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Despite never being battle tested, Intel claims its smart phone processors will be the most powerful on the planet.  (Source: Funimation/Toei)
Hardware giant says that its upcoming Atom-based smart phone processor will crush ARM chips in power, performance

Intel certainly is taking a bold, if dangerous position.  Without having shipped a single smart phone system on a chip, it's claiming that its first generation smart phone chips will beat ARM designs when Intel launches the chips to the market later this year.

Speaking at the Mobile World Conference 2011 in Barcelona, Spain Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, made this bold prediction.  He concedes that the upcoming smart phone core, dubbed Medfield, will only tie ARM cores in standby time.  But he claims it will blow away the competition in the amount of time the phone can remain active and how fast it can perform processing.

That seems a bit overly optimistic, given that Intel is only in its first generation, while most ARM CPU makers are well into their second or third generation.

The good news for Intel, though, is that at least it appears like it will be delivering a product sometime soon.  It says [press release] it is currently producing the smart phone chips, which should be due in products late this year.  

The first generation chips come with an HSPA+ modem, courtesy of the technology that Intel acquired from its $1.4B USD purchase of Infineon.  While ARM processors with on-chip LTE modems should be available near the start of next year, Intel's LTE-ready chips won't arrive until holiday season 2012.  

The most immediate problem (other than living up to its huge claims) facing Intel is convincing hardware manufacturers to embrace Medfield.  If the performance is as Earth-shaking as Intel claims that shouldn't be too hard to do -- but if the performance is closer to what one would expect in reality, it may be an uphill battle for Intel.  So far only LG has showed off an Atom-based smart phone prototype.  No hardware partners have been announced, though Intel claims it should begin shipping product later this year.

The big issue facing Intel, though, is that if it isn't able to live up to its boastful claims and doesn't take the fight to ARM, ARM will likely take the fight to it.  Qualcomm has already aired a quad-core 2.5 GHz ARM chip that will be available next year.  With Windows 8 set to support ARM-based PCs, Intel could be in a world of hurt in the power-conscience laptop market.


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RE: Good article except for the drama
By mcnabney on 2/15/2011 1:30:22 PM , Rating: 4
There is something missing from those assertions.

The new Atom could equal ARM for standby time, beat it handily in performance, but still be an unwanted product.

The remaining question was never asked/answered.

What kind of power does it draw when in use?

If the handset can only run applications for 45 minutes before draining the battery this chip is a non-starter.


RE: Good article except for the drama
By SirKronan on 2/15/2011 11:45:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The remaining question was never asked/answered. What kind of power does it draw when in use?

The remaining question was never asked/answered.


Yes they did, according to the article:

quote:
But he claims it will blow away the competition in the amount of time the phone can remain active and how fast it can perform processing.


RE: Good article except for the drama
By gamerk2 on 2/16/2011 9:01:37 AM , Rating: 4
AMD claims Bulldozer is 50% faster then Sandy Bridge.

Never trust the PR guys.


By silverblue on 2/16/2011 10:53:26 AM , Rating: 3
The original quote was 50% faster than i7-950.

Never trust Chinese whispers. ;)


RE: Good article except for the drama
By Einy0 on 2/16/2011 10:59:23 AM , Rating: 2
Where did you see AMD PR make that claim? Maybe AMD PR said in X type of system load we beleive we'll have a 50% performance advantage. Perhaps AMD said Bulldozer will have a 50% performance advantage per dollar spent on the CPU. I think after the K10 issue(TLB error & much lower performance than expected.) AMD has calmed down about big claims.


By CrazyBernie on 2/17/2011 11:14:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes they did, according to the article:

Actually, there's an "and" that cuts the two claims in half. So no... it doesn't with 100% confidence answer the question.

quote:
But he claims it will blow away the competition in the amount of time the phone can remain active and how fast it can perform processing.


"Remaining active" and "Drain under load" are two different beasts.


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