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Intel’s upcoming Apollo Lake chips could enable slimmer, more powerful budget PCs

By Koh Wanzi - on 18 Apr 2016, 10:26am

Intel’s upcoming Apollo Lake chips could enable slimmer, more powerful budget PCs

Navin Shenoy, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group, announced in his keynote the launch of Intel’s next-generation value platform, codenamed Apollo Lake. (Image Source: Intel)

At IDF 2016 in Shenzhen, Intel officially introduced its Apollo Lake platform for the next-generation of budget PCs powered by its Atom chips. Apollo Lake will feature a new x86 microarchitecture based on the 14nm process, as well as a new graphics core that promises improved performance for all-in-one mini PCs, hybrid devices, and other affordable notebooks and tablets.

While the upcoming Atom-based x86 microarchitecture, named Goldmont, is new, the graphics core actually utilizes Intel’s ninth-generation architecture, currently used in existing Skylake processors. According to Intel, Goldmont’s microarchitectural enhancements will enable faster performance in general-purpose tasks like content consumption and light productivity, although Intel has yet to quantify the exact improvements.

The graphics core also integrates more codecs and supports hardware-accelerated playback of 4K video from hardware decoding of the latest HEVC and VP9 codecs. These are high-efficiency video codecs that can better compress 4K content for devices with ultra-high resolution displays, which could allow budget-oriented devices to be equipped with higher-resolution screens.

A wide range of DRAM types is also supported, including dual-channel DDR4, DDR3L, LPDDR3, and LPDDR4 memory, in order to give manufacturers greater freedom in selecting the right DRAM type based on the desired cost and performance.

What’s more, Intel intends to use USB Type-C in Apollo Lake systems as well, an important sign of progress for traditionally thick and clunky budget devices.

Intel Apollo Lake

Overall, Intel wants these affordable devices to be extremely sleek and thin. Manufacturers have unequivocally bought into the idea that thinner devices are more attractive to consumers, so it’s no surprise that Intel is backing this vision as well. One of the ways Apollo Lake will do this is by enabling thinner batteries, thanks to what Intel says are improved power management features on the platform.

PCs featuring Apollo Lake chips – these will be Celeron- and Pentium-branded processors – are expected to appear in the second half of 2016.

Source: Intel via AnandTech

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