Intel Claims It's Already Beaten ARM Without Shipping a Single Phone Chip
February 15, 2011 12:20 PM
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Despite never being battle tested, Intel claims its smart phone processors will be the most powerful on the planet.
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
, will only
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 [
] 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
. 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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2/15/2011 3:40:34 PM
And never mind that ARM is built at the same process node as its upcoming Atom-based cores.
Intel still has quite a lead in process tech. Medfield is/will be produced on 32nm. ARM isn't "built at" any specific process node. They are probably still being fabbed from 90nm+ all the way down to the latest 40nm. TSMC and GloFo's 28nm bulk (closest comparable to Intel's 32nm) won't even be ready until later this year, let alone have any product available.
I doubt x86 will wtfpwn arm in the near future, but as others have said with each process shrink the differences between cisc and risc instruction sets shrinks as well. Eventually (if we get that far) the differences will be next to negligible.
2/16/2011 11:43:41 AM
According to industry sources IBM, Global Foundries, Samsung and others in the IBM Technology Alliance are sampling 28nm chips for production within the quarter. TSMC is supposedly not far behind.( Note: TSMC should join the IBM fab club lol... )
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