Intel wants Medfield in smart phones
New handheld device chip to storm ashore in mobiles
Intel has said it wants its chips inside smart phones, with Medfield being the beachhead device.
Intel boss Paul Otellini has told Fortune magazine that he believes Medfield and its successors will be the means whereby Intel processors will power multiple forms of consumer and embedded electronic devices, including smart wireless phones, music players, household white goods appliances, and heart monitors.
Late last year the Reg wrote that Medfield was the next chip after the Moorestown system-on-a-chip (SOC), which itself follows on from the current Atom CPU, aimed at the netbook market. Moorestown integrates Lincroft, a chip integrating a 45nm Atom processor, graphics, memory controller and video encoder/decoder, with a second, and customisable, Langwell chip, which is an I/O hub for connection to wireless, storage, and display components.
Moorestown is too large a product to fit into a smart phone, but it should be okay for larger devices, up to and including netbooks. Medfield - being a single chip and built on the coming 32nm process - could be used in smart phones.
Intel hopes that products using it will appear in 2011. Typically, Intel implements a new micro-architecture, after it has transitioned to a new process. A 2011 timetable would allow no time after the 32nm transition. This would imply that Medfield, built on the new 32nm process, will be Moorestown collapsed onto a single chip but with no micro-architecture changes, such as a multi-core design.
Medfield was thought to integrate either an Intel-designed graphics core or an Imagination Technologies PowerVR-derived core, better suited to hand-held Internet tablets because of its low power consumption, and thus better able to compete with ARM-powered hand-held devices. There is no clarification on this point and there may be two different flavours of Medfield, one for mobile phones with PowerVR graphics, and one for larger MIDs, with the Intel graphics core. ®
Geez, give up!
x86 is a complete power hog - even Atom. This is a fundamental limitation of the x86 architecture. You can't make a gazelle by shaving an elephant's legs.
Power consumption is pretty much proportional to the number of transistors you have to flip to get the task done. All that pipelining etc that is required to get x86 speeds up requires a lot more transistors getting flipped (compared to a risc).
Right now even ARM-based systems are at the point where power consumption and thus battery life is the major constraint to adding more CPU power. x86 would just make that worse.
Sure, incremental process improvements will improve x86, but a rising tide floats all chips and ARM will score from that too. Thus ARM will always be some steps ahead in this game.
What do you want from your phone?
Two hour battery life, a battery the size of your hand or non-x86 CPU?
Where is the portable nuclear reactor to drive it?
Intel inside, smoking hole in the jeans outside...
How about actually doing a proper job and delivering a working chipset which does not require active cooling for Atom first? Ooops... I forgot... It is the "innovate" company that never hurts the consumers...