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Surface 3

What’s Beneath the Surface 3?

Surface 3 Review

Microsoft’s Surface 3 signals the end of the Windows RT experiment. But is also notable because it is the first device to offer Intel’s 14nm Atom Cherry Trail chip.

Surface 3

The Surface 3 signals the end of Microsoft’s experiment with Windows RT. But is also notable because it is likely to be the first device, when it ships on May 5, to offer an Atom chip based on Intel’s most advanced 14nm process. Intel officially announced the new line–along with a rebranding to mirror the more powerful Core family–at last month’s Mobile World Congress.

Video About Surface 3

The Atom x5 and x7 series, formerly known as Cherry Trail, are designed for tablets and smaller 2-in-1 devices. These are manufactured on the same advanced 14nm process with FinFET transistors as the Broadwell Core processors and they use a new Airmont CPU core and Intel’s latest Gen8 graphics. Cherry Trail replaces the 22nm Bay Trail-T platform with the Silvermont core (the Atom Z3700 Series) for Android and Windows tablets. A separate 14nm platform, code-named Braswell, replaces the Bay Trail processors for low-end notebooks and desktops sold under the Celeron and Pentium brands.

The Cherry Trail quad-core processors include the x5-8300, which has 12 graphics execution units (EUs), the x5-8500, which has a faster CPU, and x7-8700, which has the faster CPU and more powerful graphics (16 EUs). The Surface 3 uses the 1.6GHz x7-8700 (early test results posted on Geekbench suggest it is slightly faster than Bay Trail but notably slower than both the Surface Pro 3 with a Core i5-4300U and the Apple iPad Air 2, which also starts at $499). Intel has said that Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba will also release devices using the x5 and x7 processors.

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