LONDON – Intel's Z2580 application processor, which was codenamed as CloverTrail prior to launch, outperformed competitors' processors in a benchmarking exercise, according to Allied Business Intelligence Inc., which trades as ABI Research.
ABI Research concluded that Intel Corp. (Santa Clara, Calif.) has succeeded in reducing significantly the power consumption of its smartphone application processor and it now rivals and is often lower than equivalents based on the ARM architecture licensed from ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England).
Since high-end smartphones require this level of performance ABI said it considers Intel is "well positioned for strong growth over the next few years."
The benchmarks were done by comparing the performance of the Lenovo K900 smartphone, powered by Intel's Z2580 application processor and supporting XMM6360 chipset, with a series of Samsung smartphones that are based on ARM-based application processors from Nvidia, Qualcomm and Samsung.
"The benchmarks were impressive but the real surprise was the current consumption recorded during the benchmarks; the new processor not only outperformed the competition in performance but it did so with up to half the current drain," said Jim Mielke, vice president of engineering at ABI research, in a statement.
"Intel did significant work to bring the current drain down on their well-recognized high-performance processors but the competitors did not help themselves. The ARM architecture used by nearly all of Intel's competitors is well known for its low power performance but in bringing the processing power up closer to PC levels, the current drain has taken a significant hit," Mielke added. He continued: "Combining the high-end modems – the XMM6360 is used in both the Lenovo K900 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 i9500 – with their application processors for high- to mid-tier solutions and single-chip EDGE chips for low-cost phones makes Intel a rare full portfolio provider."
Details of the results are included in the table below.
Click on image to enlarge.
Comparison of mobile phone performance. Source: ABI Research
> Technical consulting firm BDTI pointed out that the compiled code for the Intel processor was not executing all instructions that were intended for the RAM test.
>To rectify the situation, AnTuTu issued revision 3.2.2 to the benchmark Wednesday evening. The revision still uses the ICC compiler, but the resulting scores are drastically different for the Intel processor. The AnTuTu CPU and overall scores dropped by approximately 20 percent, while the AnTuTu RAM score plummeted by approximately 50 percent
Maybe. Assuming mobile CPUs gain enough performance to replace say Core I7 (a tall order), there is still the i/o problem. In spite of the hype, there is more to replacing desktops than having a CPU with enough raw processing power. We need it to drive (multiple?) large screen monitors, external hard/SSD drives, keyboards, mice, Ethernet, etc., and with a single small cable and i/o controller that uses miniscule amounts of power. It will be a while.
I see it another way that has nothing to do with desktop workstations. Smartphones are following the PC evolutionary path. With increased performance comes more capable aps, which in turn drives the need for more performance. Human wants and desires are boundless. Once the more capable aps are in use, there will be minimum system requirements, just like we saw as the PC evolved. There is no static "good enough" level. The software is what will drive up performance minimums. Nobody will want a device that isn't able to run the software du jour. Since software developers will certainly make use of any performance gains, a mobile processor performance war is inevitable.
Intel is positioning well. If they can deliver the same performance with less power, then a "tock" release can increase clock speed and still stay within the power and thermal limitations. That puts the pressure on ARM to increase performance, else risk their chips not being able to run the latest software. Basically, this is what Intel did to AMD for years with desktop processors.
It is a different ISA and most instructions are treated as a single op down the pipeline. Intel does not need to be as deeply OoO. Also, OoO depth does not scale linearly. Its not a very good metric when comparing completely different ISAs. Also, the new Atom's decoders are significantly improved over old Atom.
Android is Linux underneath and runs just as well on x86. I doubt if there are many software hiccups, and most aps would need a simple recompile. I would say most aps are developed on Linux workstations.