Intel unveils low-power SoC architecture: Silvermont

Intel unveils low-power SoC architecture: Silvermont

Summary: Intel is aiming to target all of its market segments from smartphones to datacenters with its new low-power SoC: Silvermont.

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Intel has some ambitions plans in mind with the introduction of Silvermont, the next generation of the tech giant's microarchitecture platform.

The San Jose-based corporation is particularly emphasizing the lower power consumption rates attached to Silvermont.

See also: Intel Iris could be a real threat to AMD and Nvidia

Intel touts that the 22-nanometer System-on-a-Chip platform offers three times more performance for five times less power than the current Atom core generation.

Some of the key enhancements include power sharing between GPUs and SoC IPs along with being able to manage burst frequency based on thermal, electrical, and power delivery constraints.

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With a multi-core system fabric supporting to eight cores, Intel boasts that this SoC offers more scalability across its range of product and market segments.

Specifically, Intel cited intelligent systems, datacenters, Ultrabooks, and mobile devices (both smartphones and tablets).

Thus, the chip maker could be hoping to use Silvermont to strengthen its mobile strategy, which has somewhat fallen to the sidelines.

Silvermont is scheduled to be the first in a family of cores that will be refreshed every year for the next few years.

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It's been a busy time for the microprocessor giant. Just last week, Intel finally announced who would be taking over the reins from outgoing CEO Paul Otellini.

Intel revealed on Thursday that Brian Krzanich would be stepping up to the plate as the company's sixth CEO, effective May 16.

Big processor news is also still on the horizon as Intel counts down (by the nanosecond) to the debut of its fourth-generation Core processor family, formerly referred to by the codename "Haswell."

That platform, expected to support an "extraordinarily long battery life" will be introduced at Computex in Taiwan on June 4.

Screenshots via Intel Investor Relations

Topics: Hardware, Intel, Processors, PCs

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14 comments
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  • Thanks to ARM ...

    ... who held a blowtorch to Intels feet these guys have woken up and are innovating again. On a side-note: I don't care what processor is in the tools I use as long as it's fast and consumes little power and runs the apps (or programs ...) i need
    financegozu
    • ARM's advantage is only in size and in mobility and in energy consumption,

      but, when it comes to performance, it can't even approach the "lowly" Atom processor, much less the i3 or i5 or i7 processors.
      adornoe
  • 6 months ago I didn't think intel had a chance to catch ARM

    but they seem to be making some good progress. they're not there yet, but they're not so far away that it seems impossible anymore.
    theoilman
    • Re: 6 months ago I didn't think intel had a chance to catch ARM

      They still don't. There are 3 factors on which they need to catch ARM: performance, power consumption, and price. They can match two at once but they'll never manage all three.

      Remember, Intel is not, never has been, and never will be, a low-margin business.
      ldo17
      • price?

        Intel doesn't "match" AMD on price either but it doesn't have to.

        ...........May eventually become the same story with ARM.
        Gigahurt
      • FWIW

        Intel's current-generation Atom ccores already beat most ARM cores on performance. In terms of power consumption, devices powered by Atom are pretty-much on-par with comparable ARM devices:

        http://www.anandtech.com/show/6536/arm-vs-x86-the-real-showdown/

        If Intel can drop power consumption by 50% while improving perf by 50%, then they'll beat most ARM cores on perf AND power-consumption.

        Whether one likes it or not, x86/x64 code is typically far more dense than ARM code resulting in far more efficient use of caching and decreased memory-bus bandwidth & latencies. This led ARM to create the THUMB & THUMB2 instruction sets to compress simpler instructions into fewer bytes. This improved the efficiency of ARM code execution, but it's still not as efficient as Intel's ISA.

        What Intel have lacked is a radical overhaul of their processor & SOC technologies with a focus on perf AND power-consumption ... until now. The introduction of Sliverdale should blow the lid off Intel's ability to compete in EVERY processor market - from phones & embedded all the way up to multi-processor servers.

        Exciting times :)
        bitcrazed
        • but of course

          Intel will catch on ARM, and for some reason ARM will sit still? Why?

          If you want to be successful, you stay focused and not spread thin as Intel is trying to do. What is the point to cover all possible market?

          Jack of all trades and master of none.
          danbi
          • intel sees that mobile/low power is the future of computing

            and they're right to pursue it. desktop market is shrinking and mobile is exploding. the final form factors of the future are not yet clear, but it is clear they will need power efficiency as well as power. personal devices are already about as powerful as people need- what people need now is longer battery life and lighter devices, both of which power efficiency brings.

            and even in servers now power efficiency over increasing power are what companies are going for.
            theoilman
          • ARM will still be "under-performing" Intel processors for a long time, even

            as Intel brings down the size and power consumption of their cpus.

            No matter what developments ARM comes up with, they likely will never catch up to the performance of the CISC architecture of Intel cpus.
            adornoe
      • That's just stupid to say that. Of course they can beat them on all 3

        They already have them beat on performance and power efficiency. They've just lacked good soc packages until now. As for price it's all about manufacturing process and margins. Intel has arm crushed by years of lead in the manufacturing area. They are set to deliver 22nm now and 14nm starting early 2014 which is coming up fast. They also have moved to much larger wafers and when that dominates their manufacturing their cost per chip is going to shrink a whole lot more. No arm manufacturer can match intel on either of these. They are all multiple years behind. Intel will have much more room to lower their price and still have higher margins that arm. Then they will just have to play with the price point sweet spot for high volume.
        Johnny Vegas
  • please fix the article

    The Intel advertisement you include says 3x performance OR 5x less power. Not both (of course). So.. business as usual for Intel.
    danbi
    • The article is correct!

      The article is correct when it said that the 22nm SoC Silvermont "offers three times more performance FOR five times less power than the current Atom core generation".
      petin_y@...
      • No, it is OR, not FOR

        The slide shows them side-by-side without the OR but the press release verbiage says OR.

        Disclaimer: I do work for a different division of Intel and my opinions are my own. I just want the correct story out there. We're great, not perfect! :)
        dwilde1
  • Want proof for X86 phone?

    Google ZTE Grand X In. They are already on par with ARM. The phone runs also ARM code with on the fly translation at decent speeds.
    It's amazing.
    raggi