Giz Explains: What Is Intel Clover Trail?

Intel Clover Trail. Sounds like a JJ Abrams movie about camping, right? But Clover Trail is actually the next generation Intel Atom chip that'll power both Windows 8 tablets and laptops. Which means you'll probably run into this chip pretty darn soon, so get familiar.

Intel Clover Trail is the next-generation Intel Atom chip...

Intel, which effectively dominates the PC market, is a nobody in mobile processors. Tablets and phones pretty much all use ARM or Tegra 3 chips and everyone ignores Intel Atom chips. Let's be honest, Atom is usually synonymous with suck in computers but Clover Trail -- or officially, the Atom processor Z2760 -- hopes to change all that by being better than ARM chips for Windows 8 tablets, for the same price.

...that will be used in Windows 8 tablets and laptops...

Intel showed off the Clover Trail chip inside tablets, using a reference device that was 10-inches big, 8.7mm thin and weighed under 680 grams (new iPad is 9.4 mm thin and weighs 657 grams). Like ARM, Clover Trail is a system on a chip package but unlike ARM, Clover Trail will run the full Windows 8 experience on a tablet -- it'll support existing Windows apps and drivers etc. -- and not run the technically inferior ARM-based tablets' Windows RT.

...and has low power consumption...

As with any mobile processor, Clover Trail's focus is on low power. Clover Trail is made using a 32-nanometer manufacturing process which minimizes the size of the chip while still keeping it stupid efficient. Battery life of tablets running Clover Trail is expected to be 10 hours and last up to 3 weeks on standby.

...but still packs a punch...

The dual-core Clover Trail can clock up to speeds of 1.8GHz and supports Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, so it can support four simultaneous threads. Clover Trail also integrates NFC, 8-megapixel camera and your usual slew of connectivity options. everyone is using it...

Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer, ASUS and others are already in the process of building Clover Trail tablets. In fact, you can spot Clover Trail in hybrid laptop tablets such as the pretty awesome looking Dell XPS Duo 12 and Samsung Series 5 Slate. Intel says over 20 tablets are in the works right now.

...which means it might find a way into your hands too.

It's going to be interesting to see if Intel can carve out some space between mobile friendly ARM chips and its own uber-powerful Core line with Clover Trail or if it'll just end up being Atom in netbooks but in a prettier, shinier tablet package (that would be a bad thing). The tablets that are going to use Clover Trail will be more "business" oriented, which really just means it could cost more and offer users "legacy support" for Windows (think Office). If you want that sort of thing in your tablet, well, Clover Trail is that compromise.

Or best case scenario: it's the x86 tablet you've always wanted for the price of an ARM-based tablet. A tablet that's more powerful than anything you've seen yet is priced like every other tablet on the market. That would be interesting. We'll find out what Clover Trail really is when tablets start shipping this fall when Windows 8 becomes available.




    Been looking at a htpc and was hoping a new/decent atom was on the way. And well with AMD and there fusion line Intel was lacking in the low power consumption speed stakes.

    and while this is all nice etc, the price point will be 150% higher than its power sipping arm counterparts


      The better object costs more money?

      Colour me stunned.

        agreed, but the argument is justified

        theres a reason oems dont jump onto the wintel bandwagon - overpriced intel chipsets and crazy windows licensing prices

        id be inclined to get a atom - but it really is too under powered for their proposed pricepoint, their only advantage is the x86 architecture compatibility.... its not even 64bit enabled - its at about that point ud argue a fully fledged i3/i5 lappy and a winrt tablet would be better than a shitty ass atom

        and i love my atom netbook - but really... its lame :P

      How is $650 for a Samsung Series 5 with 64Gb of storage 150% more than a 64Gb iPad at $699? When I learned maths that was 7% CHEAPER.

    Really torn now, I like the form factor, nice looking build quality and keyboard of the surface RT, but the added compatibility of x86 can't be ignored. Now really wishing surface RT was atom powered, or that someone would launch a 10" clover trail tablet that is light and NOT PLASTIC.

      Agreed, Surface RT would havew been so much better if it had legacy support provided by a clovertrail. Arm is good for android, but i was expecting RT to be better than android, and it only has the Office 'apps' which are the only thing going for RT. I assumed a while back, RT would be what clovertrail is, and PRO is a full power. What we got is, what apple has Ipad, an oversided iphone/ipod. and a PC OS. A direct competitor tablet toy with 'apps', They should have gone with the Atom CPU, and legacy support with apps. and the Pro a real user/business full PC experience.

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