Intel Atom Z3000 Series Review - Bay Trail and Silvermont Arrive
Windows 8 Performance - SiSoft Sandra
A couple of days before the start of IDF, Intel invited some of the press to sit down with the new Bay Trail processors in a reference platform (not a retail-ready unit at all) in both Windows 8 and Android 4.2.2 software environments. While I did not get enough time to fully evaluate the performance of either operating system in the way we would normally strive to reach at PC Perspective, the results we were able to obtain were done without intervention from Intel and without restrictions on allowed benchmarks.
The reference platform was in the form factor of a 10-in tablet with some impressive specifications. Some items like the camera, speakers and stability still had some room to improve, but the performance and capability the platform showed minimized those problems. Here is the specification breakdown for the hardware, used for both Windows 8 and Android testing.
- Intel Atom Z3770 Bay Trail SoC
- Burst frequency up to 2.4 GHz
- 2GB DDR3L-1067
- 2560x1440 display
- Windows 8.1 OR Android 4.2.2
The 2560x1440 display is going to affect things in interesting ways in some of our testing, particularly with Android. Some benchmarks run at the native screen resolution only and our other tablets are running near that screen resolution. We’ll discuss it during our Android results when appropriate.
Windows 8 Performance Results
Using Windows 8 with Bay Trail is a totally different experience than with Clover Trail. Anyone that has used a tablet with the Atom Z2760 SoC in it will likely remember plenty of slow down and sluggishness in the system while doing some basic tasks like web browsing and interacting with the Windows UI. That is no longer the case with Bay Trail and the performance claims of Intel from our initial Silvermont dissection look to be spot on.
I was able to run a handful of tests under Windows 8 to compare to other platforms in tablet and notebook form. From Intel we have Bay Trail, Clover Trail and an Ivy Bridge ULV processor. From AMD we have the Kabini test platform we reviewed earlier in the year as well as new numbers from a dual-core Temash-based HP TouchSmart notebook.
Intel Clover Trail
- Lenovo Tablet 2
- Atom Z2760 dual-core / four threads
- 2GB DDR3
Intel Ivy Bridge
- Acer Iconia W700
- Core i5-3317U
- 4GB DDR3
- Kabini Reference
- 4GB DDR3
- HP TouchSmart 11z
- 4GB DDR3
The Acer Iconia powered by the Ivy Bridge processor is the most expensive platform in our comparison and is also features the highest expected thermal levels. AMD’s comparison points are the latest APUs from AMD for the low power segments and I was able to run tests on both a quad-core and dual-core version.
We’ll talk more about power later but you should keep in mind some things about the expected thermal levels of these processors. Intel didn’t want to talk about TDP or SDP with Bay Trail and instead wanted to discuss how much more efficient they are than Clover Trail; which they certainly are. In truth, the TDP / SDP of Bay Trail looks to be very close to Clover Trail though the new platform will have much higher performance. A good estimate is that Bay Trail will have a TDP around 2-3 watts depending on implementation. (We did see the SoC pulling 2.6 watts under a full load of CineBench 11.5 in Windows 8.)
Why bring this up now? AMD’s Kabini SoC has a TDP of 15 watts and the Temash SoC is around 4 watts. The Core i5-3317U TDP is 17 watts. So, Kabini and the Ivy Bridge part share similar TDPs while the Clover Trail, Bay Trail and Temash are in the same ball park (though 4 watts vs 2-3 watts is enough to separate as well).
Let’s look at some results.
SiSoft Sandra 2013
Our first synthetic test to look at the x86 CPU performance paints a very positive picture of Bay Trail and the Atom Z3770 as it is passes up the AMD Kabini platform running at a significantly higher TDP level. Without a doubt the performance of Clover Trail and the Temash systems are a big step down and the hope we had of AMD’s A4-1250 being competitive in this low power market is in question.
The multimedia results are a bit more kind to Kabini, but Bay Trail has a strong result. The dual-channel DDR3 memory controller on Bay Trail can push nearly 9 GB/s in our testing which is almost 3x as fast as Clover Trail.