Intel Launches Updated Atom Platform with Pine Trail Technology
Pine Trail arrives ahead of schedule
Today Intel officially unveils the newly updated Atom architecture previously known as Pine Trail. The platform upgrade is really rather minor in terms of performance and features but does improve the cost and power consumption situations nicely across the board.
There are only trio of new processor being announced today, the first of which is targeted at the netbook market:
For nettops there are two different options available:
A single Atom "Pineview" core
The new integrated graphics is being called the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 and is DX9 capable, though I wouldn't plan on doing any gaming on it. It can do some modest HD video playback though Intel is saying that for full HD playback support the need for a third-party chip like Broadcom's BCM70015 decoder is required.
The big change with this new platform is obviously a consolidation in space and design as well as lowering of power consumption across the board.
There are some drawbacks to the new Atom processors though. They don't offer any HD video decode acceleration with the integrated graphics and also don't do any sort of Adobe Flash acceleration - both of which could be accomplished by the NVIDIA ION chipset. However, the current generation of ION will not function with the new Atom design because the CPU uses the DMI bus to connect to the chipset - and we all know that NVIDIA does not have the license to create chipsets around the DMI bus. (Otherwise, we would have likely seen an NVIDIA chipset for the Lynnfield CPU.) The oft-discussed ION 2 will be a discrete graphics solution only for exactly this reason - it can use the PCI Express lanes of the Intel NM10 chipset to interface with the platform.
Overall, Pine Trail is much less about performance and features than we had originally hoped. From a purely technical perspective, moving the memory controller and GPU on-board such a low cost and small processor makes for interesting discussions, but probably won't change much in the world of computing for consumers or business. But, if Intel's partners can translate the new platform into longer battery life and at the same (or lower) prices, then we are all for it. Reviews of Pine Trail systems pending!