windows over the years while Windows RT systems can only run new-style Windows 8 apps. However, until we can benchmark shipping products, we don't know whether the Atom Z2760 offers better or worse Windows performance and battery life than its competitors from Nvidia and Qualcomm.

The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.