Cedar Trail Summary, Architecture, Features.

Updated on 22 April 2011 by

Cedar Trail Architechture

cedar trail arch

As you can see from the above diagram, the solution is based on a new 32nm process which will reduce size and save power over the existing PineTrail platform. It’s still a 2-chip solution with the CPU/GPU (AMD calls this an APU) known as CedarView-M and the connectivity provided by the NM10 chipset but the GPU, on the CPU die as with Pine Trail,  now includes a hardware video (media) decoding unit. This will permit up to 1080p decoding. A new HDMi interface will allow this to be displayed on the latest HD TVs and monitors. The same NM10 chipset is used which means there will be be no USB3 support.

cedar trail  specifications

More information on the GPU is shown in this slide and includes Open GL 3.0 and DirectX10.1. Based on some background research done by one of our readers, the only Intel GPU that would fit this would be the GPU used in Sandy Bridge which could return 2X performance over the existing GMA3150 GPU. [Thx DavidC1]

We know from interviews and presentations that Intel will aim for 50% reduction in TDP. That puts it at around 4W + under 1W for the controller. Higher frequency and dual-core have also been mentioned. A 1.8Ghz dual-core version would increase the performance of the platform considerably (possibly above AMD Brazos E-350 levels) and still allow fanless designs.

fanless cedar trail design

Cedar Trail Features

CedarTrail will offer some ‘value add’ features that are likely to be optional and only implemented in high-end solutions.

Wireless Display – Details unknown but its likely to be a 720p solution available on netbooks using the Intel wireless module. Cost of receivers in unknown

Wireless Music – Uncompressed 2.1 audio. Will require a receiver module. Logitech have already demonstrated a receiver and this will be available for $29.99. This should beat any Bluetooth audio implementation currently on the market in terms of quality. It may require use of the Intel Wireless solution so some netbooks may not implement it.

Laplink / PC Sync – Wifi-based file synchronisation. Details unknown at present.

Always Updated – Will allow applications to get updates when in standby. That’s interesting wording be cause it doesn’t say ‘always on.’ This could be linked with the fourth feature mentioned to provide quick wake, poll, sleep cycles.

Quick boot. If this is to work with Windows it could be a trick that allows very quick standby state recovery. Perhaps an on-die memory cache? Details are not available but it could be very useful, especially when coupled with a boot-and-poll sequencer. This could also be a UEFI application requiring a different boot process and operating system support. Could be a future, Windows 8 / MeeGo feature.

Pricing – Platform pricing will reduce slightly but the main cost advantages come in sizing and power budget. The smaller size and lower power dissipation means less time and material needs to be spent on the enclosure and motherboard. A fanless design could mean sealed-units which means a major saving in design and production costs. Smaller batteries can considerably reduce cost, especially when they are sealed-in units. Sub $200, 5hr units should be possible.

Intel have stated that they are aiming at a low cost $199 netbook with MeeGo for developing markets. Final pricing is, of course, up to manufacturers and resellers.

Overall, Cedar Trail looks to be a flexible platform that could scale from cheap 1.5/1.6Ghz single core parts to relatively high-end 1.8 or 2.0Ghz dual-core parts with some interesting value-add features being added in certain markets and price-points. In terms of CPU performance is is likely to scale up to the performance of the AMD Brazos E-350 solution and offer equivalent HD decoding hardware. Graphics acceleration will get a boost but it is unlikely to reach the performance of the E-350 graphics. Again, in comparison with C-50 and E-350 AMD Brazos solutions, the power envelope is likely to be smaller. Manufacturers will use this efficiency to offer cheaper solutions (smaller batteries, cases, parts costs) or high-end long-life solutions.

One question does remain – will OEMs have to buy full Windows 7 licenses (Windows Home Premium) to unlock Cedar Trail  features. With HDMI and Wirless Display, it is likely that high end-prices could rise a little because of the extra licensing cost making MeeGo a more interesting low-end solution as it evolves.

Expect more details and sample devices at Computex, June 2011

Sources: Various including Intel Press, Netbooknews and Intel IDF Content catalogue

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26 Comments For This Post

  1. UMPCPortal says:

    Cedar Trail Summary, Architecture, Features. http://www.umpcportal.com/?p=23626

  2. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    RT @umpcportal: Cedar Trail Summary, Architecture, Features. http://www.umpcportal.com/?p=23626

  3. Alltop Mobile says:

    Cedar Trail Summary, Architecture, Features. http://bit.ly/gjjCrQ

  4. Ken E Kaplan says:

    Intel Cedar Trail Summary, Architecture, Features
    http://skygrid.me/efom2h via @chippy #IDF11 #Atom

  5. Ben Lang says:

    Good analysis of Intel's Cedar Trail announcements from @chippy: http://j.mp/fAM1Nf

  6. aftermath says:

    Thanks again for your coverage of all of this.

    We’ll be hearing about products that will use all of this technology for months to come, but sadly I bet that a lot of the people who’ll make comments and join conversations about those devices gloss over articles like these. That’s too bad, especially because you’ve made the topic clear and useful.

    One suggestion: Towards the end, you started getting into the software and driver support as you noted that some of the hardware features would currently need Windows 7 Home Premium before they could be realized. I hope I’m not alone in saying that I’d like to see these issues explored and covered more thoroughly in your write-ups. They’re every bit as important.

    Like most hardware vendors, Intel employs software developers to build and maintain drivers as well as collaborate with those who develop operating systems. As you’ve implied, every consumer needs to be educated about the extent to which a choice of operating system supports a choice of hardware. We need something better than just hope and assumptions to go on. Intel’s time-line for releases and the support of specific features on specific operating systems varies wildly from very solid to very inconsistent. Your coverage here doesn’t do much to clarify things in this case. I’d really appreciate some more words on this in the future. Dedicating a whole section of these articles to those issues would make your already great coverage even better.

    It’s perhaps also important to remember that the ability to worry about this is a luxury. For example, on most ARM platforms, the only assumption that is realistic is that the operating system with which your device ships is the one with which you’ll be stuck. You might be allowed one or two upgrades, but you can abandon all hope of enjoying a variety of operating system choices or long-term upgrades or support. In contrast, Intel offerings like this open back up the possibility of consumer choice which makes the coverage of drivers and software that much more important.

  7. Lucien says:

    Isn’t the difference between netbooks and ‘sleek’ netbooks/slates becoming increasingly blurred? So I’m not sure where Cedar Trail comes in and if it really wouldn’t be useful in slates as well?

    How does Cedar trail compare to Oak trail?

  8. Chippy says:

    It’s a very good question. Essentially, cedar trail is the mass market platform with Oaktrail being a specialist embedded platform that is simply being marketed for the trend of the moment. It has some better energy saving components than Pinetrail at least. Pinetrail is.likely to appear in tablets too, just as Pinetrail did. All very confusing!

  9. Lucien says:

    Thanks Chippy. Too early to compare I guess but for now I assume CedarTrail should give better overall perf especially with higher 2.0 GHz CPU’s. On the other hand OakTrail should give better battery perf and better perf for some decicated graphics scenario’s (e.g. video playback)?

    Question if people who are looking for tablet/slates should wait for CedarTrail or not or will be just fine with OakTrail.

  10. Chippy says:

    Oaktrail with Meego or Intel Android could have some significant battery life advantages on Oaktrail. It also includes a 720p Encoder on Oaktrail. Cedar Trail will bring higher power but less battery life. It depends what you want. Lets see how the first Oaktrail devices perform first!

  11. Tina says:

    Cedar Trail Summary, Architecture, Features. | UMPCPortal …: Intel's netbook strategy comprises two platforms…. http://bit.ly/hDn1iY

  12. timon says:

    I wanted to hear that Intel makes a 7-inch tablet can be switched to serve as a mobile monitor, not only a tablet PC function.

    you look, a Sony 5-inch monitor, CLM-V55 with a HDMI input and battery:
    presscentre.sony.eu/imagelibrary/detail.aspx?MediaDetailsID=194848
    presscentre.sony.eu/imagelibrary/detail.aspx?MediaDetailsID=194844

    I want a 7-inch multi-function device to be in a camera package, but not two type devices.

  13. BlueStacks says:

    intel and AMD roadmap. Graphics, Video & Battery Life is key (thanks @kenekaplan #IDF11 http://skygrid.me/efom2h) http://twitpic.com/4kh5cx

  14. DavidC1 says:

    “We know from interviews and presentations that Intel will aim for 50% reduction in TDP. That puts it at around 4W + under 1W for the controller.”

    The rumors are it will continue to use the NM10 Express Chipset like Pine Trail.

    NM10=1.5W

    Now you have 8.5W TDP N550/N570 and 6.5 TDP N475. That’s a platform power consumption of 10W and 8W respectively. 3.5W TDP for dual core resulting from that calculation fits with rumors saying certain versions of Cedarview chips will have 3.5W TDP.

  15. Chippy says:

    Yup. Sorry I got confused with the 0.75w tdp of the Oaktrail controller. The overall 4w figure is still very close though.

  16. Vit says:

    All Android and from what I understand Meego tablets use ARM, always on feature , neither Oak Trail nor Pine Trail offers that, Why would manufacturers use these processors for Android and Meego? It seems Intel processors will go to Windows based devices and maybe some Mac

  17. Chippy says:

    Oaktrail does include the ‘power grating’ feature that would allow it to idle down into always-on states. Meego and Android can take advantage of this.

  18. DavidC1 says:

    It’s not the power gating itself that allows low power always-on. Yes, it is a critical part, but to elaborate on that:

    ARM based Tablets and Smartphones have a special chip that integrates power management around the CPU(like VR) and the platform itself. Pre-Oak Trail devices were just like the PC that it was off chip and all around the mainboard, which meant slower reaction time resulting in greater power consumption. The special chip, called the PMIC(Power Management IC, simple eh ;) ), also interacts with the operating system to control everything else.

    So in Pre-Oak Trail devices, it didn’t matter if you had Windows, Android, or MeeGo. It was just like a PC that it didn’t have ultra low power idle state. Oak Trail(not sure about Cedar Trail, but definitely on Medfield) has the PMIC that will finally allow optimized OSes like Android and MeeGo to go into that low power state.

  19. Chippy says:

    Thanks Davidc1. And to elaborate on that and pull it together, an advanced feature of this pmic is that it can control low power states and even turn parts of the die on and off when not required. That’s the power gating I was referring to.

    At least that is my understanding. I don’t think power gating works without the pmic and therefore without operating systems that are optimized to use the pmic.

  20. turn_self_off says:

    I helped myself to a copy of the roadmap image, to hopefully help in keeping all the codenames straight ;)

  21. Furmihdii says:

    my only real question is about the GPU, is the additional power “real” or “circumstantial”?

    what I mean by this is, is it “real” like ION that will play almost any format at HD quality or is it “circumstantial” like the broadcom crystal chips that only played certain formats in certain players under certain conditions?

    big difference between true power & tricky power.

  22. DavidC1 says:

    That entirely depends on whether the video codec supports the hardware. You see, CPUs are fully programmable devices so you can get any code to run it without having to optimize for it. HD playback on a GPU needs fixed function circuitry which has to be optimized on a per hardware basis. So given enough developer support, ANY fixed function hardware, even the broadcom decoder can run it fine.

    I think they finally got flash playback with the 10.2 versions and latest graphics drivers on the GMA 500, but it should really be improved with the GMA 600 on Oak Trail.

    What about Cedar Trail? If its a derivative of the HD Graphics then you can expect good support on it.

  23. Farshid says:

    Hi Chippy,

    Do you know when the new viliv x70 with oak trail CPU hits the stores? I was expecting it around mid-April but haven’t heard anything yet. Any idea?

  24. Lucien says:

    I wonder about that too. I know there has been delays (because of Intel?) and first Oaktrail tablets would be available May. Potentially Fujitsu Q550 being first since that was one of the few with a release date (April/May).

    Since there has been about no news on any of these tablets (Lenovo/Viliv/Fujitsu) I wonder if actual delays are longer. Perhaps June/July?

  25. Chippy says:

    I’m sure the earliest will now be Mid-may.

  26. Chippy says:

    End of May earliest. We May have sample in first weeks of May. Fingers crossed.

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