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MWC: Intel launches 22nm Atom Moorefield and Merrifield 64-bit mobile chips

Promises to be faster than Apple A7 chip
Mon Feb 24 2014, 09:00

CHIPMAKER Intel announced two 64-bit enabled system on chip (SoC) updates across its Atom range of mobile processors today, promising better performance than Apple's iPhone 5S A7 chip and Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors.

The 22nm dual-core Z34XX and quad-core Z35XX chips previously codenamed Merrifield and Moorefield, respectively, are based on Intel's new Silvermont chip microarchitecture, promising improved CPU performance over previous generations.

Comparing Intel's latest Merrifield Atom chip, the Z3480, to its equivalent predecessor, the Z2580 Cloverfield+, the latest iteration introduces some welcome improvements, such as double the 2D graphics performance on a smaller 22nm fab node, down from 32nm, and an upgrade in processor speed from 2Ghz to 2.13Ghz.

It also features support for up to 4GB of LPDDR RAM running at 533MHz from 2GB, support for Google's Android 4.4.2 Kitkat mobile operating system and a dedicated programmable video signal processor not previously seen on the Clovertrail chip.

The new Atom chips will also include Imagination Technology's Power VR Series 6 GPU with quad-cluster 3D graphics.

Using some preliminary benchmark test results as examples, Intel WW Client Benchmark manager Matt Dunford said that the new Atom chips are faster than Apple's A7 chip in the iPhone 5S and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor in the Samsung Galaxy S4, in most aspects of operation.

Web Application performance

For example, Dunford showed that Intel beat the competition in web application performance using the WebXPRT 2013 benchmarking tool, with a score of 2.38 over Apple's 2.05 and Qualcomm's 1.10. Intel also claimed that the chip beat the competition in terms of battery performance, with Dunford showing off a BatteryXPRT 2013 score of 1.87 compared to Apple's 1.17 and Qualcomm's 1.01 scores.

Though not something to worry about just yet, the new Atom chips are 64-bit enabled to help future-proof devices for upcoming applications running on 64-bit processors.

The SoCs also feature a suite of low power sensors, which allow them to deliver contextual information to apps with motion and gesture sensing, audio sensing, location sensing and contextual analyses, without excessively draining device batteries, Intel said.

Intel will launch its dual-core Merrifield and quad-core Moorefield chips through OEMs a little later this year. µ


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