ARM Claims x86 Android Binary Translation on Intel SoC Hurting Efficiency

Subject: Processors, Mobile | April 30, 2014 - 07:06 PM |
Tagged: Intel, clover trail, Bay Trail, arm, Android

While we are still waiting for those mysterious Intel Bay Trail based Android tablets to find their way into our hands, we met with ARM today to discuss quite few varying topics. One of them centered around the cost of binary translation - the requirement to convert application code compiled for one architecture and running it after conversion on a different architecture. In this case, running native ARMv7 Android applications on an x86 platform like Bay Trail from Intel.

translate1.jpg

Based on results presented by ARM, so take everything here in that light, more than 50% of the top 250 applications in the Android Play Store require binary translation to run. 23-30% have been compiled to x86 natively, 20-21% run through Dalvik and the rest have more severe compatibility concerns. That paints a picture of the current state of Android apps and the environment in which Intel is working while attempting to release Android tablets this spring.

translate2.jpg

Performance of these binary translated applications will be lower than they would be natively, as you would expect, but to what degree? These results, again gathered by ARM, show a 20-40% performance drop in games like Riptide GP2 and Minecraft while also increasing "jank" - a measure of smoothness and stutter found with variances in frame rates. These are applications that exist in a native mode but were tricked into running through binary conversion as well. The insinuation is that we can now forecast what the performance penalty is for applications that don't have a natively compiled version and are forced to run in translation mode.

translate3.jpg

The result of this is lower battery life as it requires the CPU to draw more power to keep the experience close to nominal. While gaming on battery, which most people do with items like the Galaxy Tab 3 used for testing, a 20-35% decrease in game time will hurt Intel's ability to stand up to the best ARM designs on the market.

Other downsides to this binary translation include longer load times for applications, lower frame rates and longer execution time. Of course, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is based on Intel's Atom Z2560 SoC, a somewhat older Clover Trail+ design. That is the most modern currently available Android platform from Intel as we are still awaiting Bay Trail units. This also explains why ARM did not do any direct performance comparisons to any devices from its partners. All of these results were comparing Intel in its two execution modes: native and translated.

Without a platform based on Bay Trail to look at and test, we of course have to use the results that ARM presented as a placeholder at best. It is possible that Intel's performance is high enough with Silvermont that it makes up for these binary translation headaches for as long as necessary to see x86 more ubiquitous. And in fairness, we have seen many demonstrations from Intel directly that show the advantage of performance and power efficiency going in the other direction - in Intel's favor. This kind of debate requires some more in-person analysis with hardware in our hands soon and with a larger collection of popular applications.

More from our visit with ARM soon!

Author:
Subject: Processors, Mobile
Manufacturer: Intel

A Whole New Atom Family

This past spring I spent some time with Intel at its offices in Santa Clara to learn about a brand new architecture called Silvermont.  Built for and targeted at low power platforms like tablets and smartphones, Silvermont was not simply another refresh of the aging Atom processors that were all based on Pentium cores from years ago; instead Silvermont was built from the ground up for low power consumption and high efficiency to compete against the juggernaut that is ARM and its partners.  My initial preview of the Silvermont architecture had plenty of detail about the change to an out-of-order architecture, the dual-core modules that comprise it and the power optimizations included. 

slides01.jpg

Today, during the annual Intel Developer Forum held in San Francisco, we are finally able to reveal the remaining details about the new Atom processors based on Silvermont, code named Bay Trail.  Not only do we have new information about the designs, but we were able to get our hands on some reference tablets integrating Bay Trail and the new Atom Z3000 series of SoCs to benchmark and compare to offerings from Qualcomm, NVIDIA and AMD.

 

A Whole New Atom Family

It should be surprise to anyone that the name “Intel Atom Processor” has had a stigma attached to it almost since its initial release during the netbook craze.  It was known for being slow and hastily put together though it was still a very successful product in terms of sales.  With each successive release and update, Diamondville to Pineview to Cedarview, Atom was improved but only marginally so.  Even with Medfield and Clover Trail the products were based around that legacy infrastructure and it showed.  Tablets and systems based on Clover Trail saw only moderate success and lukewarm reviews.

slides02.jpg

With Silvermont the Atom brand gets a second chance.  Some may consider it a fifth or sixth chance, but Intel is sticking with the name.  Silvermont as an architecture is incredibly flexible and will find its way into several Intel products like Avoton, Bay Trail and Merrifield and in segments from the micro-server to smartphones to convertible tablets.  Not only that, but Intel is aware that Windows isn’t the only game out there anymore and the company will support the architecture across Linux, Android and Windows environments. 

Atom has been in tablets for some time now, starting in September of last year with Clover Trail deigns being announced during IDF.  In February we saw the initial Android-based options also filter out, again based on Clover Trail.  They were okay, but really only stop-gaps to prove that Intel was serious about the space.  The real test will be this holiday season with Bay Trail at the helm.

slides03.jpg

While we always knew these Bay Trail platforms were going be branded as Atom we now have the full details on the numbering scheme and productization of the architecture.  The Atom Z3700 series will consist of quad-core SoCs with Intel HD graphics (the same design as the Core processor series though with fewer compute units) that will support Windows and Android operating systems.  The Atom Z3600 will be dual-core processors, still with Intel HD graphics, targeted only at the Android market.

Continue reading our review of the Intel Bay Trail processor, Atom Z3770!!

Clover Trail+ versus ARM, the results may surprise you

Subject: General Tech | June 17, 2013 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: arm, clover trail, tegra 3

ARM might be in for more of a fight than we had thought if they want to keep their market share for the next generation of cellphones, assuming of course that they are sold in North America.  The Register posted about research recently done contrasting performance and power efficiency between several phone CPUs; the Lenovo K900 with a 2.0GHz Atom Z2580, a a Samsung Nexus 10 with a dual core 1.7GHz Cortex-A15, a Galaxy S4 phone running a "big.LITTLE" Exynos Octa with paired quad-core Cortex-A15 and Cortex A7 and even a Asus Nexus 7 with an Nvidia Tegra 3.  Those phones give a good representation of current generation technology and it seems that while the performance for the top phones was very similar, Intel's new ATOM did it with 2/3 the amperage, specifically an average of 0.85A  as opposed to the 1.38A of the second lowest competitor.  ATOM seems to have finally found a market segment it can do very well in as long as the price is right.

abi_results_large.jpg

"The industry analysts at ABI Research pitted a Lenovo smartphone based on Intel's Atom-based Clover Trail+ platform against a quartet of ARM-based systems, and Chipzilla's system not only kept pace with the best of them, but did so using less power."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

A last ride down Clover Trail? Asus' VivoTab Smart ME400C

Subject: Mobile | May 10, 2013 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: clover trail, asus, VivoTab Smart ME400C, atom

While the new Atom processors that we discussed are a long way off you can still pick up some interesting devices powered by the current generation.  The ASUS VivoTab Smart ME400C has a Z2760 @ 1.8GHz, 2GB DDR2 and a 64GB eMMC SSD which is not too shabby for a $400 device.  The 1366x768 resolution screen might not be the best but at 10.1" it is a reasonable choice for ASUS to make.  The Tech Report's testing showed you can expect about 10 hours of battery life and it is capable of running Windows 8 and legacy x86 software as opposed to the ARM powered WinRT tablets it competes with.  They do recommend you purhase the TranSleeve and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo seperately as you will save a good amount of money doing so.

TR_asusthing.jpg

"This Windows 8 tablet has an Atom processor, solid battery life, and a $430 price tag. Is it compelling as a tablet, and can it really double as a productivity PC?"

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

IDF: ZTE Shows Off New Geek Android Clover Trail+ Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | April 10, 2013 - 08:46 AM |
Tagged: zte, geek, Android, android 4.2, clover trail, Intel, idf, atom z2580

During the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, China, ZTE showed off its new Geek phone. The Geek is a 5" smartphone running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and powered by a 32nm Intel Clover Trail+ processor.

The ZTE Geek is not quite ready for release, but the internals are now official. Specifications include a dual core Intel Atom Z2580 processor clocked at 2GHz (HyperThreading allows 4 total threads), an integrated SGX 544MP2 GPU clocked at 533MHz, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. A 2300 mAh battery provides power for the device and can be recharged wirelessly in the ZTE Geek.

ZTE shows off Geek Android phone at IDF Beijing.jpg

Engadget goes hands-on with the ZTE Geek at IDF in Beijing, China.

On the outside, The ZTE Geek features a 5" capacitive multi-touch screen with a resolution of 1280x720 and Gorilla Glass protection. There is a 1MP fixed focus webcam above the display, and an 8MP camera with auto-focus and LED flash on the rear of the device.
The Geek smartphone is compatible with the following wireless connections:

  • GSM: 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
  • UMTS: 900 / 2100 MHz
  • WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n at 2.4GHz
    • DLNA, Wireles hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, and Wi-Fi Display
  • Bluetooth 3.0 LE
  • GPS (AGPS)

It also offers up an accelerometer, proximity, ambient light, compass, and gyro sensors. Engadget reports that the device on display at IDF is merely a prototype, and the glossy white finish and chassis material is subject to change. Naturally, there is no word yet on pricing, or when it will be released. The smartphone will likely not see an initial US release, however (if past Atom-powered phones are any indication).

What do you think about the ZTE Geek's design and specs? Personally, I'm still pining for the Lenovo K900 (another Clover Trail+ powered smartphone) to see a US release heh.

Source: Engadget

CES 2013: Lenovo Shows Off Clover Trail+ Powered K900 Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2013 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: CES, smartphone, Lenovo, k900, Intel, clover trail, Android, ces 2013

Lenovo has shown off a new Android smartphone at CES. However, in an interesting twist the new Lenovo K900 is powered by an Intel Atom processor rather than an ARM SoC. The K900 smartphone is constructed of a stainless steel alloy and poly-carbonate material. Lenovo has managed to pack all the hardware in a 6.9mm thin chassis that weights 162 grams. It will come in one of four colors, including gold, silver, and grey in a brushed aluminum pattern and one that has a diamond-plate design on the back cover.

The K900 features a 5.5” IPS touchscreen display protected by Gorilla Glass 2 and with a resolution of 1920x1080. The chassis also hosts a front-facing webcam with an 88-degree field of view and a rear 13MP (F1.8) camera with a dual LED flash.

Lenovo K900_Clover Trail(plus).jpg

The outside is neat, but it is the internal specifications where the Lenovo K900 gets interesting. The smartphone is powered by an Intel Clover Trail+ SoC. While Intel is not yet providing details on the new processor, Engadget speculates that the SoC will be the Intel Atom Z2580, which is a dual core Clover Trail successor running at up to 2GHz. The K900 will also include 2GB of RAM and between 16GB and 64GB of internal storage (plus a microSD card slot). The phone will be running Android along with Lenovo’s Le Phone skin on top (though it can reportedly be disabled).

All in all it looks like a really slick smartphone from the specifications list. Battery life and performance are still unknown, but I’m excited to see benchmarks of this once it is released. Unfortunately, it is not headed to the United States at this time. Instead, the Lenovo K900 will be available in China starting in April of this year. Pricing should be available closer to the product’s release date. Engadget has the full press release along with hands on videos with the hardware.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget
Author:
Manufacturer: Intel

Ultrabooks 2.0

Intel is a yearly presence at CES and typically have a few interesting things to talk about.  Last year we got to see Will.I.Am on stage telling us all about how the Ultrabook has changed his artistic life.  Oddly enough, things have not changed dramatically for the company.  Ultrabooks have inherited the latest Ivy Bridge processors which were released last Spring.  Medfield is still the primary cell phone processor for Intel.

intc_01.JPG

The first area they covered  is the cellphone market.  Medfield is still the go-to processor and Intel claims that it has better performance and battery life than even the latest Qualcomm products.  Intel is introducing a new reference phone for emerging markets around the world codenamed Lexington.  Based on the Z2420 and the XMM6265 modem, this budget smartphone will be Android based with certain optimizations instituted by Intel in collaboration with Google.

Intel has achieved more wins throughout the next few months.  Acer, Safaricom, and Lava will all be announcing new smart phones based on Intel silicon.  Details of these products will be released later in the quarter.

intc_02.JPG

Medfield will be replaced by Clover Tail+ and then further on with their next gen 22 nm product.

Click to read about more of Intel's CES 2013 coverage.

Samsung Launching ATIV 500T and 700T Windows 8 Convertible Tablets

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 19, 2012 - 05:14 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, saumsung, Ivy Bridge, Intel, clover trail, atom, ativ 700t, ativ 500t

Samsung is the latest company to announce its fleet of dock-able tablet computers running the full version of Windows 8. Launched under the ATIV Smart PC brand, the company is offering up two models depending on the amount of computing horsepower you need to get work done. Specifically, Samsung is launching the Series 5 ATIV Smart PC 500T and the Series 7 ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T. Both models will be available for purchase on October 26th for $749.99 and $1,199.99 respectively.

Samsung Series 5 Slate: ATIV Smart PC 500T

The Samsung Series 5, also known as the ATIV Smart PC 500T is a 11.6” tablet powered by Intel’s recently released Clover Trail-based Atom processor platform. It measures 11.6” x 7.2” x 0.38” and weighs 1.65 pounds.The tablet features a LED-backlit touchscreen display with a resolution of 1366x768. A 2.0 megapixel camera and dual 0.8W speakers are also included. The tablet itself can further be paired with a keyboard dock that has a full qwerty keyboard and touchpad.

Samsung ATIV 500T.jpg

Internal specifications include an Intel Atom Z2760 processor (running at 1.5 GHz and featuring dual cores with 256 KB each), 2GB of DDR2L memory, and a 64 GB solid state drive. Radios and networking gear includes 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. [The specifications sheet further claims Gigabit LAN support but there does not appear to be any Ethernet jacks on the tablet so I’m assuming it’s solely marketing to say that it supports connecting to a Gigabit LAN (over Wi-Fi)...] The 500T is powered by a two cell, 30 watt-hour lithium-polymer battery.

The external IO ports include a micro HDMI port, one USB 2.0 port, a combination headphone/mic jack, a microSD card slot, and a docking connector.

The Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T will come pre-loaded with the 32-bit version of Windows 8. The tablet itself is $649.99 and with the keyboard dock, it will be $749.99.

Samsung Series 7: ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T

If you need more computing power, Samsung is offering up its newest Series 7 slate, the ATIV 700T. This tablet is slightly thicker than the 500T at 11.6” x 7.2” x 0.5”. It is also a bit heavier at 1.89 pounds versus 1.65 pounds with the 500T. That tradeoff in size nets you significantly better hardware, however. It features a LED-backlit touchscreen with a resolution of 1920x1080. It further includes the same 1.6W (2 x 0.8W) stereo speakers, but adds a second 8MP rear camera in addition to the 2MP front facing webcam.

Samsung ATIV 700T.jpg

Internally, the 700T is packing an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5-3317U processor. This chip is a dual core part with HyperThreading for a total of four threads along with 3 MB of L3 cache. The 700T features 4 GB of DDR3 at 1600MHz and a 128GB solid state drive. Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi also comes standard. The 700T also has a larger 4 cell Li-Po battery (rated at 49 Wh) to power the faster Intel processor.

External IO includes one micro HDMI, one USB 3.0, a combination headphone/mic jack, docking connector, and a micro SD card slot.

The Series 7 ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T comes bundled with a dock as standard and it has a starting price of $1,199.99. It will come pre-loaded with the 64-bit version of Windows 8.

Read more about Windows 8 convertible tablets at PC Perspective.

Source: Samsung

Podcast #221 - Intel Clover Trail, AMD's Trinity Desktop APUs, the Samsung 840 SSD with TLC, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2012 - 02:56 PM |
Tagged: trinity, TLD, ssd, Samsung, podcast, nand, clover trail, APU, a8, A10-5800k, a10, 830

PC Perspective Podcast #221 - 10/04/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Intel Clover Trail, AMD's Trinity Desktop APUs, the Samsung 840 SSD with TLC, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom Allyn Malvantano, and Scott Michaud

Program length: 1:21:21

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:23 Intel Clover Trail Details
    2. 0:16:05 Why Scott still uses Windows
      1. Mike Capps on Games for Windows Live
    3. 0:25:30 Borderlands 2 PhysX Testing
    4. 0:32:30 AMD Trinity A10-5800K APU Review
    5. 0:39:50 Samsung 840 Series 250GB SSD Full Review
  2. 0:49:00 This podcast is brought to you by alxTech
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:52:00 4TB Western Digital Hard Drives
    2. 0:53:45 Apple A6 uses hand drawn ARM cores
    3. 0:57:00 Steam for Linux beta in October
    4. 0:58:45 AMD Vishera Info Leaks
    5. 1:00:20 ASUS Shows silent Trinity APU builds
    6. 1:01:30 Why you care that AMD can't keep up
    7. 1:04:45 Kickstart TINY PCs
  4. Closing:
    1. 1:06:20 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Corsair Dominator Platinum Memory
      2. Jeremy: More gaming
      3. Josh: A fun, new combo!
      4. Allyn: Samsung SSD 840 - TLC, baby!
      5. Scott: Corsair HX 850W Power Supply
      6. Tim: Black Mesa: Source!
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Author:
Subject: Processors, Mobile
Manufacturer: Intel

Hardware Specifications

Ahead of the release of Windows 8 and the onslaught of Windows 8-based tablets that will hit the market next month, Intel is taking the cover off the processor that many of these new devices will be powered by, the Intel Atom Z2760 previously known by the codename of Clover Trail.  Intel is claiming that the Atom Z2760 is the beginning of a completely new Atom direction, now a complete SoC (system-on-a-chip) design that lowers power requirements, extends battery life and allows Intel's x86 architecture to find its way into smaller and more portable devices. 

atom_b_rgb_3000.png

At it's heart, Clover Trail is based on the same Saltwell CPU core design that was found in the Medfield processor powering a handful of smartphones over in Europe.  That means the Atom lineup remains an in-order architecture with a dual-issue command structure - nothing incredibly revolutionary there. 

die_diagram.jpg

Unlike Medfield though, the Atom Z2760 is a dual-core design that still enables HyperThreading for four-threaded operating system integration.  The cores will run at 1.8 GHz and it includes 1MB of L2 cache divided between the two cores evenly.  Memory is connected through a dual-channel 32-bit bus to low power DDR2 memory running at 800 MHz and capacities up to 2GB. 

Continue reading our information on Intel's Clover Trail Atom Z2760 SoC!!