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  • guilmon19 - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2011/5/19/the...

    brightside actually does a very nice benchmark and analysis on the memory bandwith problem that arm has.
    Reply
  • Exophase - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    That was with an old i.MX51. The situation is different with newer Cortex-A9 SoCs, especially where the SoC designer didn't botch the main memory latency. Reply
  • grrrrr - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    intel = FAKEEEEEE
    BOOOOOOO
    Reply
  • Hector2 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    grow up Reply
  • shaolin95 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    what an awesome comment...what are you 5? Reply
  • Stuka87 - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Shouldn't that be "FAAAAAAKE" as the 'e' is silent. So extending the 'e' out like that has no change on the sound of the word.

    If you are going to troll, at least do it properly.
    Reply
  • chiddy - Sunday, January 15, 2012 - link

    +1 Reply
  • Morg. - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    ARM's memory problem ???

    Year-old 40+nm parts are slightly slower than brand new Intel 32nm ?

    yes arm has a memory problem indeed ..

    the real market situation for medfield will probably be a LOT different and as usual Intel will still get some market space thanks to murky deals and stuff :p
    Reply
  • guilmon14 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I wasn't trying to dis ARM what i meant to show, with the link, is that ARM A8 cpu performance would be just as, if not more, then the current atom if it had similar memory performance. Reply
  • blazermaniac - Saturday, January 14, 2012 - link

    murky deals...? Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Yea dont tell us you have never heard of intel anti competitive practises?? hell they have already been fined billions of $ for it. Reply
  • jaffa62 - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - link

    Typical smartphone malware leverages platform vulnerabilities that allow it to gain root access on the device in the background. Using this access the malware installs additional software to target communications, location, or other personal identifying information. Thanks.
    Regards,
    http://www.scottsdale-azsearchforhomes.com/scottsd...
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    So Intel has switched from the DirectX compliant SGX535 to the OpenGL ES only SGX540? Does this mean they have no plans to support Windows Phone or Windows with Medfield?

    In regards to the memory interface, many Cortex A9 implementations include a 64-bit memory controller just like Medfield. If Intel is saying Cortex A9 is still memory bandwidth limited does that mean that ARM memory controllers are currently inefficient? Would increasing L2 cache from the current 512KB per core Cortex A9 implementations be an effective way to mitigate this?
    Reply
  • guilmon19 - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    " Atom can support far more outstanding misses in L2 than the Cortex A9, which chokes bandwidth to the processor for anything not already in the L2 cache."

    It looks like its cache that is the problem and its more of a controller problem then the size of the cache itself, but increase the size of the cache would help, but it wouldn't be the most efficient solution.
    Reply
  • wumpus - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    The article implies that the core somehow handles it. Claiming that an in-order CPU can handle cache misses better than an out-of-order one has to be wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if the intel cache/memory controller is sufficiently better to cause these results. Reply
  • Exophase - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Those in-flight memory requests that miss L2 wouldn't be coming from the CPU instructions themselves but the hardware prefetcher. So being in-order doesn't stop it from making requests. Plus it has SMT.

    It wouldn't surprise me if Atom's auto prefetcher is better than Cortex-A9's. Intel has a lot more experience with them, this is the first one ARM has done. It also goes directly into L1 cache, while Cortex-A9's just goes into L2 (the core gives prefetch hints to the L2 controller), but it can load into L1 directly with manual prefetch instructions.

    You can see some comparisons here:

    http://www.7-cpu.com/cpu/Cortex-A9.html
    http://www.7-cpu.com/cpu/Atom.html

    L2 latency is higher on A9 due to being less tightly coupled and shared between two cores. Somewhat mitigated by being OoO and (usually) having more of it. L2 bandwidth is comparable. Other latencies are also comparable. Effective read bandwidth is a lot higher on Atom, while effective write bandwidth higher on this A9. I'm sure the former highlights the differences in L2 misses in flight Intel is talking about, while the latter highlights differences in store queue depth.

    I doubt bandwidth is going to be a key player for most benchmarks or you'd see Exynos and OMAP4 have a big advantage over Tegra 2 (it doesn't), not to say that it doesn't matter for GPU performance.
    Reply
  • milli - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    SGX535 = DX 9.0c
    SGX540 = DX 10.1

    A CPU still needs to be able to take advantage of the available memory bandwidth (through technologies like prefetching, ...). A good example can be found in the desktop space between Intel and AMD, where Intel CPU's have much higher memory bandwidth (while both have similar theoretical bandwidth).
    While increasing the L2 cache on an A9 SOC would mitigate this to some extend, don't expect wonders. It's also not very realistic ATM to have more than 1MB cache in a mobile SOC.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    The SGX540 does not have DirectX support. In the Series5/5XT line, the DX compliant cores are:

    SGX535: DX9.0c
    SGX544/554: DX9 level 3
    SGX545: DX10.1

    The SGX520/530/531/540/543 only support OpenGL ES 2.0 and not full DX compliance.
    Reply
  • milli - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    It seems you're right. Wikipedia is wrong about this. Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    And it doesn't matter since the SoC's or rather CPU's aimed at Windows x86/64 tablets and Windows appliances does have SGX545. Windows 8 and Windows Phone (CE based) are two totally different OS's any way and Windows Phone is having a hard time just to support Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 and S2. I don't want to run Windows 8 Ribbon/MFC/WPF software on a phone platform neither do you. Microsoft won't support Windows Phone on x86. Microsoft won't support Windows 8 on this.

    They will as in Microsoft on Cedar Trail-M if PowerVR and Intel which have to ship them ever get their poor Windows drivers working. PowerVR/ImgTec aren't known for their Windows driver quality.

    In a tablet and even tablet-PC (which Microsoft is still going for) it's mostly the screen that uses power. It doesn't matter if the cpu and chipset uses the 5W TDP plus 2.1W TDP it's still more power efficient then anything else running Windows (NT). It's just a few watts and a screen that will use just as much if not more power. In a phone on the other hand you can't have massive batteries and screens.

    Intel is aiming the SoC towards Android handsets and tablets i.e. pads not tablet-pcs. They don't list DX support or even Windows Embedded support. Neither does it support more then 1GB of ram. It's built to interface with modem (baseband), LPDDR2, HDMI, MIPI-DSI, USB Phy, eMMC, with camera modules not with ordinary PC hardware topology of DDR3, PCI-e, LVDS/eDP, South bridge chipsets containing basic I/O. As well as support for USB, ethernet, SATA and whatnot in the SB. Memory will come included in the package too. Simply another platform.

    Not for powering Office 2010 and Visual Studio 2012. Look for other chips there.
    Reply
  • MySchizoBuddy - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    This would be very interesting if it is launched TODAY not end of year. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Yeah, that's why I'm wondering how it will perform against chips its actually going to compete with, namely Cortex A15 designs. The gap here is pretty big, but not insurmountable I think, and the A15 looks promising as well. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Colour me impressed! This looks like it will be a rather disruptive SoC, especially with ARM Binary Translation. The nice thing is its a single core so developers don't have to optimize for two or four cores to get maximum performance. Although, I wonder if something like the quad core Tegra 3 would be able to best its performance if everything was more optimized for multicore? And more importantly, how will it fare against Cortex A15 designs. But, yeah, I'm excited for this, even more so for the variant with the 543MP2. Reply
  • Morg. - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    ARM binary translation will be slow ... like real slow.

    It's like a VM but on a different arch.

    The tegra3 is just slightly slower .. on 40nm

    Against A9 on the same process, ARM wins, against A15 ARM butchers.. nothing really different in the end - just that Intel can only count on process advantage to keep more or less in the race (so far).
    Reply
  • milli - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Jason, yes I'm talking to you Jason Mick: oh how much you look like a fool now. Many people (including me) tried to warn you about your wrong article. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Wrong site, foo. Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    I was thinking about that the entire time I was reading this. Reply
  • bji - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    What are you guys talking about? Reply
  • mikeepu - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    At first i thought the same thing as DigitalFreak, but i thought about it and went back to Jason Mick's article last month http://tinyurl.com/JasonMicksMedfieldArticle and found your comment. Yes. Yes, you did. Reply
  • hechacker1 - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    What's impressive to me is the fact that you have an Atom, which powers generations of netbooks, running as a SoC using only milliwatts of power most of the time.

    I'd love to see a tablet/netbook version with a huge battery that could run for the better part of a day.

    It would even do really well as a media server/HTPC if only it had I/O bandwidth for hard disks and HDMI outputs with surround sound.
    Reply
  • aNYthing24 - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Not really all that impressed. By the time it's out, you'll start seeing phones ARM Cortex-A15 based SoCs which are about 40-50% faster than Cortex-A9 based SoCs. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I'm still on the naysayer's side, too. The SOC market isn't as slow to develop as x86. We've seen rapid improvements over the course of the last 4 years. Where the next generation of x86 may get you 15% more performance (if you can even utilize it all), SOC's are gaining in relative leaps and bounds, and the improved performance is quite noticeable. I went from an iPhone3G to an iPhone4, and every aspect of performance was clearly better. Everything loads faster, you can "multitask" and take better pictures and HD video, and the battery life is still better. That was in 3 years time. 3 years from now looks to be just as positive. That means Intel has the tougher road. It took them 5 long years to get Atom DOWN to sub 1W TDP and into a phone, while ARM SOCs have always been working inside this power design.

    That said, I sure as heck hope this doesn't fowl up Android Market any further. I've said it before, App compatibility is already not a given due to OS version fragmentation. Adding x86 will just require more effort on the developer's part, which might doom Intel's early chances anyway.

    Rest assured, Intel will dump billions into this and not go away. They can't afford to miss out on this market. I wonder when AMD will figure that one out...
    Reply
  • yvizel - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Clearly shows how little do you know... WOW. Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    He may know little, whereas you know NOTHING.

    Back under your rock, peanut.
    Reply
  • stadisticado - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I gotta say...I really disagree with your assessment. ARM SOCs have indeed improved a lot over the past few gens. However, that is largely due to moving to new nodes, going from single to double to quad core uarch and finally in moving up the ladder on ARM architectures. Now, Intel is jumping in here, let's assess along these vectors:

    I don't think anyone is arguing Intel has process leadership, perhaps not in SOC, but at least their 32nm node is competing directly with TSMC 28nm.

    As for the core wars, I predict Intel goes the route they go in laptops: dual core with HT is the right balance of perf/power for most applications. That said, I guarantee we see quad cores with HT for tablets in 2013 on 22nm.

    The uarch question is yet to be answered. Ultimately we'll have to see how A15 stacks up against this single core Saltwell and the dual core that's coming in the Clovertrail platform.
    Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    What Intel naysayers (at least the ones that aren't twelve years old) say is that x86 complexity puts SEVERE constraints on how fast Intel can spin these chips around. It took something like 7 years for Nehalem to move from initial design to fully validated and ready to ship.

    Now, in the "traditional" x86 space, this has not been that much of a problem for Intel for a while because they run so much design in parallel, so that each team has its new CPU ready each year. Even so it does occasionally cause problems when Intel misjudges where things will be in the future and misses a feature for a few years. The most obvious example of this was x86-64, but we saw it again regarding moving the memory controller on-die, and regarding how powerful users expect on-chip GPUs to be.

    So, when it comes to Atom:
    (a) do they have multiple design teams in place, so that we can now expect a steady rate of serious improvement every year. Or is this the fruit of their one major design team, and we can expect it to stand still, apart from minor tweaks, for the next three years or so?
    (b) are they willing to modify the SOC as requested by different vendors, to improve power or reduce size? What if I want a custom flash controller on the SOC or a better than average camera processor? Maybe this doesn't matter --- but maybe it does. I think honestly none of us know. What we DO know is that the phone market is different from the old-school PC market. Unlike old school PCs, size (fewer parts) and power (better integrated parts) matter a huge amount, which gives an advantage to CPU vendors who are willing to tailor their SOCs to include anything extra the manufacturer wants, while tossing anything they don't want.

    Finally: "ARM SOCs have indeed improved a lot over the past few gens. However, that is largely due to moving to new nodes, going from single to double to quad core uarch and finally in moving up the ladder on ARM architectures. Now, Intel is jumping in here, let's assess along these vectors:"
    This process (for ARM) has not stopped. ARM-64 is a COMPLETELY new architecture, optimized for power and performance based on everything ARM has learned over the past few years, and tossing various components of the architecture that no longer make sense. ARM-64 devices plan (as far as I know) to be compatible, during the brief period that is necessary, to have a separate ARM-32 core on die to handle ARM-32 binaries --- no crippling of either the ARM-64 architecture or the core design in order to allow 32-bit binaries to still work with it.

    The point is that ARM is both improving their underlying architecture aggressively, AND that they are doing everything they can to ensure that they can remain nimble and easily able to spin out new cores with new ideas as the market evolves. Compare with Intel and their 7 year design cycles...
    Reply
  • stadisticado - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    On the 7 year design cycle: How long ago did ARM Holdings start RnD on A15? Whats the cycle time for that product to go from scratch to inside a product? That 7 year cycle you're quoting is literally from the first time the name showed up in a design document to ship, which I don't feel is a good comparative metric, especially for SoCs which share multiple common blocks across gens.

    Does Intel have more design teams on Atom? No idea - but looking at the roadmap they have Atom on they basically have to. One team is not capable of spinning Medfield and pushing the 22nm Atom out the door next year and then 14nm the year after.

    Basically you're stipulating that ARM is inherently faster than Intel in this space. Its yet to be demonstrated but I'm stipulating that is going to turn out to be a bad assumption.
    Reply
  • PubFiction - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Intel did not have a good dedication to atom but they are now getting there. So ARM obviously had the advantage before. Intel considered Atom second rate stuff to put on old nodes.

    Also while the design of a full desktop CPU is long from start to finish I do not think it has anything to do with x86. It is more about just competing at the highest end. Itanium was no walk in the park. And so far no other architecture has beat x86. At the very least it still takes anyone else a long time to design chips.

    The reason ARM moves faster is their chips are so much more simple. And atom is moving in that direction.

    Intel is a scary competitor for anyone in any processor space. Once they dedicate to something it will get competitive. Does not mean they will win, but if these chips have this performance and actually do ship this year it they may not beat A15 but they will be good enough to stick in phones. And that is the start intel needs.
    Reply
  • zeo - Saturday, January 14, 2012 - link

    Yes, Intel had the ATOM on a slow 5 year product cycle but now they are switching it to a 2 year cycle for similar rate of advancement as Intel's higher end chip offerings.

    The 22nm Silvermont update coming out in 2013 will be when the switch is official and we can start expecting the usual year by year tic toc of advancement.

    For example, Silvermont is more than just another die shrink but also the first major architectural change for the ATOM. Like Out Of Order Processing, as well as adding new technology like Intel's Tri-Gate Transistors.

    Intel ATOMs also will be supporting a range of 1 to 8 cores. The 8 core version presently being focused for the server market, but it's likely Intel will leverage multiple cores for most of their intended product lines.

    Cedar Trail is for example dual core for both the high end and low end chip versions.

    While the Clover Trail and Medfield shows Intel is making progress of SoC and improving power efficiency to be at least good enough to start competing in the mobile market.

    Though we still have to see if Intel can be price competitive and Intel will likely need to offer even better performance than ARM can offer with their next gen offerings to start to really expand into the mobile market. So Intel has a lot riding on coming through in 2013.
    Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I agree with what you are saying, Intel is not competitive in the smartphone space...yet.. but they sure as hell will be within 18 months, this was just about getting a foot in the door..which lets be honest they tried before with moorestown..they even said similar things too, manufacturer tie ups?..remember LG!?

    But i get the feeling that had this been released mid last year it would have been competitive, but when released this year it will be old news.

    I wouldn't take these Intel marketed benchmarks provided by anand too literally, they aren't better than current designs, but with silvermont followed by that steam train like 'tic tock' strategy they will have something to put the wind up ARM shareholders...
    Reply
  • Hector2 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I think everyone expected Medfield to perform well but the low power is surprising. But not you, eh ? One of those "glass is half empty" kind of guys are you ? Next up for Intel is the next gen 22nm that not only is faster & smaller than 32nm Medfield but has even lower active power and a 10X-20X standby power improvement due to having FinFET transistors. 22nm hits shelves in 2nd quarter for PCs but doesn't get into SoCs until 2013. Reply
  • Exophase - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Look at the data for the two tests you ran (that aligns perfectly with the only two tests Intel wants to report on, I might add!) - you see that the Galaxy Nexus does drastically better than the Galaxy SII despite having a very similar CPU arrangement. That should be a massive red flag that this test is right now more about software maturity than uarch, yet you use it to draw sweeping conclusions about uarch.

    These tests are about javascript. Javascript performance, while important, hardly dominates software usage on mobile platforms, nor is it representative of other programs. For one thing, it's JITed code and browser developers have spent a lot more time optimizing for x86 than ARM, while other platforms (GCC, Dalvik) are less slanted. For another thing, Javascript is double-precision float oriented, which isn't even remotely a standard nor useful programming paradigm for everything else that runs on phones.

    All I can say is that you need to do some real benchmarks before you make the conclusions you have, and not just parrot the highly skewed selection Intel has given. That is, if you don't want to come off as Intel sponsored.
    Reply
  • chuckula - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Uh... Android (which is what Intel is running) has been optimized for ARM all the way back to version 1.0. To come out now and complain that x86 is getting "unfair" software optimization advantages in its very first release before there has been much opportunity at all to do *any* real optimizations is really stretching things.
    If ARM wants more optimizations, it can contribute source code updates to GCC (it's open source after all).
    Reply
  • Exophase - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Maybe you don't understand my post. These tests are JAVASCRIPT BENCHMARKS. Android optimization barely plays into it: what we're going to be looking at is Chrome optimization. You know what also doesn't play into it? GCC. The Javascript VM in the browser performs its own compilation, and JITs especially have really long development paths. I guess you missed what I said about the comparison of two different Android platforms, which shows that this is clearly an area where ARM performance is highly in flux and therefore immature and not representative.

    Regardless of whether or not you understand why this isn't a good test, you should at least understand that running only two benchmarks - two benchmarks that fall under the same category, no less - is a really pitiful way to draw conclusions about uarch. If anyone tried to pull this with an Intel or AMD desktop CPU they'd be immolated.
    Reply
  • chuckula - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    You want a wide range of benchmarks between a dual-core Cortex A9 and (older than Medfield) single core Atoms? Go here: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&...

    The brand-new Omap chip manages to win one real benchmark (C-ray) by 10%, a couple of synthetic cache benchmarks, and loses everything else to single-core Atoms that are actually slower than Medfield.

    The benchmarks that Anandtech posted are *extremely* representative of what most people are doing on their phones most of the time. If you want performance numbers for "pure" applications, look at the Phoronix article.

    The Dalvik JVM from Google has been optimized to run on ARM from day one. When I mentioned GCC, I was talking about the compiler used to COMPILE the Dalvik JVM (you do know the JVM isn't written in Java, right?). Dalvik is NOT the same JVM that you get from Sun/Oracle that (might) be more optimized for x86 than for ARM. In fact, Dalvik is a register-based VM while J2SE is a stack based VM, and Oracle has sued Google over it since Google lifted the Java interfaces but ditched the rest of the VM. Dalvik was only at beta-level operability with x86 during Honeycomb, and ICS is the first version to really work 100% with x86, but there's no rule saying that there couldn't be more optimizations for x86 based systems.

    ARM has had *plenty* of time to work with GCC, Google, and anyone else who is needed to get optimizations introduced into Android. If it takes Intel entering the market to finally spur ARM into action, then I say it's about time this market got some real competition.
    Reply
  • mczak - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    I'm not convinced actually those older atoms shown in the phoronix article are really slower than Medfield. I don't think IPC of Medfield is really any higher, and even if it is (slightly) Medfield can only turbo up to 1.6Ghz (so might not run all the time at that frequency potentially) whereas those other atoms all run at 1.6Ghz. Memory bandwidth could also be potentially higher there. Not that it would change things much. Reply
  • Exophase - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    It might have more memory bandwidth than an N270 IF paired with faster than 533MHz DDR2/3.. which I doubt you'll see in a phone. So I expect it to be pretty similar to the Z530's, all told.

    Clock for clock Medfield's CPU core sounds like it's a little faster due to some tweaks, but it all looks very minor. I'd be surprised if it improved anything by more than a few percent at most.
    Reply
  • Exophase - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Right, now compare those numbers with this:

    http://openbenchmarking.org/result/1201051-AR-1112...

    And this:

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&...

    And the only sane conclusion is that Pandaboard ES is or the testing performed on it is critically broken. Now rethink your post.

    Try your post again with those things in mind. And don't make me repeat myself any further, Javascript doesn't run on Dalvik, it runs on a Javascript VM. Do you seriously not understand this simple concept? Do you not understand how a purely web based language is not representative of - oh I don't know - apps that are running Java or C/C++ code?
    Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I have to say i am shocked to see those numbers, so much so i do wander about the validity of them as exophase has pointed out, especially since that 'fake' DX11 ivy bridge demo.

    Regarding the benchmarks, they are single thread right? so in actual fact you are comparing a 1.2ghz cortexa9 v 1.66ghz atom on different software and different process? i suspect that all things being equal the number would be very similar.
    I take from the pandaboard tests exactly the same thing, that all clock speeds being equal that clock for clock atom is on par with cortex a9.

    BUT that doesnt tell the whole story does it?..multi threaded apps including multiple tabbed web browsing..how would the atom fair against a duel core a9 clocked at 1.66ghz?

    Its the power consumtion estimates that are the real suprise here..really? im under the impression that multicore SOCs spread the load across multiple cores to reduce power, and that arm had the power consumption 'in the bag' due to the complexity of x86 cisc v ARM risk.
    The die area is also rather shocking, i thought it would be substantially bigger than that.

    Whilst these numbers will give ARM vendors food for thought, lets not get ahead of our selfs just yet, Medfield is comparable to tegra 2 class designs(all things equal)
    Krait, Cortex A-15 designs will be apon us by the time this launches..again on 28nm and 32nm designs...that should completely smoke this into oblivion.

    The real worrying thing is not about this year its next year, if they can match a exynos 4210 when many thought they didnt have a chance..then silvermont on 22nm FINfet will be scary for arm, since they have already convinced Motorolla to sign a multi year deal and they have billions and billions to chuck around..i would be worried if i was an investor with ARM.
    Reply
  • Hector2 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    So you doubt Anand's power measurements too ?

    As for the DX11 demo, Intel's VP showed very poor judgement running a video when they had trouble getting the demo out in time -- that's a major screw up, but Anand showed that the hardware actually works in spite of the screwed up demo.
    Reply
  • french toast - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    No i dont doubt Anands Integrity or his benchmarks, i have just questioned his optimistic assuptions on un proven Intel hardware, especially when Intel produced the scope and the power benchmarks.

    All of which compare last years hardware, all the Intel sorced benches are single threaded and are likely due to Intel software optimisations, and lastly because the atom is higher clocked.
    The benches as exophase has pointed out are on things that the cpu is not loaded/stressed.

    Its great he has provided us with an insight, but this in no way proves that this architecture is the best nor does it prove that it would have 'dominated' android devices last year for a whole number of reasons that i cant be bothered to re-type.

    Anand has jumped the gun on his conclusions thats all im saying
    Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Time for the haters to eat their words, and the ARM supporters to admit they were wrong.

    On the forums there were enough self-proclaimed "experts" that claimed Intel was doomed and that ARM would take over. Well who's laughing now? Here we see an Atom SoC, that has power characteristics EQUAL or BETTER THAN ARM SoCs, while posting very strong performance as well. This is keeping in mind that it is just the first step for Intel in the smartphone market.

    ARM supporters are already claiming that Medfield only looks good because it's being compared to year-old ARM designs. But guess what, the Atom design is 5 years old! Yes, this is a new SoC for Intel, but the fact is Intel must be given HUGE credit that they were able to make an SoC based on the 5-year old Atom design that is extremely competitive in power and performance to ARM SoCs.

    Next-gen ARM designs will arrive later this year yes, but Intel will not stand still either. Also lets not forget about the next-gen Atom that will come in 2013 on the 22nm process. That will be a HUGE leap forward for Intel and will put them in an extremely competitive position against any quad-core ARM SoCs.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    You want a cookie or something? No-one cares about your fanboy rant. Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Obviously you cared enough to login, and make a useless, childish post devoid of anything meaningful, instead of actually replying to what I had posted.

    Great job at proving yourself wrong.
    Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Dude, the reason he is (justifiably) mocking you is that you are comparing ARM silicon that is shipping TODAY with Intel silicon that will be shipping in a YEAR.

    That's how it works among adults --- you compare shipping with shipping, not what I plan to ship (one day) with what you plan to ship (one day).
    Reply
  • guilmon19 - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Except that Medfield is built on a 32nm process while ALL available A9s out there are built on the 45nm process. If the A9's were 32nm as well these benchmarks would be very different and these benchmarks came straight from intel, lets way wait till we actually get the phone and do benchmarks from there to determine which one is better. Reply
  • madmilk - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Doesn't matter than Medfield is 32nm, by the time anyone else makes a 32nm SoC Intel will be on 22nm.

    It's a massive advantage that can't just be thrown away, especially if trying to make a fair comparison.
    Reply
  • Exophase - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Hardly, TSMC 28nm ARM processors are right around the corner while 22nm Atoms won't hit until 2013. Intel's doesn't yet have the same process advantage with their LP SoC nodes. Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Your point being? Even looking at TSMC's 28nm process, Intel will still have quite an advantage with their 22nm process. ARM will only have an advantage for a few quarters with the 28nm process, then Intel will come out with their 22nm process. You also fail to acknowledge that Atom on 22nm (Silvermont) will a brand new Atom architecture, which you can bet will be a HUGE leap forward in performance and power efficiency.

    TSMC is well known for having lots of trouble moving to new a process. Exophase, you should rephrase "right around the corner" to say in 1-2 quarters at the very least. It will still be a few months before we see any 28nm ARM phones actually on the market.

    Intel has aligned their mobile and desktop process roadmaps, so all future Atoms will move to a new process node as fast as Intel's desktop chips.

    Intel will also have a technological advantage as their 22nm process introduces FinFET, while TSMC won't have FinFET until their 14nm process.

    Furthermore, Intel intends to introduce 14nm in 2013/2014, while TSMC won't introduce 14nm until 2015.

    Intel was really slow getting into the smartphone market, but now that they have their foot in the door, they will not let off the gas. Intel's efforts in the smartphone market will only accelerate from this point. Intel will attack ARM directly at the low-end power scale in this case, and ARM will struggle greatly at the high end as Intel's Haswell will offer revolutionary power/performance ratios. That's not even mentioning what power/performance ratios we will see from the the next-gen Atom design.

    Also let me restate that this is Intel's *first step* into the smartphone market, and they are able to be very competitive with ARM designs.
    Reply
  • Exophase - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    ... my point being that by the time others have 28nm ARM SoCs - you know, in a couple months - Intel's 22nm Atom will still be a good year off, quite contrary to your original claim.. Did I actually need to type that?

    It's not 1-2 quarters, and we know this because we're seeing Transformer Prime TF202 with Krait, not to mention the release of AMD's Southern Islands which is also on TSMC's 28nm process.

    Of course it'll be a few months before we see Medfield phones on the market too: this article says Q2 for Chinese phones, which means 3+ months, and "by the end of the year" for something released from a decent global player. Not really uplifting schedules.

    Of course Intel certainly may gain a much bigger process lead with Atom on 22nm and beyond, but your original comment was just wrong. That's all I'm saying.
    Reply
  • Exophase - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Oh, and Intel's first step into the smartphone market was Moorestown. Just because almost no one used it doesn't mean that it wasn't an attempt and that we should congratulate Medfield as a first try. Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    ARM vendors will be RELEASING chips on 32nm HK and 28nm 4/months before Medfield hits anyware but China.

    The above tests are misleading, but desite that they are impressive as i thought they would be a lot further away than that.

    Medfield = tegra 2 class, you have to remember that the above chips are clocked alot lower than 1.66ghz and they are single thread benchmarks.
    regards to power consumption,as stated they are 45nm designs, when 28&32nm big_LITTLE arrives in a couple of months,with on die 4g, we are in another territory altogether.

    When silvermont arrives it will fair against 28nmHK QUAD CORE KRAITS running at 2.5ghz and above....cant see Intel smashing that, but long term if they can be competitive then they may win due to resouces.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Yeah I always found the comments on x86 phones hillarious because of the ARM loving going on. I mean, it is an instruction set. Stop being an instruction set fanboy people.

    I've said from the beginning that Intel is not a company to expect to lay down. They just have way too many smart people, money, and by far the best fab in the industry to expect them not to be able to compete.

    I'm no Intel fanboy (and certainly not x86 I mean who can love an instruction set) but they have been killing it in all sectors lately. Even their GPUs don't suck as bad as before.

    I am impressed.
    Reply
  • Hector2 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    even AMD doesn't whine about being at least a couple years behind Intel's process technology and that fact has hurt them big time. In the end, the consumer doesn't care "why" Intel has a strategic advantage with their technology it'll make them successful in smartphones Reply
  • tecknurd - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Dark_Archonis, Does not matter that the Medfield processor is based on 5 year old hardware design. ARM processors uses hardwired microcode while 80x86 processors uses software microcode. There is a difference how fast and how easy it is to design and optimize a processor with either of these ways. Intel can take a ten year old model and optimize the microcode while ARM will have to keep on designing new models in hardware to push out higher performing processors.

    The number one question, will the mobile industry take this processor even though software have to be rewritten. Sure Intel said that about 75% of Android apps can be used. Sure 90% of apps can be used if emulation is used. Mac users knows all to well that Rosetta slows down PowerPC software on an x86 processor because of the emulation.

    Now why can Intel can fix their five year old Atom processor to be crammed into a smartphone is most of Intel's money goes into R&D. ARM does not have that money to go into R&D. If ARM did, Intel will have a very, very serious competitor even though ARM is an engine that runs on a completely different fuel. So the comparison of the Medfield processor from Intel and ARM Cortex A9 is like comparing apples to oranges.

    ARM processors suits niche markets better than x86 processors. x86 processors suits a general purpose setup. This means Intel will have to be ready to make dramatic changes to Medfield to suit many different configurations. Intel's history for this type of business is poor or is not capable because of the tight control of the license. ARM succeeds in a market the requires many different changes thanks to its lighter control of the license. ARM processors are like lego blocks and x86 processors are like as-is.
    Reply
  • stadisticado - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I know what you're saying but I really feel you're wrong on one point and need clarification on another.

    First, assuming Intel or x86 processors are not built with a (lego) block architecture is a fallacy that needs to stop right now. There's no reason x86 processors and SOCs can't be built this way and Penwell is the first example of this. I think you'll see Intel reusing and sharing a whole lot more IP blocks internally up and down the vertical stack because of this move into phones/tablets.

    Second, its starting to get a little old always referring to ARM, especially how you do with respect to RnD. Its not ARM spending those dollars, its four or five discrete companies: Qualcomm, TI, nVidia, Samsung, etc. ARM sells licenses...it doesn't generally give a rip how many of its chips are sold unless the license fee is predicated on volume. Its up to the chip designers to compete with Intel, not ARM.
    Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Partly true, ARM does spend R&D of course, else there wouldn't be a Cortex/Mali reference design to buy..let alone any interconnects/future ISAs Reply
  • tecknurd - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    You did not read my comment correctly. I said that ARM processors are like legos while Intel or x86 is as-is. The problem with Intel's Medfield is Intel's business model. Their model is as-is, so companies that want to use this processor will have to add the components outside of this processor. In ARM case, the components can be added in the chip which does not take any space on the motherboard. When components are placed outside of the processor, the space that could have been a bigger battery will be taken up by additional components. The companies that will use the Medfield is smartphone and tablet brands like Lenovo and others.

    ARM makes the processor models while Qualcomm, TI, nVidia, Samsung, and others integrates them in their designs and with other technologies that these companies have created themselves. The companies that takes these processors and put them in their smartphones and tablets are LG, HTC, Nokia, ASUS, Samsung and others.

    IMHO, ARM based smartphones and tablets will be cheaper than Intel based because there is least amount of effort for designing ARM based versions. Sure you can keep on supporting and hoping that Intel looks good in the smartphones and tablets, but the as-is business model is going to hurt Intel.
    Reply
  • Exophase - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Only a few percent of instructions executed on Atom even use microcode at all. It's not so much that ARM CPUs use "hardwired microcode", it's more that they don't have instructions that are complex enough to merit microcode at all. There are a few that have some sequencing in the decoder, mainly the load/store multiple instructions, but their mapping is really straightforward; there isn't any real element of being able to "optimize" them in the same uarch.

    Most x86 instructions that are implemented as microcode on Atom are legacy instructions that made sense 30 years ago but don't today, either due to changes in software requirements (see BSD numeric instructions for a good example of this..) or changes in what is efficient to implement directly (see loop instruction). For a lot of these instructions you're better off doing it using simpler non-microcoded instructions. So Intel optimizing their microcode is worth mentioning (some of the instructions looked WAY slower than they should have been, going by Agner Fog's timings) but not really some massive competitive edge against ARM. It'll probably barely register as a change on any benchmarks. Hopefully Intel will make the optimizations available for the older Atoms too (the microcode can be soft-patched) and then you can see for yourself.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    How is "too little too late" going to help Intel? By the time products with this trash flock to market, it'll be up against A15 and look like the thing from yesteryear it really is.. Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    It was always only a matter of time before Intel get a x86 CPU with their superior manufacturing down to ARM SoC level.

    And since new science discovery is pushing Moores Law's Limit further and further away, intel has a much better fighting chance.

    The problem is how much does an Intel SoC cost compare to a reference design ARM made SoC in TSMC?
    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Come back in a year and ask again... thats when this hits the shelves. Reply
  • Computer Bottleneck - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Thank you for the article!

    Is there any chance we could see a teardown and analysis of the Intel Medfield reference design platform in the next 6 months?

    I think it would be very interesting to compare Intel's progress in chip integration over the next few years. (ie, Compare Medfield reference platform to Silvermont reference platform to Airmont reference platform, etc)
    Reply
  • jwcalla - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    I just got an ulcer thinking about how Android fragmentation is going to be taken to a whole new level.

    "There's already support for targeting both ARM and x86 architectures in the Android NDK so anything developed going forward should be ok so long as the developer is aware of x86."

    heh

    right

    That's sunshine and lollipops right there.

    It isn't enough to worry about 4,000 different CPUs and five active versions of the OS, but now we have to worry about two completely incompatible instruction sets too. All for the glory of producing apps that make no money on this platform. Suddenly iOS seems even more attractive.
    Reply
  • hechacker1 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    It's only niche apps that require specific machine code that won't work. Otherwise the interpreted bytecode should just work.

    It's similar to when Apple moved from PPC to x86. You just had to recompile the program with the new toolchain and it would create a universal binary. Except here, it isn't even necessary to recompile the majority of the time.

    If anything, with the introduction of Android 4.0, we will finally have a common base for phones, tablets, and the one or two smart TVs. Sure it will require an upgrade for most users stuck on older unsupported Android versions, but that will come with time.
    Reply
  • nofumble62 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    the difference now is all about peripheral and IO design. The ARM advantage has shrinken to almost zero. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Shrunken. Sorry. Reply
  • dealcorn - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    ARM earned it's dominance of the mobile space with affordable, superior power efficiency. Now, Intel waltz's in with a 5 year old design for a space it used to know nothing about and it has superior power efficiency. Is there some reason to think this is in any way not a replay of the old Intel vs RISC story?

    It is hard to take ARM seriously when Intel's old design from a period when it was generally clueless is superior to what ARM markets today. However, we would not be here without ARM's historic contribution. Also, the market for garage door openers is not going away.
    Reply
  • aury - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    "superior power efficiency"

    how is this chip superior, itt uses more power than Samsungs old A9 cortex, and Samsung's implementation isn't even the the most power efficient, let alone that the A9 is an old chip to begin with
    Reply
  • stadisticado - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I think dealcorn is being a bit hyperbolic. That said, even 'competitive' from Intel has to be a big warning sign for sellers of ARM chips. Reply
  • dealcorn - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I may be wrong and this will be measured by independent observers in due course, but I had no intent of being hyperbolic.
    If you look at the investor' chart on the first page of the article (where Anand says he knows who they are and what the power ratings are) Medfield ranks first in performance on all 3 tests. On economy it scores 2/6 twice and 3/6 once. When I look at how much they won by and how much they did not win by, my visual computer says "superior". Look at the pictures yourself and exercise your own judgment.
    Reply
  • aury - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    "intel did it"

    Uhm, you might like to show some side by side comparisons of that phone next to an actual phone instead of just the front.

    The phone is about twice as thick as a normal phone, it has actual heat disappating sections, which means the chip is likely much hotter than an A9.

    All the tests you show are the same ones intel shows on their CES pamflet, i.e. they are freaking useless, since they wouldn't put tests up there that didn't show them at an advantage.

    This is not "intel did it", not by a long shot.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    iPhone 4S thickness: 9.3mm, Medfield reference design thickness: 9.5mm.

    There's apparently a thinner version but I don't believe the form factor is the issue anymore.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • jjj - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I wouldn't trust Intel data but we'll see,waiting eagerly for real products and real tests,just wish you were more objective when it comes to Intel.
    The ref platform is rather fat and the battery smaller than what most high end smartphones have so i wouldn't call it sweet.
    The partnerships are ,hmm,rather interesting.Lenovo is not exactly a phone maker and while they might shift some volume in China they are not the ideal partner (and they can be payed off with some price cuts and marketing $). Moto AKA Google might have other reasons to do this. Samsung is starting to be too big and Intel competing in this space might slow them down somewhat and Google has no interest in not beeing present on x86 when they scale Android up so another favour after the Google TV deal would not be out of the question.Also with the Moto deal,Intel hurt Nvidia since they are the ones that got kicked out to make room for Intel.
    At least ,if the numbers are even somewhat close to reality they could have a good product on 22nm.
    Reply
  • aury - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    What people also don't seem to understand is that Intel doesn't need something equal to ARM, it needs something better for anyone to turn an eye.

    Phone manufacturers control the whole supply line from A to Z when making a phone, it's not like PCs where different manufacturers control different supply line.

    Phone makers will not easily switch or change their supply lines, they are locked into huge deals and contracts and unless you offer them something with amazing benefits, they will not change.

    Intel offers nothing, they are high cost, they are way behind ARM in power efficiency, they ***** off Nvidia, they **** off qualcomm, they are a direct competitor to Samsung, and this chip is a joke if it will be released by the end of the year, that's why the only partner they have atm is lenovo, because it's a PC manufacturer.
    Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Actually Intel controls plenty and can offer a complete platform. That's more then Apple (Qualcomm and Intel Baseband) or Samsung (Qualcomm and others baseband modems regardless if it is their own Exynos SoC). Neither are they trying to win over Apple. All other manufacturers are totally free from building major hardware / silicon. That is LG, Sony (ex-SE which aren't using ST-E or former Ericsson basebands since a long time), Nokia, HTC, Huawei, ZTE, Motorola Mobility/Google, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Sharp, Panasonic, NEC, Pantech, Research In Motion and more has no semiconductor business connected to application or baseband processors today. That they don't offer SoC IP at foundry level won't matter much here. Neither are they unmovable on the parts. Specially not if they have a good reference platform and BSP/driver-package ready and working. They also have multiple hardware partners and Intel don't expect that to disappear. They were driving those players to ARM to begin with when they had their own architecture.

    Most turn to companies like TI, Qualcomm, Samsung (Application processor), Freescale, Nvidia (no baseband integration yet or any baseband platform) for chips. Most need to do more engineering then to buy a platform that is ready. It's certainly not PC's. Intel got thousands of ex-Infineon people building baseband and GPS chips and they know the business.
    Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Thers a big alliance already betweem japanese docomto and samsung, and a few other to develop in dies 4g modems. st erickson and qualcomm already provide this service and will be shipping actual phones with this tech inside this year..not 'sometime in 2013'.

    The reason why manufacturers have gone ARM is not only because they offer better performance and better power levels, they are also cheaper to produce and buy, they also have the option of a quick turn around for specialist designs, or they can design a processor to there own design.

    Either medfoeld is going to be sold break even, or its goig to be twice the cost of ARM designs, that are bith more powerfull and power efficient.
    Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    On-die baseband hasn't meant that much, regarding custom designs we can see that Apple hasn't gone that route. It hasn't made much sense to force everything into a single chip. It's a nice feature that often doesn't get implemented in actual products and ST-E and Qualcomm haven't and most will not have fully contained LTE-basebands integrated into their SoC this year. Still requires external hardware. You still require application processor, baseband processor, wifi chipset, bluetooth chipset, audio dac, nand memory, display ics, radio hardware (RF IC, RF transceiver) outside of the baseband processor and so on. At least on most Samsung, Freescale, TI, Nvidia and so on hardware. Intel can still put together and market a great single-chip LTE-baseband to compete. That they can't compete in the embedded space is a whole different thing. They are not strong in the automotive field to begin with so why would they try. For mobiles it's all about platform not synthesized IP-blocks. They are still a chip provider the same way as their competitors are when it comes to smart phones.

    NTT DoCoMos joint venture with Fujitsu, NEC, Samsung, Panasonic and Fujitsu semiconductor don't matter much here it's still a independent modem not an integrated one. Neither should they have much of chips to put out this year as it won't even form until March. Those modems can be used with any application processor. So can baseband modems from Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm, Altair, ST-Ericsson, Cavium, Sequans and many more.

    It is depending on much more how big and complex the actual platform is in a circuit board of a phone or tablet. Remember here that the Intel also has only PoP memory while most do external on board LPDDR(1/2). I'm sure it can be paired with hardware to make it no bigger then much of any competitors. Bom doesn't need to be several times of the competitors, I'm sure it isn't. Neither does it need to compete with none existing 2013 hardware. A SoC like this doesn't cost Intel many dollars to produce. It won't erase everything and outdo everybody but it is good enough for some of the major vendors to try it in some of their models (obviously Android handsets and Tablets).
    Reply
  • french toast - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Im sorry, although this isnt an area that i have a huge amount of knowlege on, i can say with some certainty that both Qualcomm and ST-E will have on die baseband shipping this year on 28nm, In qualcomms case the s4 processor that is being demoed with the Asus idea pad has one in.

    I can also say it has 2 main advantages that i know of (and likely many more that i dont)

    1) When put on die and using the same process as in qualcomm and ST-E case it vastly improves power effiecency, a big problem with currant 4g.
    2) As most of the components are included on die that you have mentioned, that means more space out side of the die, less hastle for the manufacturers and more space inside the device/phone for things like battery/or smaller device.

    Regards to Apple, apple bought PA semi, back in 2007/08 and use it to design its A-series chips, whilst it hasn't used a complete custom licence, they have done some soft optimisations, im not privvy to what they are.

    Samsung also acquired intrinsity around the same time, and used their custom logic to some minor power improvements to the cortex core..first seen on the hummingbird..as Apple uses samsung to manufacture there chips, you can bet some of that is licenced too.
    Qualcomm ,nvidia (not tegra)and Marvel also have full custom license.
    Reply
  • french toast - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Im sorry, although this isnt an area that i have a huge amount of knowlege on, i can say with some certainty that both Qualcomm and ST-E will have on die baseband shipping this year on 28nm, In qualcomms case the s4 processor that is being demoed with the Asus idea pad has one in.

    I can also say it has 2 main advantages that i know of (and likely many more that i dont)

    1) When put on die and using the same process as in qualcomm and ST-E case it vastly improves power effiecency, a big problem with currant 4g.
    2) As most of the components are included on die that you have mentioned, that means more space out side of the die, less hastle for the manufacturers and more space inside the device/phone for things like battery/or smaller device.

    Regards to Apple, apple bought PA semi, back in 2007/08 and use it to design its A-series chips, whilst it hasn't used a complete custom licence, they have done some soft optimisations, im not privvy to what they are.

    Samsung also acquired intrinsity around the same time, and used their custom logic to some minor power improvements to the cortex core..first seen on the hummingbird..as Apple uses samsung to manufacture there chips, you can bet some of that is licenced too.
    Qualcomm ,nvidia (not tegra)and Marvel also have full custom license.
    Reply
  • aury - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    "We did manage to run SunSpider on the K800 though, which yielded a score of 1,971 -- just a hair faster than the 1,985 that we saw on the Galaxy Nexus."

    So either your test is off by about 600 points, or Engadget is blind.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I haven't played with the K800 that was being shown off but I am not familiar with the state of Lenovo's Android skin at this point, nor the details of how SunSpider was run. Our SunSpider numbers were run on the Medfield reference design which is what the K800 should be based on though.

    I'll try and do some digging.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • paul878 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Who is going to hurt more?
    Intel entering into the Mobile Space or Arm entering the PC Space?
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Well, Intel has plenty of padding to live on should things go sour. Plus they have compatibility on their side. I'd guess Intel will be fine no matter where things go, ARM now has the pressure on to be competitive. Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    "but one stand out issue was the A9 has a great execution core but seems to be more limited on the memory interface. Atom can support far more outstanding misses in L2 than the Cortex A9, which chokes bandwidth to the processor for anything not already in the L2 cache."

    It will be interesting to see if ARM take this seriously. Memory performance was THE downfall of PPC. It seems that companies and engineers think connecting to memory is not sexy compared to the core CPU; and I'd love to think that ARM are beyond this sort of childishness, but I honestly don't know.
    Reply
  • guilmon19 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    ARM's A15 platform was also designed with servers in mind, and servers address and use the RAM alot more then basic applications so i think they'll, hopefully, have that fixed by A15 Reply
  • IceDread - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I've always said that Intel would gain on ARM and eventually pass ARM. While I believed it would take a year more or two before they were this close on ARM, I'm still right :p

    This will be interesting to follow, hopefully Amd gets their thump out and also does something on this market and then we have both Intel and Amd competing with cpu and gpu power for mobile devices.
    Reply
  • varunkrish - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I believe Anand Chandrasekher who was the brain behind Medfield left Intel due to failure of Intel-Nokia partnership. Any insight on that ?

    Android does seem a good choice for Intel compared to MeeGo as the ecosystem is already present.
    Reply
  • stadisticado - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I'd more characterize him as the brain behind the Nokia tieup, not the silicon. Silicon would have been controlled by the design teams, not the product division GM, which Anand was. Reply
  • janderk - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    The numbers are still impressive, but there isn't such a thing as a stock Gingerbread browser performance.

    The Intel phone currently runs Android 2.3.7 in which browser performance is on par with Honeycomb/ICS. You can't compare those numbers with a S2 or Sensation running old Honeycomb versions. If you do, you are comparing Android versions more than hardware.

    Google seems to have backported some browser code pieces to Gingerbread. A galaxy S2 on 2.3.6 with a stock ROM/browser scores around 90.000 in the Browsermark and around 2200 in the Spidermark. Ask Brian. He double checked and got even better numbers than I got.
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    That's a very good point. I wouldn't put it past Intel to "hype up" their marketing a little too much. I've been watching them very closely regarding this lately, and a lot of what they are saying is simply BS.

    Let's wait until we actually have the product in the market before we evangelize their yet to be seen chips.
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    While I like your article, you can't really conclude anything about micro archictures based on 2 micro benchmarks which have likely been highly tuned by Intel. Also note the Atom runs at 1.6GHz while the Nexus runs at 1.2GHz, so much of the performance difference is simply due to frequency.

    For a recent comparison between Cortex-A9 and Atom, check out these:

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&...
    http://openbenchmarking.org/result/1201051-AR-1112...

    In these 1.0 and 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 SoCs completely obliterates 1.6GHz netbook Atoms in performance on mostly single-threaded benchmarks. So in terms of micro architecture comparison, your article is dead wrong. When compared using same compiler and OS, the A9 beats Atom at a much lower frequency due to having higher IPC as a result of out-of-order execution. Note how it scores much higher on most memory benchmarks.
    Reply
  • milli - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Actually the Z2460 runs at 1.3Ghz but can turbo to 1.6Ghz.

    Something might be up with the PandaBoard ES. Phoronix also has a Tegra 2 based review and that one also scores better on some tests than the PB-ES (just like the Exynos). The problem is that the scores are not really comparable because all three (PB-ES, T2, Exynos) use different compilers and kernels. Only the PB-ES uses the same compiler (and probably parameters) as the x86 systems. So you'll need to wait for real Medfield reviews when the time comes (or for Phoronix to do a better comparison). Especially the Exynos results need to be taken with a grain of salt since they used a total of three compilers there.

    It's known that Atom's single threaded performance is bad. It has HyperThreading to cover that up. Since Android's JavaScript engine is multi-threaded, Atom performs well.
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    True, but you can bet Intel ensured the benchmarks were run at 1.6GHz, even if that wouldn't be feasible in a real phone due to cooling. So we have to wait for an actual phone with a standard Android version for the real comparison.

    There are indeed issues with the Panda board, the Ubuntu version used isn't compatible with the OMAP4460 so it isn't setup correctly. There are also compiler option issues and use of a slow flash card which reduces the scores. In terms of compilers used, GCC 4.5 or 4.6 doesn't make a major difference, so these benchmarks give a reasonable indication how Cortex-A9 would do vs Medfield.

    If Android JavaScript is multithreaded, you'd expect a dual core A9 to do much better than Atom as you get a 100% speedup from the second core, not just 30% from hyperthreading. I suppose we'll see when the Intel improvements are added to the mainstream Android version.
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    True, but you can bet Intel ensured the benchmarks were run at 1.6GHz, even if that wouldn't be feasible in a real phone due to cooling. So we have to wait for an actual phone with a standard Android version for the real comparison.

    There are indeed issues with the Panda board, the Ubuntu version used isn't compatible with the OMAP4460 so it isn't setup correctly. There are also compiler option issues and use of a slow flash card which reduces the scores. In terms of compilers used, GCC 4.5 or 4.6 doesn't make a major difference, so these benchmarks give a reasonable indication how Cortex-A9 would do vs Medfield.

    If Android JavaScript is multithreaded, you'd expect a dual core A9 to do much better than Atom as you get a 100% speedup from the second core, not just 30% from hyperthreading. I suppose we'll see when the Intel improvements are added to the mainstream Android version.
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    "If Android JavaScript is multithreaded, you'd expect a dual core A9 to do much better than Atom as you get a 100% speedup from the second core, not just 30% from hyperthreading. I suppose we'll see when the Intel improvements are added to the mainstream Android version. "

    No, you wouldn't get 100% speed bump because there are many more factors besides CPU resources that ultimately affect performance.

    You are clearly a noob fanboy on a rant.
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    How much speedup you get obviously depends on lots of factors. However the fact remains that 2 cores have much more raw performance than 1 core with hyperthreading, so if JS is really multithreaded then the advantage would be to ARM, not Atom. Reply
  • virtual void - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    You have to keep, at least, two things in mind here

    1. The efficiency on the second HT in Atom is much higher than the 20-30% you see on Sandy Bridge. On Atom, 50-60% is probably a more accurate number based on a number of test I've done myself. And this is not because Atom in anyway is better than Sandy Bridge, it is quite the opposite. The in-order design and simple executions units in Atom will cause a lot more pipeline stalls which means that the other thread will get access to all the power (or lack of power) in the CPU.

    2. You are that two physical cores has more raw power than two HT on the same core. But when you run a single program on two treads and work on the same data, HT has a huge benefit in that the two program threads will communicate via the L1 cache (shared between the HT) while two threads running on different physical cores will communicate via the L2 cache. The L1 cache has a much lower latency and much higher bandwidth compared to the L2 cache.

    So HT can be very efficient in accelerating things where two threads are working on the same data-set. But two physical cores is probably always better when you have two threads running different programs or at least working on a data-set that is completely thread local.
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    You're right if 2 threads belong to the same process and communicate a lot then HT has lower overheads, but the downside is that you quickly start trashing the small L1 caches. HT works better on Atom indeed, but 50-60% on average sounds a bit high, especially since Atom stalls on cachemisses. Reply
  • extide - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Why does clockspeed matter? People should stop focusing on the clock so much. The real performance metric is performance per watt. Anyone remember the P4? How about Bulldozer? If intel can get more clockspeed in the same thermal envelope, then good job and they should be able to compare them side by side. I know ARM vendors would clock their chips faster, but then they run into thermal limitations. Reply
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    For single-threaded benchmarks clockspeed is the only thing that matters. I agree performance per watt is far more important in the real world. This is why dual or quad cores give better performance per watt than a single high clocked core. I don't believe ARM cores are thermally limited, Tegra 3 has 4 cores at 1.3GHz, and even faster SoCs are coming soon. Reply
  • milli - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    "For single-threaded benchmarks clockspeed is the only thing that matters"

    Ever heard of issue-width or instruction re-ordering? Ever heard of MIPS/Mhz? If you have, how can you say such a thing?
    Reply
  • Wilco1 - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    IPC matters of course but only at similar frequencies. And frequency differences are typically much larger than IPC differences. For example 2-way out-of-order execution gives around 25% better IPC than 2-way in-order, however the frequency difference in the article is 33-60%. So given a large enough difference in frequency, you would expect an in-order to beat out-of-order. Reply
  • milli - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    You can't just paste performance numbers on a cpu based on it's high level architecture. Your example might be right for cpu A & B but you can't apply it just to every cpu.
    Next you'll tell me that a Cortex A15 is as fast clock for clock as a Phenom just because they are both 3-wide OoO architectures? Rest assured that a K10.5 core will be more than double as fast as an A15 (and i'm sure, up to 5-6x faster).
    Reply
  • french toast - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    I can tell you now that cortex a15 wont be a million miles off clock for clock,even if it doesn't beat it.

    Obviously cache sizes/latency as well as bandwidth will play a part, but cortex a15 will be competitive with phenom, on a tiny fraction of the die space and power consumption.

    cortex-a9 is nearly on par with a ULV core 2 duo clock for clock as difficult as that seems.
    Reply
  • milli - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Oh french toast, I've seen your comments here before. You just crack me up. Such a fanboi. I didn't even know there was such a thing as an ARM fanboi but you prove me wrong.
    FYI, an ULV C2D is around 3 to 10x faster than an A9 (clock for clock) and an A15 will get nowhere near a Phenom. Sorry to burst your bubble.
    Reply
  • kaiyao - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    While this chip for phones is finally out, does anyone know if Intel going to release any tablet chips anytime soon? Perhaps a dual/quad core version of this chip?

    Because Intel should really push out a chip competitive with ARM when Windows 8 comes out. I imagine if the chip performs as well as an ARM (in terms of performance and power efficiency), and if Intel matches the pricing of ARM chips, Windows 8 tablet manufacturers would definitely choose x86 over ARM to advertise compatibility with legacy applications.

    I remember that the previous "mobile chip" from Intel did not work with Windows 7 due to something along the lines of the lack of PCI bus support, but since Microsoft can port Windows 8 to ARM, clearly this PCI bus is not an issue (if Microsoft modifies Win8 a bit). I presume application code will not be affected by the presence of the PCI bus.
    Reply
  • guilmon19 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I read somewhere, sorry i don't have a link, that intel was going to release a dual core version by the final quarter Reply
  • Mumrik - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Page 4: "and I wouldn't be surprised if more aren't on the way."

    Isn't that the opposite of what you meant Anand?
    Reply
  • reenie49 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    The numbers from Medfield seem competitive with current Arm A9 SOC's , but these are Intel numbers and until the phones are out then we just don t really know , Intel has promised before . In a few months A15 chips at 28 nm will be out and they "should" post higher performance and/or lower power than A9 so will be infront again . But performance is only half the battle , what about cost ? Is Medfield as cheap as Arm ? Intel likes big profit margins and cripples the low end to protect the high end , It is used to charging 60 dollars plus per chip not sub 20 dollars, does Intel really want to be in an arms race with samsung etc ? Will phone manufactures be happy to be tied to one chip producer and pay more for the privilege ? With Arm , they have a choice of 3 or 4 different SOC's or can build there own . So as it has been said before, Intel will have to be alot better to be a reason to ditch Arm . Think it will be another 2 to 3 years before we see a winner in top end smartphones and tablets . I think Arm will still dominate the low end phones with A7 etc, can t see Intel wanting to be in the sub 10 dollar chip market . Has Arm announced its successor to A15 ? Reply
  • ThomasS31 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    The real deal here is x86 compatibility with Windows 8 coming you can run all you apps from your phones, tablets or high and PCs... it will all work on the intel ecosystem. Evey your old apps.

    That is a hugh deal vs the ARM ecosystem. You will have Windows 8 ofc, but some old apps simply won't work.

    And on 22nm very soon, this will be a killer design in my opinion.
    Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Thankyou for posting this insight into Medfield, you always give the best in depth analysis on the internet, usually without all the biased, speculatory fud.

    However i have noticed that you have a slight bias towards Intel, nothing major but you seem to give them more benefit of the doubt than they can prove.
    You stated thus;
    '' Even today it appears to deliver better CPU performance than anything on the market, despite only having a single core''

    Nonsense.
    This in no way proves that Medfield is a faster chip than say Exynos 4210 from last year.
    In fact as you state that Atom is the same architecture, i would say evidence says that even tegra 2 is faster according to these benchmarks ;
    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&...

    The 2 Intel sourced benchmarks that you sourced do not give the complete picture to go drawing such conclusions, either about the platform or the architecture.
    The cortex A9 is at minimum the same performance clock for clock according to more complete benchmarks i linked above, Multi threading which does have uses in Android and even webrowsing/games will be superior on 2 A9s, also if you put both on the same process the A9s will be substantially smaller and consume substantially less power.

    Other web site that i have read said that the Medfield reference phone was slightly choppy/laggy when scrolling the home sreen, which they noted doesn't happen on Exynos.
    Which is clocked lower and will be 18months older by the time Medfiled releases.

    Some else pointed out about which gingerbread update is it running? ove at xda forum they report ICS gains in performance on 2.3.7 for example....

    Whilst it is interesting to put up this Intel promotion, it does not conclude that this would have dominated android last year at all, it seems at first glance that it would have been COMPETITIVE last year. there is no proof that an Atom is even on par with A9/same clock speed let alone Krait.

    After all the excellant articles i have read on this site, i expected a little better too be honest.
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Are you completely mental?? You are comparing miniITX platforms running Ubuntu to SoC's running Android. Your benchmarks are completely meaningless. Reply
  • french toast - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    No there not, they are the only comparable benchmarks that put both architectures through their paces, if you level the clocks the A9s smoke the Atoms...Anand says him self that the Achitecture remains the same.
    There certainly more comparable than this Intel marketing blitz.

    The power point slides above say that Medfield will have substantially more gpu performance than a iphone 4s,samsung galaxy s2..as we know its a sgx540@400 i highly doubt it somehow.
    My point is the tests are provided by intel, or run on limited benchmarks that dont test cpu LOAD scenarios, that are not multithreaded, not standardised software, and the atoms are running at a higher clock rate.

    No real world power consumption tests were done, yet bizarly, Anand draws the conclusion that it is the superior architecture and would have 'dominated' android last year... i dont see it that way myself.
    Reply
  • guilmon19 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    why is it meaningless? in the intel benchmark they were comparing android 4.0 to 2.3, and from what iv'e read they're very different. While all the miniITX platforms in the other benchmark use a consistent base for all of the hardware by using the same OS. Plus a miniITX is pretty similar to a SoC. The only difference is that SoC are usually smaller and more integrated, but other then that they use very similar hardware Reply
  • french toast - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    I agree, the medfields were running on android 2.3.7 which is heavilly optimised compared to the software that some of the others were running on, that alone makes it void.

    One of the websites ran a quadrant score on the reference platform and got an impressive 3791 how ever the galaxy note, which runs a 1.4ghz exynos and has a core idle. gets 4300+..so that puts it into perspective.

    Anand has got a very good reputation for cutting out all the crap and just looking at things in a very objective/logical/technical way, with out jumping the gun and making false assumptions, i hope this continues and we dont see this Intel spin anymore.
    Reply
  • halcyon - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Why don't you benchmark it against Qualcomm S4 A15 Quad?

    Or the next gen Samsung A15 quads?

    Both of those will ship *BEFORE* Medfield devices actually ship.

    And they will have lower LTE (not just 3G) idle, highe GPU speeds, and equal/higher perf clock-for-clock.

    It looks like Intel *almost* made it this year, but not quite.

    Oh well, perhaps the next revision...
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Because there is no A15 Quad fully functioning reference phone. Weird. Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Does Atom stand a chance? You say it will be out by the end of the year. We should have at least 2, if not 3 chips based on Cortex A15 by then, one by Samsung at 2 Ghz each core, one by TI (OMAP 5 at 2.5 Ghz), and possibly another one by Samsung that also uses big.Little together with Cortex A7, for even lower power consumption.

    How will this single core Atom processor be competitive with one of those dual-core processors?

    And that's without even counting the dual-core/quad-core Krait chips, which if I'm not mistaken, you've already said they should be more powerful than Atom.
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Lot of "if's" and "shoulds" in your argument. Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Well, he's comparing Atom with ARM based on benchmarks that Intel has provided, and for a chip that won't be out until the end of the year. So that's not very realistic either. Intel has been saying for a long time that "this is finally the year we're going to compete with ARM". I'm very skeptical at this point, until I really see it in the market, in a real phone, and see how it does against the competition then. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Indeed, we'll have to wait and see. Also, since this chip is a single core its easier to get its full potential, on apps that are well threaded we might see even current ARM chips beat it. Reply
  • Donnie Darko - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I'm generally more excited to see x86 in the market because it will drive competition more than it will drive Intel into a new field.

    It was an impressive technology demo, but to be honest untill they can integrate the base band radio onto the SOC they won't compete. You will be able to buy their phones and that's nice, but Qualcom will still dominate the market with Sammy/Ti and even Nvidia (shudder) rounding out most of the other designs.

    Having a top to bottom stack will be nice though for everyone. Arm laptops/tablets, file servers, massivly-wide simple-instruction servers and phones. x86 HP computing (Sever->Tablets) and phones. If Intel can make enough of a beac h head then we should see AMD in the mobile space in a couple of years two. Their synthesisable CPU cores with Bobcat and their GPUs would be wicked down there.
    Reply
  • guilmon19 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I usually like competition as well, but when intel jumps in there i (shudder). At the moment Samsung, Motorla, qualcom, texas, ect were competing with each other with their own SoC, but they had to use the same fab to build their CPU's, but intel has their own fab(that is alot better then the ones used to build ARM) so they get a huge advantage over all those companies. Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    It's the answer to a question nobody asked! Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    And to the left of it! Its the comment that means no one but the original poster, if even that! Reply
  • pugster - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Frankly, I don't know how does Intel can do 1.6ghz cpu and 400mhz gpu for less power than an arm cpu. Gees, we have seen 1.6ghz atom cpus in netbooks and the power envelope is much higher and a 32nm process can't reduce this much further.

    Second, the phone's cpu is usually in deep sleep most of the time, intel didn't really benchmark what happens when the phone is idle, IE standby time.

    Third, is cost. Unless Intel start selling these cpus at giveaway prices for less than $15, I doubt that these phones are competitive to ARM variants.

    Fourth is adoption rate. Considering that most of the apps are written for the ARM cpus, I wonder when phone manufacturers and porogrammers will port intel version of their apps.
    Reply
  • bobsmith1492 - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    The article covers power consumption and porting.

    Cost is a valid concern! Real-life use cycles will be good to show how quick it transitions into and out of sleep for real-life power use. Being faster when active with the same power use though it should be better if anything. The clock rate scaling will compete against the big-little architecture for ARM, too.
    Reply
  • Roy2001 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    Very impressive. Good job Intel! Reply
  • mrtanner70 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I am a long time fan of the site and still think your actual product testing is the best. However over the last year or so there has been a noticeable pattern of really being a bit too enthusiastic toward Intel PR and spin. I would like to see a little bit more intelligent skepticism when dealing with Intel reference designs and slide decks. Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    I have to agree, about Intel spinning stuff more and more lately, too. I've noticed it since they announced the "3D" chips. Everyone reacted as if the 3D are 10x better than SNB or whatever, when in fact that's not true. The 3D chips have only +37% performance at the same power level, OR -50% power consumption at the same performance level. That's barely as news worthy as they made it sound. They put 1 extra year ahead of AMD at most on top of the 6 months difference they already have now.

    So I don't know how everyone got from that that now that they have that they will be able to compete with ARM, which ARM at the same performance has much better power efficiency and also costs several times less.
    Reply
  • Hector2 - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    What you said is about right for "active" power. A couple of things not mentioned is that the 22nm chip will be quite a bit smaller than 32nm (meaning even lower cost) and that the FinFET transistors drop the "standby" power by a factor of 10X-20X lower than even the 32nm version.

    As was said somewhere, Medfield gets Intel's foot in the door with a competitive product --- and I think most here will agree that it's at least competitive. Certainly, Intel's new partners must think so. The coming of the 22nm upgrade in 2013 is where it really gets interesting.

    It's taken Intel awhile to carve out a viable single chip design that's product-worthy. Now that they have one, I expect them to march with the same tick-tock cadence that they've driven the PC market with -- and they already have working 3D FinFET 14nm chips in the lab.
    Reply
  • Finally - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Mark my words:
    The day that AnandTech welcomes a revolutionary AMD product (think e.g. Brazos II) with the words "It's finally here" will be the very day hell freezes over.
    Reply
  • Hector2 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Hmmm. When do you think AMD might be entering the smartphone market ? Reply
  • thunng8 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    That intel graph for graphics performance is way off and misleading.

    If one of the smartphones tested is the iphone4S, then that phone should have >2x performance advantage in graphics compared to Medfield reference platform.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    If Medfield is as good as it looks today and they can keep moving along as Cortex-A15 comes along tablets and smartphones could be Intel-based and Apple could be serious trouble by supporting ARM. It could be the whole the PPC issue all over again where Apple will linger for way too long before switching architectures. That's a worse scenario perfect storm, of course, and a long ways off, but it's still something that can't be good for companies with vertical integration with heavy ARM support. Reply
  • markit - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    as infact 2 year old cortex a-9 (even if single cored) outperform it / mhz

    e.g. if i scale down medfields results linearly
    (which is imho quite accurate for this benches)

    i get:
    @1ghz
    2130ms and 72766 points

    and compare against my old tegra 2 based toshiba ac100 (running ubuntu and chrome 13)

    with one core running @ 1 Ghz, and second core turned off i get:
    sunspider 1962ms ( per mhz 9% faster)
    browsermark 111872 ( per mhz 54% faster as medfield)

    so regarding browsermark infact the ac100 nearly matched the 1.6ghz results of this medfield reference plattform while running on only one 1 ghz core,..

    btw. both cores turned on and @ 1Ghz:
    sunspider 1941 ms
    browsermark 114523

    so hmm, i think i can guess why intel didn`t choose dual-core friendly benchmarks,..

    and remeber the ac100 did hit the stores June 2010!
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    I still am puzzled by this. It's been at least a decade since an Intel chip executed X86 code in hardware; the chip is a RISC design fronted by an emulator. Or has Intel gone back to X86 instructions in hardware for these SoC? Reply
  • dealcorn - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Was I deceived? I read about fin-fet and 3d transistors and was impressed because it is credible technology that will permit Intel to do good things before others. That colored my perspective on mobile Atom leading to statements such as "Show time starts at 22 nm." I felt that absent the 3d benefits, Intel would find it tough to go head to head against ARM. While Intel focused attention on 3d, the implication was they are dead in the water until 22nm arrives.

    That is wrong. Mobile Atom is never going to be built using 22nm transistors. It will be built using 22nm LP transistors. Furthermore, it appears that 32nm LP transistor get the job done just fine (even if 32 nm is worthless in this context). Is 32nm LP the secret sauce that lets it all work? Should the headline have been "Intel's process advantage muscle works almost as good at 32 nm LP as it was supposed to work at 22nm."?
    Reply
  • Dribble - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    I see fudzilla managed to get a BenchmarkPi score:
    The HTC Thunderbolt (Snapdragon 1GHz): 888ms
    Lenovo K800 (1.6Ghz Atom): 743ms
    LG Optimus 2X (Tegra 2): 550ms
    Reply
  • french toast - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Yea when you get past the Intel marketing and start digging you find its not really thtat special when compared to last years designs. hers some more. Intel medfield 3791 quadrant. samsung galaxy note @1.4ghz 4300+

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2SzV_bl76k

    If you level the clock speed and use the same software on the ARMs you would get better than this in cafeinemark;

    http://androidandme.com/2012/01/news/intel-medfiel...

    Add that to the other links i posted earlier, and do some multithreaded tests and the Atom doesn't look that impressive compared to duel core A9s on 40nm...let alone quad core kraits on 28nm...
    Reply
  • dwade123 - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Give a a few years and we 'll see Intel dominating this market. Reply
  • Targon - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    This is a single-core chip....in an environment that is already going to be dominated by dual-core chips by the time it is released. What is Intel trying to do, emulate Palm, who would announce something that sounds great, then a year later when product is actually shipping, seems pretty weak? Palm died as a result(even though it was under the HP umbrella at the end), and Intel is just following that example of what NOT to do.

    Intel may have process advantages, but Intel doesn't do much when it comes to real innovation.
    Reply
  • happycamperjack - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Judging from the BrowserMark and SunSpider, Medfield has tegra 3 beat for about 10% to 30% in a more single threaded application. But in a more threaded application such as photo editing apps, some games and also multitasking, Tegra 3 would come out on top. Not to mention Tegra 3 would probably do a lot better in battery life and 3D games as well.

    But backward compatibility for lower end Windows 8 tablets? Yes please!
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Friday, January 13, 2012 - link

    A 10% performance different shouldn't be surprising, considering Intel Atom is running at 1.6 Ghz and Tegra 3's first core is running at 1.4 Ghz. This only means that a Cortex A9 core is about as powerful as Atom at the same clock speed. And by the time it's out it will have to compete with Cortex A15, which is twice as powerful as Cortex A9 for the same clock speed. Plus it will be dual core vs the single core Atom. Krait chips should be in the same ballpark as Cortex A15, perhaps a bit weaker, but still much more powerful than Atom.

    As for the compatibility with Windows 8. I don't understand what's the benefit of that? To use programs that are not optimized for touch? Why? If that was such a big deal, you could already use Windows 7 tablets. Whether Microsoft is pushing for ARM tablets, or x86 tablets, they still have to start from scratch, because they need apps that are fully optimized for touch, and not for the mouse. So in this case x86 has no advantage over ARM, at least not more than it already had in the Windows7-era. And if Microsoft were smart, they'd actually push the ARM tablets instead to compete on battery life.
    Reply
  • happycamperjack - Friday, January 13, 2012 - link

    You don't understand the benefit of backward compatibility?? Are you serious?? How about instant access to biggest libraries of applications ever while Windows 8 apps have time to mature.

    As for the performance of the chip, I was disappointed about Intel's SoC until I realize that it's actually running android 2.3. So it would be more fair to compare the performance against another Android 2.3, Galaxy S II, which benchmarked at half the speed of Intel! But it's GPU is definitely garbage.
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Friday, January 13, 2012 - link

    The Motorola RAZR is also running 2.3. Reply
  • french toast - Friday, January 13, 2012 - link

    What has been misleading about the Intel pushed benchmarks in this article, is that although the Medfield runs Gingerbread, it also run a heavily updated varient.2.3.7..which according to the boys over at xda, has been optimised to near ICS levels..
    Note that the phones benchmarked against it run stock Gingerbread which can be noticebely slower on older versions.

    Another thing to note, the phones benchmanrked against, also have heavy custom UI skins over the top..aka sense/touchwiz which saps power, hence why uses prefer to root their phone..for that very perforance enhanced reason.
    -Where as the Medfield reference phone does not.

    If you level all software equal, i very much doubt the Medfield would have a lead in any benchmark, and in some cases would likely lose, such as graphics, multhreaded, and battery use scenarios that stress the cpu.

    That is against phones that have been on the market 18months or so by the time Medfield ships AND are lower clocked A9s.
    Reply
  • CUEngineer - Friday, January 13, 2012 - link

    You guys are hilarious... Obviously there will be an optimized OS version that google and intel worked on, since its using a different ISA then arm, they need to optimize the binaries to do things such as take advantage of instructions intel adds for performance which no ARM IP licenseee company is allowed to do... Any good company will optimize software to run on their hardware to give better results and that is valid...
    Intel has been doing high performance designs for many years now, ARM just designs their IP to work simple and without consuming much power, so it wouldnt be hard to think that intel analyzes certain performance features differently such as handling hits under misses and taking multiple miss requests without bottlenecking the system... an out of order CPU could make this impact less since other instructions might be able to be scheduled while waiting for the miss to be completed..
    Either way all you folks should worry about is how close those power numbers because once intel gets in this space it is going to dominate, and will have attractive offerings since everyone else is basically using the same IP from arm with different wrappers...
    Reply
  • french toast - Sunday, January 15, 2012 - link

    You dumbass, cant you see it has got nothing to do with that, its the VERSION that the phones run on and then compared against...2.3.7 is much faster than 2.3.3 or 2.3.4..to make it an equal fair test you would have to run EQUAL software.

    You would also have to do a number of different tests that stress the cpu under LOAD, then measure the power consumption.

    Anand has taken some very biased intel run power slides and benched these phones on limited single thread benchmarks, and yes it shows an advantage, BUT that could just be the android version its self, not representitive of medfield superiority.

    Add to that the fact that Atom runs alot faster per core and only slightly beats old hardeware on such single thread tests like caffeinemark, and looses others on quadrant and antutu, as well as offering worse gpu performance than a galaxy s2, note, and iphone 4s that were released mid last year on 40nm.

    Krait on 28nm with on die 4g in quadcore configuerations and with a next gen 320 gpu will release THIS year about the time Intel releases a chip that is barley competitive with chips LAST year.
    Reply
  • baros - Monday, January 16, 2012 - link

    Why didn't intel go with meego instead ? Reply
  • diulaylomochohai - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Why did the battery test omit numbers from HTC 1S and 1X? Reply
  • jaffa62 - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - link

    Typical smartphone malware leverages platform vulnerabilities that allow it to gain root access on the device in the background. Using this access the malware installs additional software to target communications, location, or other personal identifying information. Thanks.
    Regards,
    http://www.scottsdale-azsearchforhomes.com/scottsd...
    Reply

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