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Intel Unveils Two 64-bit Atom Processors at MWC 2014

Intel Unveils Two 64-bit Atom Processors at MWC 2014

Intel unveiled two 64-bit Atom processors at MWC 2014 today, and also spoke of its multiyear agreements with Lenovo, ASUS and Foxconn to develop mobile devices running on Intel chips. Both Lenovo and ASUS partner closely with Intel in the PC industry, and both have released tablets powered by Intel. Lenovo's K900's smartphone was also powered by Intel, but its most recent Vibe Z flagship switched to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.

Merrifield & Moorefield

Intel President Renee James said, "We have made significant advancements in our mobile computing" and also stated that "2014 will be a better year for Intel's smartphone business". Intel is basing those hopes on its two new 64-bit Atom processors, both of which are based on Intel's 22nm Silvermont microarchitecture. Following up on the Intel Bay Trail-T SoC chips showcased during Computex 2013 for the Tablet products that utilized the Silvermont architecture, the first to be release is Merrifield (a dual-core processor clocked at up to 2.13GHz) that's targeted at smartphones. Intel stated that Merrifield is the first chip to feature Intel's new "Integrated Sensor Solution" that managers sensor data even when the device is in a low power state. 

The second processor is codenamed Moorefield and is aimed at devices expected in the latter half of the year. Moorefield is a quad-core processor clocked at up to 2.3GHz, which will also include graphics and display enhancements.

As for graphics, Merrifield will feature the PowerVR Series 6 G6400, while Moorefield uses the G6430. Both are four cluster designs, the latter is just optimized for higher performance. This is roughly the same GPU specifications Apple uses in the iPhone 5S/iPad Air.

Benchmark Performance

Intel ran through a few benchmarks to showcase the new processors. At WebXPRT2013, a web browsing benchmark, Merrifield outperformed both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and Apple's iPhone 5S A7.

Graphics performance on GFXBench 2.7 was also better than Qualcomm and Apple, with Moorefield promising even better graphics performance.

Intel also showed off Merrifield's low power consumption, with its reference Android phone apparently lasting over 19 hours on the Battery XPRT2014 benchmark.

XMM 7260

Along with the new processors, Intel also unveiled its XMM 7260 LTE-Advanced processor. The chip, which is currently certified to run on 70 percent of LTE networks globally, provides speeds of up to 300Mbps downloading and 50Mbps uploading. Companies planning to use the chip include Acer, ASUS, Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung.

And finally, here's a look at Intel's mobile roadmap for 2014. Cherry Trail will be the 14nm update to Bay Trail, while SoFIA is the entry-level SoC Intel acquired via Infineon - originally a low-end ARM CPU, Intel has apparently altered it to run on Silvermont.