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Intel Preparing New Atom "Architecture"

Intel has apparently fast tracked the development of its Atom chip architecture as it focuses its formidable armada of engineers on the product range most likely to face stiff competition in the next few years from ARM and AMD.

CNet was told by "industry sources familiar to the plans" that the next generation of Atom chips, Silvermont, will combine the new Tri-gate technology - which was unveiled earlier this month - with a brand new architecture.

Like the rest of the competition, Silvermont will be a system-on-chip, which integrates most of the so-called core silicon onto one die or in one chip package.

By the end of the year, Intel will start to deliver products based on its new 22nm 3D design process with Ivy Bridge being the first product range to benefit from it.

In 2012, most of the products fabbed by Intel will be on 22nm, and by 2013 one can expect Intel to roll out the 14nm manufacturing process.

CNet notes that details are still scarce. We still don't know whether Intel will be cranking up the processing speed (the fastest Atom runs at 1.66GHz), the number of cores (maximum is two for now) or both at the same time.

It is also unknown whether the various sub-strands of the Atom family, like the Z-series and the N-series, will be merged into one or not.