Published in PC Hardware

Analyst: Medfield can’t compete with ARM chips

by on13 December 2012

But 22nm parts could be different

Nomura analyst Romit Shah believes Intel’s Medfield doesn’t have what it takes to take on the likes of Qualcomm and other ARM players in the smarpthone space.

Shah points to Motorola’s Razr i and Razr M as an example. Although the Intel based version seems competitive at first glance, once you factor in the added power drain of LTE, Medfield starts to lose its edge.

Shah noted that the Intel based handset lacks LTE, which consumes 25 to 30 percent more power than 3G radios.

“This difference could explain the 10-15% better battery life for the RAZR-I,” wrote Shah. Furthermore, he goes on to conclude that Medfield doesn’t seem to be ahead in terms of performance, either. The latest high-end Android and WP8 phones are based on ARM SoCs, and the fastest among them feature Snapdragon S4 quad-cores.

Shah points out that Intel has an advantage in some web browser tests, but that’s pretty much where the good news ends.

“While Medfield appears to have superior performance on SunSpider (50% better than Snapdragon), it scored below Snapdragon and Tegra 3 on the other two benchmarks,” he wrote.

Intel’s next generation 22nm SoCs could turn things around, but they will also face obstacles. Shah believes convincing customers to split R&D resources between two architectures won’t be easy. Furthermore, OEMs would have to rely to a single x86 chip supplier, rather than several different ARM players.

More here.

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