Mobile Chips from Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek, etc

Intel today unveiled a pair of new high-speed, low power 64-bit mobile processor platforms at Mobile World Congress. Its next-generation Atom Z3400 “Merrifield” dual-core processor and Atom Z3500 “Moorefield” quad-core chip, hopes to grab market share from Qualcomm and other ARM-based CPU vendors.

Due out sometime this spring, Merrifield processors will feature two cores and be manufactured using Intel’s 22nm process, which allows it to provide more performance at lower power.

The quad-core Moorefield processor line, which will launch in the second half of the year, will also be based on a 22nm manufacturing process, but will run at speeds up to 2.3-GHz. Moorefield CPUs will also support up to 4GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, PowerVR graphics, 13-MP cameras and Android 4.4.2.

Intel says that Merrifield outperformed Apple’s A7 CPU and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 CPU on a number of benchmarks. It also announced multiyear agreements with Lenovo, Asus, and Foxconn to develop mobile devices that run on Intel chips.

In addition to its two processor platforms, Intel announced a couple of standalone LTE modems, the XMM 7160, which supports 15 different bands and provides speeds up to 150 Mbps (LTE Cat 4), and the XMM 7260, which supports 22 bands at up to 300 Mbps (LTE Cat 6).

Meanwhile, Qualcomm expanded its mobile processor lineup with two additions to the Snapdragon 600 processor series: the Snapdragon 615 processor—the world’s first 64-bit eight-core SoC with integrated LTE—and the Snapdragon 610 processor, essentially the same as the Snapdragon 615 processor, but using a quad-core CPU. Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 615 processor delivers what Chinese OEMs are looking for: Integrated 4G LTE, 64-bit computing, a global RF Frond End solution, and an eight-core processor.

Qualcomm also announced the Snapdragon 801 processor, supporting larger, faster camera sensors and improved image post-processing, as well as improved mobile graphics and gaming, higher speed SD card memory, and dedicated hardware for dual-SIM service in China. The Snapdragon 801 processor includes integrated 4G LTE CAT4 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It features a quad core Krait 400 CPU with speeds of up to 2.5 GHz per core for best-in-class processing performance, and an Adreno 330 GPU.

Qualcomm conducted live demonstrations of LTE Advanced Category 6 connectivity with download speeds up to 300 Mbps using its Qualcomm® Gobi™ 9×35 fourth-generation multimode LTE modem on Ericsson network infrastructure. The 9×35 supports up to 40 MHz wideband carrier aggregation on FDD and TDD networks.

Allwinner, MediaTek, and Qualcomm all announced 8-core SoCs for mobile devices at MWC 2014. The new devices join octa-core solutions already available from MediaTek and Samsung.

  • Allwinner announced the 32-bit UltraOcta A80 featuring four ARM Cortex-A7s plus four ARM Cortex-A15s in ARM’s big.LITTLE configuration. The A80 also features the PowerVR Series 6 GPU.
  • MediaTek introduced the company’s second 32-bit octa-core SoC, the MT6595 . It also features the ARM big.LITTLE configuration, but with four ARM Cortex-A7s combined with four ARM Cortex-A17s, ARM’s latest 32-bit CPU. The MT6595 also features Imagination’s PowerVR Series 6 GPU in a dual-core configuration plus all the wireless interfaces for a complete mobile SoC, including 802.11az (WiFi), GPS, Bluetooth, FM, ANT+, and full 4G LTE support in a single chip.
  • Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 615 and 610 feature Qualcomm’s new Adreno 405 GPU. All of the new devices from Qualcomm are pin compatible and include Qualcomm’s 4G LTE cellular modem.
  • Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa features four ARM Cortex-A7s with four ARM Cortex-A15s, similar to the new Allwinner device, but with the previous generation PowerVR Series 5 GPU from Imagination.

Imagination’s PowerVR GPUs enable a powerful and flexible solution for all forms of multimedia processing. Today, Google and Imagination announced a VP9 decoder is now available for their PowerVR Series6 GPUs. VP9 can decode 4K video on mobile devices and is part of the Google-sponsored WebM open web media project, that will also be used for YouTube and Google Hangouts.

Qualcomm’s Adreno, the company’s proprietary GPU technology, was developed using assets the company acquired from AMD. It is integrated into Snapdragon chipsets, with an Adreno 330 GPU built into the latest Snapdragon 801.

Meanwhile, Squid Systems today announced availability of its HEVC decoder software for mobile devices which operates on ARM and Intel mobile processors. It includes openCL optimization to exploit the processing power of popular GPUs.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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