Intel Shows Off Competitive Medfield x86 Android Power & Performanceby Anand Lal Shimpi on December 21, 2011 4:09 PM EST
You may have seen some Medfield related news today - I thought I'd chime in with some of my thoughts on the topic. As a recap, in 2008 Intel introduced its Atom microprocessor - originally designed for MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) and repurposed for use in netbooks. In 2010 we got a more integrated version of Atom called Moorestown designed for smartphones and tablets. Intel had basically no success with Moorestown, although Pineview (its netbook counterpart) was still used in netbooks. In our original architecture piece I called Moorestown the "two-chip solution that uses five chips". Despite physical real estate requirements, Moorestown could fit into something that was a bit larger than an iPhone at the time. At the time everyone assumed Moorestown didn't make it into a phone because of unreasonably high power draw, but no one was able to back up those claims with actual test data. Intel will tell you that Moorestown never made it anywhere because it lacked platform focus. Intel was off chasing Moblin/MeeGo and Android wasn't a priority. Things have obviously changed since then.
Medfield is the 32nm successor to Moorestown. Intel hasn't disclosed many details about Medfield's architecture, but we do know that it is a more integrated single chip design (compared to Moorestown's "two-chip" solution). We also saw Intel's Medfield reference smartphone and tablet, both running Android, at IDF. While this is still far away from announcing an actual design win, it's clear that Intel is finally making progress in the right direction. Couple these recent milestones with more recent restructuring inside Intel and it looks like the company is finally preparing to really enter the mobile market.
This brings us back to today's news. The information disclosed today came from an investor conference earlier this month. Above is a slide from the aforementioned meeting.
Intel has carefully removed the names of the devices in this chart. Barring any outright deception however, there seems to be potential in Medfield. One would assume that device manufacturers are given access to this (and more) performance data. One might also be able to infer that if Intel does indeed have a Medfield design win (hopefully more than one), then these numbers might be fairly convincing. The war begins in 2012...
Source: Intel [pdf]