Intel closes the power consumption gap on ARM


The smartphone market is conquered by ARM processors. Majority of handheld devices out there make use of ARM processor. As we all know, Intel is the world leader in semiconductor processors for laptops and desktops, but the same hasn’t been the case in handheld device segment, mostly due to the power consumption and heat dissipation issues. Hand held devices are supposed to be small, and that means the processor should be designed in such a way that it gives optimal performance which consuming less power and as a result dissipate less heat.

Intel does have the R&D capable of developing such kind of processors and it is working hard towards attaining its aim of eventually conquering the smartphone sector someday. Intel is broadening its x86 architecture to reach the mobile world. The company is making all sorts of efforts to get popular in the smartphone industry, and they have launched 2 Intel powered devices till now. The first one was the Intel Atom Medfield based Intel AZ210 which was sold in various countries by the name of Xolo X900 and Orange San Diego. The device packed in a 1.6 GHz processor, and the second Intel smartphone was from Motorola, called as Motorola Razr I, and this device packed in a 2 GHz Intel Atom processor. 2 GHz is very impressive, in fact it was the first time that a phone had packed such a powerful single-core chip and also first Intel powered Motorola.

Months have passed and after several months of R&D, Intel is back with latest Atom chip designed for mobile operations. The thing about Intel Atom chips is that they have the performance advantage and all they have to tackle is the power consumption level, and that’s exactly what the company is working hard on. An Intel engineer visited AnandTech along with two widely available devices, a Dell XPS 10 tablet based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 with Krait (dual-core, 28nm), and a Nexus 10 running on Cortex A15-based Exynos 5 Dual chip (dual-core, 32nm). The engineer proved that Intel was indeed working day and night and has finally sorted out the power consumption issue. The two devices were compared against Intel’s own solution, the Atom Z2760, and the conclusion is in Intel’s favor.
As we know, Intel’s Atom architecture is a 5 year old architecture. Despite its age, the Atom is significantly faster than Krait, but when it comes to power consumption, Atom’s figures are in par with Krait’s figures. Intel is going to refresh its Atom processors with 22nm core soon, after which things will start getting interesting.

When the Atom Z2760 is compared with Cortex A15, Atom loses in the performance arena. Again, Cortex A15 is a very good performer, but very bad in power consumption, in fact it is not meant to deliver its full potential in smartphones due to its power hungry nature. ARM suggests manufacturers to use the big.little configuration, which uses A15 and A7 cores adjacently.

Do you think Intel will be able to conquer smartphone field?

Source: AnandTech