Further to our recent post about spotting Denverton silicon on display at Computex this year, we also caught an Apollo Lake mini-PC motherboard doing the rounds at the ECS booth. The mini-PC line from ECS incorporates many versions of the Liva, which run the gamut from dual core Atom all the way up to Core-M and Core i3, depending on how much power you need or how much you want to spend. Ganesh has in recent months reviewed the LIVA One with Skylake, the LIVA Core with Core-M, the LIVA x2 with Braswell and the LIVA X with Bay Trail-M. Based on that naming scheme, the motherboard we saw at Computex from ECS stands to be something like the LIVA x3.

  

Apollo Lake uses Intel’s latest Atom cores, based on the Goldmont microarchitecture. We reported on Broxton for smartphones and tablets, also based on Goldmont, being canned earlier this year however the microarchitecture will live on in notebooks and mini-PCs for 2016 and 2017 (with servers/embedded even later). This motherboard shows an unknown Apollo Lake die, measuring in at 159.7 mm2 (11.24 x 9.98 mm), with DC-In power, dual network ports, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.0 Type-C port, a HDMI output, a mini-DP output, two SO-DIMM slots and dual M.2: one for WiFi and one for storage.

Comparison of Intel's Entry-Level PC and Tablet Platforms
  Bay Trail Braswell Cherry Trail Apollo Lake
Microarchitecture Silvermont Airmont Airmont Goldmont
Core Count Up to 4
Graphics uArch Gen 7 Gen8 Gen8 Gen9
EU Count unknown 16 12/16 unknown (24?)
Multimedia
Codecs
MPEG-2
MPEG-4 AVC
VC-1
WMV9
HEVC (SW only)
VP9 (SW only)
MPEG-2
MPEG-4 AVC
VC-1
WMV9
HEVC (8-bit software/hybrid)
VP9 (software/hybrid)
MPEG-2
MPEG-4 AVC
VC-1
WMV9
HEVC
VP9
Process Technology 22 nm 14 nm 14 nm 14 nm
Launch Q1 2014 H1 2015 2015 H2 2016

We reported on Apollo Lake being unveiled at IDF Shenzhen back in April, with up to four cores and Intel’s Gen9 graphics with an unknown amount of execution units. Apollo Lake supports DDR3L as well as LPDDR3/4, eMMC for storage, soldered down 802.11ac Intel WiFi and improved PMIC (power management) options. One of the headlines from the IDF Shenzhen presentation was the reduction in bill of materials cost (BOM) for the OEMs, up to $7, compared to the previous generation.

Along with a new ‘cloudbook’ category (i.e. Chromebook-style), Intel expects Apollo Lake to be in notebooks, all-in-ones and mini-PCs similar to ECS’ design. ECS also had a number of mini-STX designs on display, along with a couple of Intel engineers with some alternative combination mini-PC configurations. 

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  • BucksterMcgee - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    Any speculation if this could be what the next version of HoloLens uses? Reply
  • ianmills - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    The GPU power is pretty limited... Reply
  • hojnikb - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    I wonder if this supports HEVC@10bit
    if it does and minipc will be cheap enough, i might consider replacing my trusty ol' Z3735F
    Reply
  • vladx - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    Yes it does unlike Cherry Trail who's only 8-bit HEVC. Reply
  • ToTTenTranz - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    Is there any technical reason why Apollo Lake can't go into high-ish end 10" tablets like the Surface non-Pro? Reply
  • vladx - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    Because Intel tried that already and just doesn't sell well unless they're cheap tablets. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, July 17, 2016 - link

    The ones aimed at embedded devices are likely to have higher power requirements. It has little to do with sales volume and more to do with margin. They're intentionally killing off the cheap Windows tablet market so they can push higher-end tablets with high-margin Core M or better. This will probably continue until they get competition in this market segment.

    It's a shame as the top model mobile Apollo Lake would have been a nice upgrade for a Surface 4.
    Reply
  • Morawka - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    how is this soc gonna perform in SOHO Nas units? Reply
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    It's still not clear to me if we're going to see Intel chips which are not Core M in tablets. Information seems to be contradictory. Reply
  • Klug4Pres - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    We have seen nothing that suggests that we will see Atom cores in tablets.

    Nobody has specifically announced that we won't see Atom in tablets, but this announcement may never happen. We will just have to spend time observing the absence of Atom tablets.

    Even when Apollo Lake is released and is seen not to have reasonable thermal characteristics, not to have s0ix etc., no doubt someone will say that a different chip could be released later on that could be used in a tablet.

    Don't hold your breath.
    Reply

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