On Tuesday the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had modified its antitrust settlement with Intel Corp. and under new agreement the company may omit support of PCI Express interface from its code-named Oak Trail system-on-chip aimed at tablets. The change of the settlement generally does not impact the hardware market tangibly.
Intel does not need to include PCI Express bus support into the product "code-named 'Oak Trail' when supplied to customers for pre-production testing prior to the effective date of this order; is shipped by [Intel] on or before June 30, 2013, and is promoted and sold only for use in fanless netbooks launched on or before December 31, 2012". Even though the decision is pretty clear, it causes more questions than answers.
The code-named Oak Trail system-on-chip is based on Atom microprocessor core and is designed for ultra low-power netbooks as well as slate-type personal computers. It is widely believed that Oak Trail is heavily based on the code-named Moorestown (Atom Z600) design, but should support PCI Express as well as Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. Some claim that the reason why Intel Atom Z600-series SoCs do not support mainstream Windows OS is because the chips do not support PCI or PCI Express bus.
Since Oak Trail is already a highly integrated solution, it does not need any additional controllers or other peripherals that use PCI Express.
Available to customers early 2011 (which means that it will take months to actually integrate the device), Oak Trail will deliver up to a 50%t reduction in average power consumption with full HD-video playback, according to Intel. The SoC will target a choice of operating systems including MeeGo, Windows 7 and Google Android or Chrome operating systems.