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A Christmas present for Neelycam - detailed Z2760 Atom power

Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:19 pm

Very illuminating article at Anandtech measuring Tegra 3 versus Atom Z2760 power draw in detail at the component level. Intel has a test system that measures power directly from the power delivery circuits for CPU and GPU (although Anand says the GPU rail may be powering other circuits, but only because the GPU power draw seems so high. Maybe the power efficiency explains why Apple likes PowerVR graphics so much too though.) Granted it's Tegra 3 which is made with TSMC's 40nm and not the newest ARM architecture at this point, but it bodes very well for the Intel's future in medium power draw mobile devices (tablets), then when Atom goes OoO and 22nm with Silvermont then 14nm all bets are off for the smartphone market too.
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Re: A Christmas present for Neelycam - detailed Z2760 Atom p

Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:42 pm

Interesting article there. I hope Neely gives it a read with his eggnog :-)

Interesting quote from the conclusion:
Here's where it really gets tricky: Intel built the better SoC, but Microsoft built the better device - and that device happens to use Tegra 3. The days of Intel simply building a chip and putting it out in the world are long gone. As it first discovered with Apple, only through a close relationship with the OEM can Intel really deliver a compelling product. When left to their own devices, the OEMs don't always seem to build competitive devices. Even despite Intel's significant involvement in Acer's W510, the tablet showed up with an unusable trackpad, underperforming WiFi and stability issues. Clover Trail has the CPU performance I want from a tablet today, but I want Apple, Google or Microsoft to use it. I do have hope that the other players will wake up and get better, but for next year I feel like the tune won't be any different. Intel needs design wins among the big three to really make an impact in the tablet space.

This is a big area where Intel needs to do some work. Unfortunately, just making great silicon is not enough these days. Could we see Intel branded products in the future in the same way we see Samsung branded products? Intel would like to avoid that path, but it may not have an option.
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Re: A Christmas present for Neelycam - detailed Z2760 Atom p

Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:36 pm

The elephant in the room for these tests is that Anand ran Windows RT back to back with Windows x86 and assumed it was an apples-to-apples comparison in terms of platform power. I'm guessing it's not, since Microsoft has a lifetime of experience with x86 but is a relative newcomer to ARM architecture.

That noted, it's definitely impressive that Intel has gotten an Atom platform down to tablet-ARM levels of power consumption while maintaining at least equivalent performance.
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Re: A Christmas present for Neelycam - detailed Z2760 Atom p

Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:57 am

"Better device" doesn't matter either. What matters is sales and profit from sales, and if Intel gets the right wins they can end up a lot better off financially than Nvidia despite Surface getting good reviews.

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