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Intel announces Lenovo, Motorola deals

Posted: 12 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:32nm platform? CMOS? Medfield?

Intel Corp. has officially rolled out the details of its Medfield 32nm platform for smartphones claiming that the main SoC consumes less than 800mW worst case. The company has also announced that it has deals in place with Lenovo and Motorola Mobility Inc. for products based on Medfield to appear in 2012.

Lenovo is scheduled to introduce the K800 smartphone based on Medfield for the Chinese market in the first half of 2012, Intel said. The second partnership, with Motorola, is due to bear fruit in the second-half of 2012 but the Intel executives declined to say whether that would be for smartphones only, or would also include tablet computers.

However, it would appear that Intel is aiming Medfield at gaining design wins in smartphones and first and foremost. It is for the smartphone that Intel has produced a reference design.

The Medfield platform is based on a 32nm CMOS SoC called Penwellpart numbered Atom Z2460which has as its CPU the single-core Saltwell implementation of the Atom processor architecture. However, the Penwell SoC comes with a number of other chips around it to complete the system functionality. It appears that a number of other companies have chips in the Medfield platform including Texas Instruments.

As expected, Intel has announced that the top clock frequency for Medfield is specified at 1.6GHz with the highest "burst-mode" power consumption described by Intel briefing documents as being about 750mW and less than 800mW. This is considerably lower than some industry observers had predicted.

However, this power consumption is for the Penwell SoC on its own. Intel did not discuss the power consumption of the full Medfield chipset including modem and power management ICs with up to 1Gb of DDR2 format DRAM.

Medfield details

Medfield platform overiew with Penwell SoC shown in blue. Source: Intel

Performance claims
Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the Mobile Wireless Group at Intel, said the Penwell chip has better performance at the same power consumption as rival SoCs and in some cases can demonstrate better performance at lower power consumption. In a slide presentation the company claimed it has performance leadership at competitive smartphone power consumption levels but produced no quantitative data to support this. It did show itself to being not the best performing chip for a 720p video playback benchmark performing, but also claimed to be far from the worst.

The Medfield chip includes the single-core Saltwall, 512kbytes of level-2 cache, the single-core SGX540 2-D/3-D graphics processor licensed from Imagination Technologies Group plc as well as blocks for high definition (1080p) multistandard video encode/decode and separate programmable image signal processor. The graphics processor is clocked at 400MHz.

High power consumption has been a criticism of Intel's SoC designs in the past and to save it Intel has added a raft of power management features.

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