Battery Life

Nailing performance is one thing, but in order to really sell Medfield and other upcoming SoCs to OEMs, Intel has to deliver battery life and power consumption that's competitive. It's about performance/power in the SoC space. First, it's worthwhile to note that the X900 includes a relatively small battery, at just 5.4 Whr. Of late, batteries over 6 Whr seems like the norm, and I'm told that future designs including the Motorola phone will probably include larger ones. It's just good to have that frame of reference and this chart should help:

Battery Capacity

Intel notes battery life in their own X900 announcement blast as being around 5 hours of continuous 3G browsing and 8 hours of talk time. Our own numbers end up being pretty darn close, at 4.6 hours and 8.5 hours for those two metrics, respectively. 

As a reminder, the browsing tests happen at 200 nits and consist of a few dozen pages loaded endlessly over WCDMA or WiFi (depending on the test) until the phone powers off. The WiFi hotspot tethering test consists of a single attached client streaming 128 kbps MP3 audio and loading four tabs of the page loading test through the handset over WCDMA with the display off. 

Web Browsing (Cellular 3G - EVDO or WCDMA)

As a smartphone the X900 does a bit below average here, but as we mentioned it also has an unusually small battery for a modern flagship Android smartphone. If we divide battery life by battery capacity, we can get a better idea for how the Medfield platform compares to the competition:

Normalized Battery Life - Web Browsing (Cellular 3G)

Normalizing for battery capacity, the X900 actually does a bit above average. In other words, the Medfield platform appears to be just as power efficient as some of the newer OMAP 4 based smartphones.

On WiFi the situation is no different:

Web Browsing (WiFi)

Again we see reasonable numbers for the X900 but nothing stellar. The good news is that the whole x86 can't be power efficient argument appears to be completely debunked with the release of a single device. To move up in the charts however, Intel needs to outfit its reference design with a bigger battery - something I've heard is coming with the Z2580's FFRD. The normalized results put the X900 at the middle of the pack:

Normalized Battery Life - Web Browsing (WiFi)

We see similar results in our talk time and 3G hotspot tests:

Cellular Talk Time

Normalized Battery Life - Cellular Talk Time

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (3G)

Normalized Battery Life - WiFi Hotspot (3G)

GPU Performance Camera - Stills and Video
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  • superPC - Thursday, April 26, 2012 - link

    Well this atom only has 1/4 of conroe dual core transistor count right now. a move to 22nm could bring conroe level performance. Reply
  • Khato - Thursday, April 26, 2012 - link

    Remember, conroe class performance simply indicates a general IPC level. I don't expect something on par with an E8600, more like a SU9600. It's quite feasible on the 22nm LP process, and actually is roughly in-line with the one Atom performance roadmap from awhile ago. Reply
  • extide - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    That wont be happening for a while, but from what I have heard 2013 will bring us a second gen (out-of-order) atom on a mature 22nm process. We should see 2Ghz+ clockspeeds and 2 cores, plus a healthy IPC boost. This is going to be an exciting battle to watch, the old Intel vs AMD gig is kind of stale, so its awesome to see a real challenge for Intel again! Reply
  • A5 - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    ULV Haswell will have a TDP an order of magnitude too high for a phone form factor. Tablets, maybe. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    "We waited years for Intel's first smartphone, now the question is how long do we have to wait for the first irresistable one?"

    It wont matter. Intel will dump millions into advertising, and every single phone maker will have ads for their new x86 phones, ending with the usual Intel chorus.
    Reply
  • dougys - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    I read somewhere else a few weeks back that the iPhone 5 could have Intel Inside. However, something else I read suggested that if they were to do this all the apps would have to be re-written... Does anyone have any thoughts/insight? Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Apple has a few architecture changes under its belt, but I very much doubt it, not for this chip. Apple bought chip design companies and spends more on internal chip design year after year for good reason.

    Not sure about iOS compatibility but this chip can run any Android apps just fine as the article points out through binary translation, I think Android apps use Java and iOS uses C++ though so I'm not sure if that would still work.

    If Apple was to go to an outside design for its chips (which I highly doubt it will) I'd hope it would be for Qualcomm, Krait is amazing.
    Reply
  • dcollins - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Apple will not move to an Intel chip anytime soon because they have been very successful in designing their own SoC. Just look at the battery life benchmarks: Apple crushes everyone in Hours/Watt*Hour. Plus, doing it in house gives them more flexibility on the overall design of their boards.

    There is a small chance of Intel manufacturing chips for Apple, but that is a long shot as well. Chips manufactured on Intel's 22nm 3d gate process would be incompatible with chips produced on competing 28nm processes (different physical size) and Apple is traditionally opposed to single sourcing crucial components.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Why does the GN get worse flash performance than the Nexus S and even Nexus One? That isn't a resolution dependant test, right?

    I'm also curious why the dual core Atrix barely does better than the single core Nexus S in Vellamo, was that just a bad SoC design or is it because it runs an older OS?
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    I also just got 915 on my Nexus S rather than 622, but I'm using an unofficial Cyanogenmod 9 build from XDA forums. Reply

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