When Intel introduced us to its Silvermont architecture, the company made grand claims of increased performance at a given thermal ceiling, or similar performance at reduced power. Naturally, we couldn't wait to get our hands on one of the first implementations, but it was understood that the Bay Trail-based SoCs featuring this new design wouldn't be ready until the second half of 2013.
Intel showed off the Atom Z3000 series for tablets at IDF last week, putting real benchmark data behind those earlier claims. And while we're positively inquisitive about how Bay Trail might deliver a better experience in more taxing applications and simultaneously stretch battery life out across a day, we were busy testing a desktop-oriented version of the SoC. Whereas the Atom Z3000s are only running in 32-bit environments, our testing took place under Windows 8 64-bit.
Indeed, there's certainly something to be said for using one form factor to compare multiple products against each other. To that end, our power and efficiency numbers are what impressed me most. It's clear from the logging power over time and charting performance that the dual-core Celeron J1750 isn't as fast as the least-expensive Ivy Bridge-based Celeron you can find on Newegg. And maybe Celeron branding isn't even appropriate for a 10 W SoC in an entirely different league.
But we still see that the entry-level J1750 finishes our suite of tests significantly faster than Atom D2700. Yes, the Atom-based platform has an on-board GeForce GT 520 GPU that we cannot factor out of our power equation, which affects our ability to compare their efficiency directly. The discrete graphics chip also conveys a performance advantage in 3D titles too, though. Just remember that the Atom D2700 is a 10 W part, similar to Celeron D1750, and that GeForce GT 520 uses up to 29 W. Remove the GPU and you'd likely be looking at very similar power from last generation's Atom. Based on our performance data, Bay Trail still comes away with an indisputable blue ribbon for efficiency.
And all of this comes from two Silvermont cores. The Pentium J2850 gives you four of them, the same 2.4 GHz peak core clock, higher graphics engine frequencies, and again, a 10 W thermal ceiling. Naturally, we're expecting an even more compelling performance story in our threaded tests once the quad-core models start surfacing.
Until then, we walk away from our first experience with Intel's Bay Trail SoC impressed. The company wasn't exaggerating when it suggested that the Silvermont architecture could as much as double performance at a given power limit. Snappy little passively-cooled platforms are almost certainly on their way toward the end of the year. Intel tells us that its partners are already working on fully integrated desktops and all-in-one designs, as well as channel-oriented motherboards with soldered-down CPUs.
- If The Gloves Weren't Off Before, They Are Now...
- The Atom Z3000 SoC Architecture
- Bay Trail's Performance On The Desktop: Benchmarking Celeron J1750
- Results: Power And Efficiency
- Results: Synthetics And 3D
- Results: Productivity
- Results: Compression
- Results: Media Encoding
- Celeron J1750: Bay Trail Is Faster And Much More Efficient