Intel closes the power consumption gap on ARM, Atom competitive with Cortex A15 and Krait

Intel closes the power consumption gap on ARM, Atom competitive with Cortex A15 and Krait
When we speak about mobile devices and their processors, ARM is the first and only name that will come to mind. Intel has started making its baby steps into mobile this year, but its presence is still hard to notice with only a couple of device running on Atom chips.

Chipzilla is trying hard to change that, coming from behind in a very competitive space where ARM has managed to outplay it with a drastically more power-efficient architectures over the last couple of years. With the latest Atom chips Intel might have had the performance advantage, however it never managed to get power consumption down to competitive levels. Until now.

An Intel engineer paid a visit to AnandTech bringing two cream of the crop devices, a Dell XPS 10 tablet based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 with Krait (dual-core, 28nm), and a Nexus 10 running on Cortex A15-based Exynos 5 Dual chip (dual-core, 32nm). Why? Simple, to prove that Intel has once and for good dealt with its power consumption issues. For that, power consumption of those devices was fared against Intel’s own solution, the Atom Z2760.

The conclusions are very favorable for Intel. Atom is definitely faster than Krait (which alone is interesting given that Atom is a 5-year old architecture), but what’s even more exciting is that the two are nearly on par in terms of power consumption.

Things will start getting interesting in around a year when Intel finally refreshes its Atom chips with a new 22nm Atom core.

In the comparison with Cortex A15, Intel’s Atom loses in terms of performance. However, A15 is clearly not meant to deliver its full potential on smartphones - it’s way too power hungry. It would work fine on tablets, but on smartphones it’s no coincidence that ARM recommends using it in a big.LITTLE configuration with a more power efficient A7 that will take over with less intense tasks.

To conclude, Anand makes an interesting suggestion. Intel’s Haswell architecture for desktop, a high-end solution costing tens of times the price of mobile solutions, is likely to receive a drastic power consumption makeover and could go down to the impressive 4W when we arrive at the 10nm manufacturing around 2017. That would open up the gates of heaven for mobile devices like say tablets. Moreover, it might be possible to get Core chips into smartphones even earlier than 2017.

Intel would definitely need some high-profile devices to drive adoption and market share, but it seems like its hard work could finally start to pay out and ARM will feel the heat soon.

source: AnandTech



1. feres13

Posts: 307; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

The iPhone 5's A6 Chip is the most power efficient chip and has the best GPU


Posts: 106; Member since: May 04, 2012


6. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Can you prove he is not right, android fan? He is stating the fact actually

8. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Power efficient, yes. Best GPU, no.

9. feres13

Posts: 307; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Go check anandtech...

15. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

The Mali-T604 got very respectable scores compared to the PowerVR's when you factor in the insane screen resolution, and it trumps everything but the SGX554 in the offscreen test. Honestly, Google/Samsung should have used the Mali-T658 for such a high resolution, but I think Samsung wanted to keep that for the GS4.

16. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

There no point in having powerful hardware for a restrictive mobile OS such as the aging iOS. Its a good thing that Apple has a large fan base to keep buying the same design same martyr years after years months after months.

28. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Care to back up that statement? SGX554MP4 is more powerful (though less modern architecture )than Mali t604. Numbers are clear on that one, no matter how much you android fanboys thumb it down

34. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

We were talking about the iPhone 5's GPU, the SGX543MP3, not the SGX554MP4. There's no doubt that the SGX554 beats out the Mali-T604, but the SGX543 certainly doesn't. GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Offscreen 1080p) iPad 4 (SGX554MP4) - 51.8 Nexus 10 (Mali-T604) - 32.9 iPhone 5 (SGX543MP3) - 27 Numbers. It's the Nexus 10's high resolution screen that brings it's score down, if you put the Mali-T604 with the same resolution as the iPhone 5, the numbers would be much higher. But, I know the SGX554 outclasses the Mali regardless of resolution. I don't thumb down, I just prove people wrong (when possible).

35. faisolbauuz

Posts: 121; Member since: Jan 05, 2013

Well there is a chinnese tablet called onda v972 that uses 8 core sgx 544 gpu (ipad3 only uses 4 cores) and have the same resolution as ipad3/4 it packs 2gb of ram

36. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Yeah it's a misunderstanding. I realized he is referring to the iPad and A6X but did not point that out. My bad

10. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

dude it may be power efficient but definitely not the most powerful cpu nor the best graphics is going to flatten qualcomm and a6 alike!

13. feres13

Posts: 307; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

sorry i forgot that only the A5X and the A6X have better graphics

14. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Maybe in a couple years, but not right now. Qualcomm isn't who Intel should be worrying about, it's Samsung. Samsung has always had best in class chips with its Exynos.

19. TheLibertine

Posts: 484; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

Yeah, but Exynos are used only on Samsung's own devices. What Intel seeks is being the choice of HTC, Motorola, Nokia and Co. And lets not simply deny the A-chips are strong silicon too.

22. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Ah, I was looking from a pure performance standpoint. Forgot about the competition of being the choice chip for manufacturers. Half the reason why Apple's Ax chips are so strong is because Samsung manufactures them. If any other chip manufacturer made them, they probably wouldn't be as good.

27. rf1975

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

yes with best kernal exploit.

24. picka_vi_materina

Posts: 174; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

iPhone 5 has the best GPU on phones, fact! iPad 4 has the best mobile GPU ever, fact!

32. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

You have no clue on what you're talking about. GPU wise, Atom chips are downright pathetic compared to the best ARM chips right now: By the end of this year, Atom will only reach the GPU level of iPhone 5! (Implementing the SGX544MP2) It's beyond ridiculous!!

38. ikkuh

Posts: 42; Member since: May 22, 2011

Nexus 4 has the same GPU.

40. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

What? Where did you read that? The Nexus 4 and iPhone 5 don't have the same GPU. The iPhone has a PowerVR SGX543MP3 while the Nexus 4 has an Adreno 320.

29. darkkjedii

Posts: 31105; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Now why is he an ifan for saying that? What if its actually true, and instead of just running his mouth he did his research.

39. ikkuh

Posts: 42; Member since: May 22, 2011

Seems obvious. It's an article about the atom. The iPhone is still an overrated, overpriced phone and has the most inflexible OS. Even with a great CPU and a GPU as the nexus 4 has.

7. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

On the surface it may look that way. It is hard to tell what exactly this chart is measuring. All phones have different screens, different pixel counts. The i5 is definitely the lower of all these when it comes to screen pixels. This alone may account for the lower power usage versus real CPU power usage.

12. feres13

Posts: 307; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

the droid razr m and the razr i have a qhd pentile screens 960*540 compared to the iphone 5's 1136*640...

11. MeoCao unregistered

A6 is not the best, it's so deceiving b-c iOS has few features and is very light for the chip to handle.

20. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

This is what people or iFans always completely forget when talking about Apple iPhone and it's chips. The OS doesn't push the chip so it's obvious it's going to perform better, no multitasking and basically app launcher in a fancy case. Go back and see why the iPhone can claim such great numbers when the OS does very little in comparison to Android at any given moment. Too bad Google didn't try to do the same thing with Android, such as a low power mode which does the Apple version of multitasking, bet those power consumption numbers would rise on Android gear.

30. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Who said it's the best chip? It has the best GPU. Having trouble reading?

31. darkkjedii

Posts: 31105; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Where's your proof? Any statement that's definitive should b backed up with proof.

37. MeoCao unregistered

Do I need to prove that iOS is a light OS? And I notice that you never said anything substantive since your "grand contribution" to mankind: the definition of wireless charging. lol

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