Intel Launches Z670/650 Oak Trail Processors
Too little too late?
The single-core (two threads) Z670 runs at 1.5 GHz and has 512 KB L2 cache. The 45 nm CPU is combined with the SM35 I/O controller and comes with the GMA 600 graphics core (which is based on a PowerVR SGX 535 chip) as well as support for up to 2 GB of DDR2-800 memory. Oak Trail runs at about 3 watts TDP, which is not really low in comparison to the original Atoms and not low in comparison to its ARM rivals.
It's good news that Intel has finally released an tablet processor, but I doubt that this platform can dent ARM's dominance in the market. The Z670, which continues the rather unsuccessful original Atom Z500 series with Silverthorne core, has not the specs that would allow it to attract much interest - it is state of the industry at best (while we do have to wait for first benchmark results.) It is a single-core processor that will run 1080p video, but that's about it. Atom's rivals are dual-cores right now, and they are moving to triple- and quad-core versions soon. It will be difficult to score any meaningful design wins right now, even if Intel says that Oak Trail will be found in 35 tablet designs soon.
Its biggest problem may be its price. The Z670 is priced at $75, which is not only more expensive than the comparable (but more power-hungry) 1.83 GHz N470, which targets netbooks. I am not quite sure who is setting the pricing at Intel, but a chip that costs Intel about $5 to produce (according to our industry sources) and a chip that needs to compete with the iPad in price regions as low as $500 for entire tablets is not exactly aggressive. Intel may have killed Oak Trail right out of the gate. These processors need to be extremely cheap as they have become commodity devices that are not really in the focus of consumers anymore and therefore cannot carry a premium.
Oak Trail won't have a shot at the market today. We will wait for the 32 nm Cedar Trail platform in H2 of this year and hope that the chip will be faster, will come as a dual-core version, consumer less than half the power of Oak Trail and cost about one third of today's product.