MWC 2015: Intel Sees New Atom SoCs
Intel has been in the game of manufacturing processors for longer than anyone else could remember. They are the largest SoC producers in the world empowering almost every household PC with their processors. In the mobile sector though it seems that the success they met when the PC market is booming has eluded them time and time again. But it does not look like they are going to give up anytime soon on trying to break through the mobile market. In fact Intel has just announced their new Atom lines of processors. Namely the x3, x5, and x7 for smartphones and tablets.
Similar to the i3/5/7 naming, the numbers implies the range that it caters to. Starting with the Atom x3,the low-end SoC for smartphones there will be a number of options which includes one dual-core and two quad-cores in its line up. The dual-core C3130 features the ARM Mali-T400 MP2 GPU while and fitted with a 3G modem, the quad-core C3230RK will feature the ARM Mali-T450 MP4 GPU and a 3G modem, the best of the class C3440 is a quad-core processor as well with an ARM Mali-T720 MP2 and an Integrated LTE modem with it. While all of them are 64-bit SoFIA chips they are not actually being built by Intel themselves. It is a rare move and an unusual one in that, it seems that the production of these low end chips are being tasked over to Rockchip using the 28nm process. These chips will most probably make the low-cost Asian markets soon.
The x5 and the x7 are the ones that we are most excited about though. They are Intel’s first ever 14nm Cherry Trail processors that are built based on Intel’s Airmont design. Not plenty of detail are released about these chips yet; we assume they are still in development. Both will feature Intel’s Gen 8 HD graphics processing which is expected to be a far cry from Intel’s previous SoCs. The only alarming part here is that these chips will not come with integrated modem in them. They will be compatible with Intel’s LTE MM276x modem that supports up to Category 6 LTE speeds (300mbps) though. This plainly means that this will not be catered to the smartphone tablet, instead they will be aimed at the tablet market.
Intel is in dire need of a high-end mobile processor that is aimed for smartphones instead of tablets at this point of time to catch up with the likes of Samsung’s Exynos and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon. Despite being lacking in the high-end market they did promise that they will come up with something in that regards. The biggest issue currently for the Atom x3 SoC would be power consumption. Other manufacturers are already moving into 14nm process manufacturing which will significantly improve battery live over the 28nm process used by Intel.