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Information leaks on Intel's 32nm "Medfield" mobile chip

by Alistair Lowe on 28 December 2011, 11:19

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Such an exciting prospect, Intel finally making a move for the mobile market, we'll hold off on the background information and give you what you came for first, the performance figures of Intel's new mobile 'Medfield' chip - courtesy of VR-ZONE.

Benchmark platform specifications

CPU Intel 'Medfield' x86 core at 1.6GHz
Connectivity WiFi/Bluetooth/FM Radio
Storage eMMC/Micro-SD
Screen 10.1" 1280x800
OS Android 3.2

Benchmark Results

Tests performed in CaffeineMark 3 - Java Benchmarking Program.

Intel 'Medfield' 10,500
Samsung Exynos 4212 8,500
Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 8,000
NVIDIA Tegra 2 7,500

VR-ZONE claims to have received information on other benchmarks though has chosen to list these figures to the public. It's worth noting that currently the 'Medfield' parts are consuming around 2.6W in idle and 3.6W with 720p Adobe Flash video playback, though Intel hopes to reduce idle consumption to 2W and video playback to 2.6W before beginning mass-production of the chip, bringing the chip towards the same power ballpark as competing ARM products.

Intel Medfield Tablet Platform Slide

We expect an official announcement of the 'Medfield' SoC at CES, with full availability later-on in the year. Certainly such a platform would benefit from the binary compatibility of x86 if one were running Windows, though oddly enough benchmarks have been on the Android platform, where whilst pure Java applications should have no issues running, applications with native C++ components would need to see themselves recompiled to function on the platform.

The benchmarks depict a clear lead of 24 per cent over the Exynos SoC, though, the Samsung chip is a 1.5GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9, it's worth noting that by the time 'Medfield' products hit the market, the new low-power x86 core will have to compete with the likes of the Exynos 5250, a 2.0GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 and the NVIDIA Tegra 3, a 1.4GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9. With the Exynos and Tegra SoCs receiving a refresh around once per year, whilst Intel's entry into the mobile market will no doubt create quite the impact, the firm will be entering against stiff competition; with its only edge, seemingly, support for the x86 instruction-set, Intel's performance in the mobile market will be something to watch extremely closely over 2012.


HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

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Thanks for the info.
For me, if I were a betting man, i'd far sooner back the ARM guys to increase the CPU ability than the Intel approach of taking a current chip and trying to bring the power down.

Does anyone else think that AMD and ARM should join forces? God knows that AMD need to learn about better power management if they are to survive in the consumer CPU arena….
As AMD are an ARM licencee then there is nothing stopping them producing an AMD ARM Chip (Which I am surprised they haven't done lately). I think also under some ARM licencing models AMD would be allowed to change the reference design to their liking much like Qualcomm. In other words I think AMD could easily be a big part of the ARM ecosystem if they chose too.

My personal hope here is that Intels plans fall flat on their faces. Come on ARM is a UK company after all :-) God Save the Queen.
AMD ARM + AMD GPU = mobile device winning?
Oh for ^&%*s sake ARM isn't the saviour of all mankind, it's just another instruction set.

ARM Holdings don't even make most of the money off the architecture, they license their IP/designs, some people use them straight up whilst others (Qualcomm) improve the designs. Both AMD and Intel have been licensees in the past, Intel sold XScale to Marvell and and AMD pulled back and sold their low power graphics to Qualcomm.

ARM based CPUs are as far away from being good on the desktop as Intel are from shrinking x86 into a decent smartphone. The performance gap is huge between a Core i3 and even the latest A15 designs. There simply isn't going to suddenly be ARM CPUs as fast as Intel/AMD's finest but using 10% of the power, physics doesn't work like that.

An ARM core + AMD GPU would destroy the whole advantage of having an ARM core - low power. If you aren't going to bother with a low power GPU you might as well use an x86-64 core like AMD already do and benefit from the compatibility instead, remember there is currently no DirectX for ARM so the fancy AMD GPU would be totally pointless.

If you want your holy AMD GPU with the saintly ARM core then the closest you'll get is a Qualcomm Snapdragon with Adreno graphics, based on improved ARM and AMD technology respectively.

Given that Intel are an order of magnitude bigger than ARM Holdings and also bigger than all of the ARM licensees I wouldn't bet against them too quickly.

My personal hope here is that Intels plans fall flat on their faces.

Why? Competition is a good thing, keeps everyone on their toes. Intel vs Qualcomm vs TI vs NVidia would make for some serious competitive pressure in the low power and SOC market.