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Intel Upgrades Hardware

Intel Debuts Clover Trail For Tablets, Launches New Atom Inside 88

Posted by timothy
from the double-dose-of-pimpin'-action dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today, Intel is launching its next-generation Clover Trail platform. The new Intel Z2760 is a dual-core, quad-threaded device clocked at up to 1.8GHz, with support for up to 2GB of RAM and graphics provided courtesy of a single PowerVR SGX545 core. Chipzilla expects to see wide adoption from multiple partners, with a host of tablets expected to launch simultaneously with Windows 8. The new SoC is closely related to Medfield, Intel's 32nm smartphone platform that ExtremeTech reviewed earlier this year, but there are a few differences between the two."
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Intel Debuts Clover Trail For Tablets, Launches New Atom Inside

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  • WTF (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:20PM (#41482641)

    Intel Debuts Clover Trail For Tablets, Launches New Atom Inside

    Clover Trail? Wazzat? A game? A processor? Actual clover? It has an atom inside? Wow, OK. Good for them? Takes a lot to launch a single atom, does it?

    Some days tech headlines just make no damn sense to me at all. Getting old, I think. Early onset discombobulation.

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:20PM (#41482647) Journal

    Does anybody know what 'Security Engine' is, and what exactly it is using about 1/3 as much silicon as one of the processor cores to do exactly?

    None of the thermal die shots appear to show it actually doing much of anything demanding; but I have to assume that Intel didn't put it there just because they really wanted the processor to be a bit bigger and more power hungry.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Does anybody know what 'Security Engine' is, and what exactly it is using about 1/3 as much silicon as one of the processor cores to do exactly?

      None of the thermal die shots appear to show it actually doing much of anything demanding; but I have to assume that Intel didn't put it there just because they really wanted the processor to be a bit bigger and more power hungry.

      I'm guessing it handles a lot of the security stuff, but also has a lot of extra oomph to basically do stuff while the x86 CPUs are off. L

      • Interesting. So since they went XXL on the die size anyway why didn't they again also upgrade the memory controller to finally support more than 2Gb of ram? I mean they dream of people using IDEs and whatnot on those tablets.

        • It is probably a secret requirement from Microsoft so that people can only run a special version of Windows 8 on those tablets and need to also buy a Windows 8-powered netbook or laptop too.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      A Trusted Platform Module AKA hardware DRM.

      or... the bit of extra hardware that means you don't own the PC you just paid for.

      • You really have no idea what a TPM chip is used for. It's basically a secure storage place for crypto keys, plus hardware assisted cryptography. It's what allows a computer to have an encrypted hard drive without the user having to enter their encryption key every time they boot.

        • You really have no idea what a TPM chip is used for.

          I do. But why should a TPM chip need 30% of the die space of a general purpose processor? Is that accurate? If so this sounds like, hmm, like massive chrome bumpers on the Edsel [edsel.com] if you will be so kind as to permit me a car analogy.

          • Well it only needs a fraction of that but the DHS needs the other 29% to help save you from terrorists.

            Thanks for keeping me safe from myself, Microsoft!

            • The other 29% is to take away control of the music and movies you've bought.

              Since it also makes it far more sensible for viewers to choose content that does not interact with that 29%, it's essentially making itself redundant.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          *You* don't know what a TPM is.

          Yes it's a secure storage for keys... but you do not control the storage root key it's baked into the TPM and never leaves it. It's there to make sure that IT companies control the TPM - not you. This "trust" then climbs up the software chain (all digitally signed)... which would all be fine... if you controlled it.

          But you do not. It's not yours.

          They (being Intel, and the various IT companies, like Microsoft) do not trust you. I can't put it any better than the original quote

          • Oh, and I suppose that's why TrueCrypt uses a TPM if you have one, because it's so insecure. Right.

            By the way, it's called an Endorsement key, not a root storage key. And the point of it is that nobody has that key, it's in the black box, and it can't be forged so someone cannot emulate it.

            You know how people clone cell phones? Without this black box key, people could easily do the same. Your securely encrypted hard disk is now open to whoever has the tools to use it.

            The TPM requires a key to access it.

        • It's a tool. It can be used by the owner, or against the owner.
      • >A Trusted Platform Module AKA hardware DRM.
        >or... the bit of extra hardware that means you don't own the PC you just paid for.

        You are wrong. It is not a TPM. It's a thing to keep your crypto operations, including keys, away from the prying eyes of malware and side channel attacks.

        • by cbhacking (979169)

          So, it includes the main thing that a TPM is used for (key storage)? Or is it only ephemeral and loses data during a power-cycle?

          Hardware-accelerated crypto and hardware RNG are both very useful features that have only recently become common on commidity CPUs. I'm somewhat impressed that they bothered to put it in a tablet-oriented chip, but I can see the logic (no pun intended).

        • away from prying eyes but potentially not just that of malware.

  • Astroturf alert (Score:4, Informative)

    by pipedwho (1174327) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:25PM (#41482695)

    Astroturf alert. This is a block copy marketing pitch from a company dedicated to finding sources to buy ICs. Complete with blatant mention of themselves when they have no direct link to an Intel product they are 'announcing'.

    • by Zouden (232738)

      What are you talking about? "Chipzilla" is a nickname for Intel.

      • by pipedwho (1174327)

        I'd mod you up, but I've already posted. ;-)

        "Chipzilla" isn't the company linked twice in the summary. I confused the linked article source for one of those companies that spams out daily emails with 'press releases' for the 'latest' ICs. The summary read exactly like one those emails.

  • by steveha (103154) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:30PM (#41482757) Homepage

    http://semiaccurate.com/2012/09/27/intels-clover-trail-is-a-bloated-nightmare/ [semiaccurate.com]

    The author of this makes no attempt to pretend to be impartial, but if his facts are correct I think his conclusions must be correct also.

    My favorite comment:

    You can buy a full Nexus 7 for $30 more than what Microsoft gets for the software on a Clover Trail tablet, and that is before the added hardware costs. The Nexus works better, has better battery life, and is not a security nightmare either.

    steveha

    • by Ecuador (740021) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:48PM (#41482929) Homepage

      Charlie is anti-Intel but he seems to have good sources therefore his info is usually correct. Of course, he is biased when drawing conclusions and you should be aware of that when reading, since he can get a little "carried away" sometimes.
      Also, I remember that Intel has managed to crush their competition in the past while selling a significantly slower, more power-hungry and more expensive product (P4 anyone?). So even if Clover Trail is "a dog" as Charlie puts it, I guess if Intel REALLY wanted to they could probably find a way to shove it down our throats ;)

      • by Anonymous Coward
        But he's also anti-Nvidia, and he's promoting the Tegra3 powered N7, so that's saying something.
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @07:31PM (#41483721) Journal

        I don't know whether that article is correct or not; but(if we assume for the sake of argument that it is) the thing that really doesn't make sense to me is what Intel's motivation would be:

        He gives the impression that both Intel and Microsoft are working against the part(Intel doesn't want the lousy margins, Microsoft is undermining Win8 x86 tablets with office licensing terms); but that the part is also a 100% hardware-locked MS-only device that they won't even let any other potential customer have a crack at, much less have any genuine enthusiasm for trying to sell it to them.

        However, if that is so, why does the part exist at all? If it is so big that it is practically an i3, why would Intel design an entirely different chip rather than just lasering something off their weaker i3s and giving them an inscrutable model number and OEM only distribution? And if Microsoft is shafting Intel on the part, why is Intel making it a Windows exclusive(and on the processor level, not merely with a locked bootloader, which would allow MS OEMs to do their thing and Intel to still sell this to Android vendors, embedded linux appliance vendors, and whoever else)?

        That's what I don't understand about the story as presented: plenty of products ship deliberately crippled because somebody prefers them that way(see all DRM systems, for instance); but that crippling isn't free, so it has to be in somebody's apparent interest for it to happen. Here, none of the players seem interested: Intel, allegedly, has a chip that can't compete with their existing products, and isn't a winner on margins. MS has a chip apparently designed just for them, except they would rather ship punchier devices with those existing products. So, who wins here?

        • by slew (2918)

          Intel, allegedly, has a chip that can't compete with their existing products, and isn't a winner on margins. MS has a chip apparently designed just for them, except they would rather ship punchier devices with those existing products. So, who wins here?

          Both intel and microsoft win (they hope). By putting a product out a product that fits right in between tablets and laptops, they have the chance to permanently segment the market by poisoning the middle. No-one will be able to charge more for a tablet than the price point they set, and they will expect anything "better" to be x86. This will create a firewall which will allow microsoft to bomb the price on the tablet OS to compete with android and microsoft and intel to continue to charge more for laptop

      • I am? Wow, who knew.

                            -Charlie

    • You can buy a full Nexus 7 for $30 more than what Microsoft gets for the software on a Clover Trail tablet,

      That doesn't make sense. Nexus costs, what, $200? Is he claiming that Windows OEM license for tablets costs $170? Where did he even get that number from?

      and that is before the added hardware costs

      Again, where does the number come from? As I recall, Medfield-based smartphones weren't any more expensive than ARM-based ones. Why would Clover Field suddenly be different?

      has better battery life

      Again, Medfield phones seem to show decent battery life side by side with ARM - nothing outstanding, but not lagging behind either. Why would Clover Field be different?

      • by steveha (103154)

        That doesn't make sense. Nexus costs, what, $200? Is he claiming that Windows OEM license for tablets costs $170?

        Well, you could have tried reading the article. If you do read it, you will see that indeed he is claiming $170, but for a total cost, not just the OEM license for Windows 8 itself. Expanded quote from article:

        Then there is the software costs. Microsoft threw Intel under a bus with WART [Windows on an ARM Tablet], if you buy the ARM version of Windows for about 2x the cost, you get Office for

        • Technically, the product that's established and popular on the market is a 10" tablet selling for $500 for the base version. I have a Nexus 7 myself and I love it, but it's not quite the same thing, and there is a reason why it costs that much less. I've yet to see anyone pull the same price off with a larger device - even Amazon stopped at $300. And, last I heard, there were no 7" Win8 devices even announced (though that might actually have something to do with Windows license cost).

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:45PM (#41484173)

      His blog would better be known as "Rarely Accurate". Every once and awhile he gets good information but usually, he just makes shit up.

      For example he claimed that Kepler, nVidia's architecture now known as the GTX 600 series, would be under-performing and feature large parts dedicated to PhysX and that AMD's CGN would be a "clear winner". As it turns out that is not the case, the GTX 680 is extremely fast, quite energy efficient, and beats out the 7970 from AMD. And no big PhysX areas, just lots of stream processing cores (which is what GPUs are these days).

      Then when it launched and had big shortages due to extremely high demand he claimed it was because it didn't work right on TSMC's 28nm process and supply issues would forever plague it. Now, they are in stock everywhere and can be had in quantity whenever you wish.

      I really wish people would stop linking to this troll and giving him ad money. The guy is not a great source of information and worse still in the absence of actual information he'll just make shit up.

      The thing certainly doesn't use a ton of power, it's TDP spec is less than 2 watts and I have never seen Intel underspec a TDP. That means it will never, under any situation, dissipate more than 2 watts and by extension never draw more than that.

      The question is, of course, how well it performs at that power level, particularly compared to competition at the same level.

  • PowerVR again? I thought they already got burnt hard enough with the whole poulsbo issues that are still a problem for many netbooks! (including my own.)
  • Why just 2GB RAM ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:32PM (#41482779) Homepage

    Does it really make it that more power hungry/expensive to enable a few more lines for RAM addressing ? Having more RAM can help to compensate for a slower CPU -- less swapping, etc. Not all usage profiles are running a few non RAM hungry programs; even something like a web browser can end up eating lots of RAM.

    The only thing that I can think of is that they are positioning at cheap-low end and expect you to pay for a more expensive CPU if you need more RAM, kind of like what MS is doing with the cheapest Windows 7 -- it can only be sold on a machine with a max 1GB RAM.

    • by luther349 (645380)
      still at 2gb of ram that just stupid. its been at 2gb sense the original atom n270. and its lack of official Linux support this chip is going to flop harder then windows 8. at least they said the next atoms will once again have Linux support this chip is more a shut Microsoft up chip then anything else.
    • by inflex (123318)

      It's a legitimate pain in the butt. Intel deliberately does this to prevent the chips/chipset cannibalising their other offerings. I for one would have no problems running this hardware if I had 4~8GB. Not that it matters to Intel, but I'll be going with the AMD E450 APU instead.

    • Power. Even in standby mode, RAM is powered. The power consumption scales linearly with the amount of RAM. There's a reason why even Cortex A15 tablets (which can access 64GB of physical memory) only ship with 2GB...
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Is there any reason why an operating system couldn't relocate pages towards 0 and disable empty memories?

        • No, and there is some work doing this, but memory then needs to be explicitly turned off, and that's often quite difficult to do sensibly. You then have the same problem as most power saving algorithms: that you get a performance hit when you need to come out of the low-power state and it's quite difficult working out when the transitions should take place.
  • by A Friendly Troll (1017492) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:32PM (#41482783)

    Yes, I know SA is basically a hardware tabloid, but they usually get at least some things right...

    http://semiaccurate.com/2012/09/27/intels-clover-trail-is-a-bloated-nightmare/ [semiaccurate.com]

    I'm not going to comment on anything they wrote; make your own conclusions.

  • by cplusplus (782679) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:39PM (#41482835) Journal
    ...I wants it. A phone like that could be my "laptop", and I'd continue to use my workstation at home for gaming and other big-time number crunching computery stuff. This new processor (and Medfield) are get ever closer to that. I bet (erm, hope) I will be able to buy one by this time next year.
    • by don.g (6394)

      Of course, if you ran Linux, you could have this now (sort of) -- it's possible to run full Linux on a rooted android phone, and with MHL you can tether it to a display. Imagine something like the padfone with a keyboard dock...

      • by cbhacking (979169)

        Did you miss the part about "x86" or are you referring to the not-really-out-yet x86 smartphones? If you only need to run software that's available for Linux on ARM, then yes, that would work. But if you need something that's only available for x86, even Wine won't save you.

        • If there's x86 software that you need to run on your phone, you're doing something wrong.

        • by TeknoHog (164938)

          Did you miss the part about "if you ran Linux"? Those who use open source are not limited to x86.

          I know there is closed x86 software for Linux, but the idea of "software that's available for Linux on ARM" shows a poor understanding of open source. I run Gentoo on x86-64, PPC and ARM (and soon MIPS64), and it's generally the same distro and same software once you get past the bootloader. Of course there are hardware-specific issues, but that's more to do with different video cards etc. than the CPU archit

    • ...I wants it. A phone like that could be my "laptop", and I'd continue to use my workstation at home for gaming and other big-time number crunching computery stuff. This new processor (and Medfield) are get ever closer to that. I bet (erm, hope) I will be able to buy one by this time next year.

      So you're saying that Microsoft and Intel will create a device that lets you stop paying for laptop and corresponding OS and Office upgrades just so you can buy a phone with likely less margin than an iPhone?

      This is fantasy. Do not expect these companies to disrupt their own markets - it's not in their DNA and it's not in their best interest. Expect this phone to NOT be able to do nearly everything your laptop could do, even if it has the power to do so (Apple has gotten quite good margins from their "ca

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nope it does't [engadget.com] so here we go again get to it sourceforge! Though this time I have the feeling that all the Windows 8 tablets that will suddenly appear like magic out of nowhere will start getting dirt cheap in about a years time. IF HP, Toshiba, Acer, Asus and all the other so called "hardware" partners start to crank out iPad like Windows tablet clones.

    • Agreed, all the signs of a massive Microsoft tablet fail are here. I wonder what they're thinking? Maybe Microsoft hopes that the usual MSOffice addiction will make everything ok? If so they're due to be sadly disappointed when naive users discover that rubber keyboards just do not substitute for even a tiny clamshell, let alone a form factor suitable for real work. And then there will be the inevitable file compatibility issues. And the confused messaging about whether you're supposed to use the tablet as

    • If the SemiAccurate article is correct, Clover Trail is pretty large in chip surface and correspondingly expensive to make. So I have my doubts about the "dirt cheap", except maybe for Microsoft selling their own Surface tablets at a loss like game console makers.

      It seems that its only justification for existing is that it will be better in performance vs. power consumption than existing Atoms.

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