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IDF: Intel touts Atom performance for mobile market

Firm claims it will catch up with rivals
Thu Sep 13 2012, 14:08

SAN FRANCISCO: CHIPMAKER Intel is betting on major performance gains for its upcoming Atom processors for smartphones and tablets, crucial markets for the chip giant as the industry moves out of the PC era.

Speaking at the company's IDF 2012 conference, Intel Fellow and chief platform architect for mobile and communications Ticky Thakkar said that the company's chips have a number of design advantages that will allow it to distance itself from competitors in mobile markets.

"Our competitors will tout that they have multi-core because they cannot reach the levels we can with single-threaded," he claimed.

Thakkar predicted that the company will catch and surpass competitors in the coming years as it integrates its engineering strengths, including the 22nm process node, into its mobile processors.

The company is set to add multi-core chips to its mobile lineup later this year with the release of Clover Trail processors. The 22nm process node is also slated to be used to fab Atom chips later this year with the Bay Trail processor line.

Thakkar mentioned a number of other engineering techniques that the company has used to squeeze more performance out of its chips without sacrificing power efficiency.

He noted features such as Burst performance technology, which allows a device to operate the CPU at a higher power level for short periods of time. By switching between a rest state and multiple "burst" pushes, the CPU is able to achieve a computing task in less time and with less power than by operating at a lower, steady power consumption.

"When something heats up it takes a while to heat up. What we do is run a much higher power than the limit for very short durations," Thakkar explained.

"You don't encroach the thresholds and you get the work done quickly."

The presentation was part of an effort by Intel to drum up mobile interest among its developer community. Thakkar suggested that the company's dominant status in the PC and server markets will only help Atom going forward.

"The Intel architecture is one of the most widely-supported platforms. You all are here because of the ecosystem," he told attendees.

"The developer tools today are used for everything from servers to developing applications for smartphones." µ


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