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A closer look at iPhone 3G S Cortex-A8 ARM and PowerVR chips

post #1 of 42
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The iPhone 3G S uses a Samsung processor incorporating an ARM Cortex-A8 processor core and Imagination's PowerVR SGX graphics core to achieve a significant new class of speed while remaining backwardly compatible with existing iPhone apps.

The use of the Cortex-A8 core has been cited by multiple sources, including an analysis by AnandTech. This makes the new iPhone 3G S very similar in terms of processor design to the Palm Pre, although Palm's phone uses a device built by Texas Instruments.

ARM Processors

The Cortex-A8 is a seventh generation CPU core design licensed by ARM to a variety of manufacturers. The vast majority of all smartphones, handheld games and other mobile devices use ARM processors.

The Cortex-A8 class is referred to in general terms as ARMv7, not to be confused with ARM7, which was actually a third generation ARMv3 used in the Apple eMate300 a decade ago. Previous generations of iPhone and iPod touch used an ARM11 processor, part of the ARMv6 generation.

Apple partnered with its British equivalent Acorn in the late 80s to adapt Acorn's RISC processor for use in mobile devices, forming the ARM partnership. Apple subsequently used a third generation ARM6 in its first Newton MessagePad in the early 90s.

By the time the company discontinued its Newton and eMate devices in 1998, ARM processors had become the most popular mobile processors available, in part due to ARM's licensing of its highly efficient technology to a variety of chip manufacturers. Steve Jobs sold batches of Apple's shares in the ARM partnership at a huge profit to help keep the company afloat.

When the company introduced the iPod in 2001, it used a fourth generation ARM7TDMI processor. The latest generations of the AirPort Extreme also use an embedded ARM processor.



S is for speed

The Cortex-A8 in the iPhone 3G S sports "a two-issue in-order core, capable of fetching, decoding and executing two RISC instructions in parallel," according to AnandTech's report, which also notes, "the ARM11 processor in the iPhone/iPhone 3G has a basic vector floating point unit, but the A8 adds a much more advanced SIMD engine called NEON. The A8 also has twice as many double precision FP registers as the ARM11."

"The combination of higher clock speeds, more cache and a dual-issue front end results in a much faster processor," the report states. "Apple claims the real world performance of the iPhone 3GS can be up to 2x faster than the iPhone 3G, and I believe thats quite feasible."

The report states that if the processor is running at 600MHz, it would draw three times the power of existing iPhone processors, but notes that in typical use, the device spends a lot of time in standby. Separately, Apple has detailed technologies for maximizing the performance of a processor by running it at less than its top rated clock speed while scheduling tasks more efficiently. This was done with the original iPhone.

As a result of new efficiency measures, Apple claims significantly longer battery life over the current iPhone 3G when using the iPhone 3G S for general processing tasks despite the big leap in performance and the extra power consumed.

Apple has increased the maximum rated battery life of the iPhone 3G S in WiFi internet browsing from 6 hours to 9 hours, video playback from 7 to 8 hours, and audio playback from 24 to 30 hours. Ratings for 3G browsing and talk time are unchanged, as the baseband processor that handles the intensive work of communicating with 3G data networks is independent from the general purpose ARM processor. Apple has bumped up rated 2G GSM talk time from 10 hours to 12.

SGX is for graphics

Just as ARM processor cores are the most widely used in mobile devices, Imagination Technology's PowerVR graphics cores are also extremely popular in embedded appliations, commonly appearing as integrated together with an ARM processor on System on a Chip (SoC) devices.

PowerVR started out in the late 90s as a rival to 3dfx in the desktop PC graphics processor market, with both makers also vying for inclusion into the Sega Dreamcast video console in 1998. However, by 2001 the company's third generation PowerVR began falling behind rival products from ATI and NVIDIA.

Imagination subsequently withdrew from the desktop market to focus on embedded graphics components with its highly efficient PowerVR MBX technology, which, like ARM, the company has widely licensed to a variety of device makers, including Apple.



The latest technology generation is branded PowerVR SGX. Anandtech reports that the new graphics architecture improves over MBX in part in that "pixel, vertex and geometry instructions are executed by a programmable shader engine, which Imagination calls its Universal Scalable Shader Engine (USSE)."

The report also states that Imagination's new SGX graphics cores range "from the PowerVR SGX 520 which only has one USSE pipe to the high end SGX 543MP16 which has 64 USSE2 pipes (4 USSE2 pipes per core x 16 cores). The iPhone 3GS, I believe, uses the 520 - the lowest end of the new product offering." It has not yet been confirmed what version of the SGX design the new iPhone 3G S uses.

However, the report noted that "in its lowest end configuration with only one USSE pipe running at 200MHz, the SGX can push through 7M triangles per second and render 250M pixels per second. Thats 7x the geometry throughput of the iPhone 3G and 2.5x the fill rate. Even if the SGX ran at half that speed, wed still be at 3.5x the geometry performance of the iPhone 3G and a 25% increase in fill rate. Given the 65nm manufacturing process, Id expect higher clock speeds than what was possible on the MBX-Lite. Also note that these fill rates take into account the efficiency of the SGXs tile based rendering engine."

Apple's video introduction of the new phone indicates significantly faster launching of and switching between applications and speedier browser rendering and other operations. Overall the company indicates up to a 2x performance improvement.
post #2 of 42
Sounds like S stands for smokin'!
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post #3 of 42
PowerVR MBX .... 2004?
post #4 of 42
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post #5 of 42
Thanks for the article.

I think we're entering a period where ARM and PowerVR technologies actually start accelerating in development, over the past decade where ARM7/9/10/11 have appeared slowly with minor improvements. Out of order A9 and multi-core will be here next year, Qualcomm have a custom design with dual-core already in their Snapdragon product, Apple appear to be developing their own product that is presumably more than a SoC - i.e., the ARM implementation will be custom or highly tweaked. Marvell's evolved StrongARM in the Sheeva processor is over a GHz already and cheap.

I can definitely see Apple moving OS X based products that aren't computers over to this architecture - the AppleTV surely one day will be on an ARM base, although they might go via a Pineview (Intel Atom + PowerVR SGX530 design) first (it's well overdue for an overhaul and cost reduction).
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

I can definitely see Apple moving OS X based products that aren't computers over to this architecture - the AppleTV surely one day will be on an ARM base, although they might go via a Pineview (Intel Atom + PowerVR SGX530 design) first (it's well overdue for an overhaul and cost reduction).

I think Atom + Tegra is more likely for the next AppleTV.
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post #7 of 42
I was going to say that I was ready to make the jump to iPhone 4 months ago--Sure am glad I waited! (I ordered 2 yesterday.)

But then I realized I may rue the purchase when the iPhone 3GSX is released in 2010... Can't win with tech!
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post #8 of 42
Very nice article and good information.

I don't understand why Apple doesn't just outright publish these specs on their web site like they do for desktop systems. Instead we have to poke and prod and tear apart a device for confirmation. People, like me, care about what's under the hood.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think Atom + Tegra is more likely for the next AppleTV.

Not likely. There's no need for x86 binary compatibility with the ATV. It doesn't run much beyond what's offered with ARM based OS X. If Apple has an architectural license for ARM and has invested 5 million in Imagination there's no way their going with product designed by "Johnny come lately" Intel and Nvidia for low power.
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post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

Thanks for the article.

I think we're entering a period where ARM and PowerVR technologies actually start accelerating in development, over the past decade where ARM7/9/10/11 have appeared slowly with minor improvements. Out of order A9 and multi-core will be here next year, Qualcomm have a custom design with dual-core already in their Snapdragon product, Apple appear to be developing their own product that is presumably more than a SoC - i.e., the ARM implementation will be custom or highly tweaked. Marvell's evolved StrongARM in the Sheeva processor is over a GHz already and cheap.

I can definitely see Apple moving OS X based products that aren't computers over to this architecture - the AppleTV surely one day will be on an ARM base, although they might go via a Pineview (Intel Atom + PowerVR SGX530 design) first (it's well overdue for an overhaul and cost reduction).

Apple didn't buy PA Semi and engage in expensive chip design to send their money to a 3rd party. With Imagination they not only get license to use PowerVR SGX but they can also use the VXE and VXD video encoder and decoder chips.

The AppleTV could easily play 1080p content with the appropriate Imagination VXD chip and it would sip watts as compared to trying to get a GPU to deliver the decoding.
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post #11 of 42
I'm not sure if Anandtech's assessment is correct. If Apple wants to take on Palm, they'd at least use the same level of technology as Palm's Pre. The Pre has a faster SGX 530 and a Cortex-A8.

If you ask me, Apple would be more future oriented with this thing, I think their using at least an equivalent SGX 530, though ideally they'd use the latest SGX 543 and the VXD for video playback. Also, why not use the much better A9? It's been available for at least a year. It has out-of-order processing and better power efficiency which would account for the better battery life.

That's what I'd do, Apple seems to update hardware every 2 years, or at least that's the trend I see happening. If they need this hardware to last two years, they should be using faster A9s and SGX 530s.
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by GRevolution View Post

I'm not sure if Anandtech's assessment is correct. If Apple wants to take on Palm, they'd at least use the same level of technology as Palm's Pre. The Pre has a faster SGX 530 and a Cortex-A8.

If you ask me, Apple would be more future oriented with this thing, I think their using at least an equivalent SGX 530, though ideally they'd use the latest SGX 543 and the VXD for video playback. Also, why not use the much better A9? It's been available for at least a year. It has out-of-order processing and better power efficiency which would account for the better battery life.

That's what I'd do, Apple seems to update hardware every 2 years, or at least that's the trend I see happening. If they need this hardware to last two years, they should be using faster A9s and SGX 530s.

Apple will defer to more power efficient designs generally. Since they are never going to laude the specs publically there's no reason for them to play spec one upmanship. It appears that the iPhone may be superior to the Palm Pre in battery life and if that's the case they will have wins in two areas

1. More mature platform
2. Longer battery life

That will be hard for anyone to overcome unless they are twice and good.
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post #13 of 42
Let's wait and see what the real-word performance is. If the iPhone 3Gs video is any indication, iPhone beats Pre hands down, no matter what the specs are. Remember, Apple's strength is the whole package. As mentioned several times above, there is a reason Apple does not advertise the specs. What matters is the user experience. I had an opportunity to play with Pre for 2-3 minutes. It does not feel faster that the current iPhone. May be there were more apps started or else, but I have a feeling the iPhone 3Gs will come out as a definite winner here.
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by GRevolution View Post

I'm not sure if Anandtech's assessment is correct. If Apple wants to take on Palm, they'd at least use the same level of technology as Palm's Pre. The Pre has a faster SGX 530 and a Cortex-A8.

If you ask me, Apple would be more future oriented with this thing, I think their using at least an equivalent SGX 530, though ideally they'd use the latest SGX 543 and the VXD for video playback. Also, why not use the much better A9? It's been available for at least a year. It has out-of-order processing and better power efficiency which would account for the better battery life.

That's what I'd do, Apple seems to update hardware every 2 years, or at least that's the trend I see happening. If they need this hardware to last two years, they should be using faster A9s and SGX 530s.

you don't know why apple chose the hardware they did. heat, battery life etc? spec whores are never happy. as long as it is "teh snappy" and has decent battery life, that's fine by me.

laugh out loud @ apple taking on Palm. try the other way around.
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post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

Very nice article and good information.

I don't understand why Apple doesn't just outright publish these specs on their web site like they do for desktop systems. Instead we have to poke and prod and tear apart a device for confirmation. People, like me, care about what's under the hood.

aw, everyone has so much more fun playing detective like this! being spoon fed all the info is no challenge.

Apple's well-known "cult of secrecy" is a product of their also well-known arrogance. but it is a very clever marketing strategy too. all that speculating and guessing and investigating in the blogsphere and media helps to support and hype its additionally well-known "reality distortion field," not to mention its products.

i think we all have a list of questions about Apple stuff we just can't find answers to. life's mysteries ...
post #16 of 42
I believe we still have more juice to squeeze out in the software department. But i think that is going to take another 2 years or so of refining. Because finally they are not trying to find the best method, the safest method, most convenient method etc... but the most power efficient method to code their OS and apps... and i think that will take a bit more time. iPhone OS is first step in that direction.

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post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Apple will defer to more power efficient designs generally. Since they are never going to laude the specs publically there's no reason for them to play spec one upmanship. It appears that the iPhone may be superior to the Palm Pre in battery life and if that's the case they will have wins in two areas

1. More mature platform
2. Longer battery life

That will be hard for anyone to overcome unless they are twice and good.

exactly right. the Pre's big hardware weak spot is poor battery life. that's a major issue for most, if not all, consumers.
post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I believe we still have more juice to squeeze out in the software department. But i think that is going to take another 2 years or so of refining. Because finally they are not trying to find the best method, the safest method, most convenient method etc... but the most power efficient method to code their OS and apps... and i think that will take a bit more time. iPhone OS is first step in that direction.

It'll probably coincide with their custom SoC designs. I'm gonna guess that Apple's going to differentiate themselves in power management. ARM is known to be a very efficient core but what's going to separate the "men from the boys" is going to be getting that extra 10-20 %.

Next year they'll probably move to AMOLED and it could be the first line of products using their own designed chips or that could come this year.

I believe Apple will be designing a class of hardware that sits smack dab in the middle of today's hardware.

Look at the talent they've added in just the last year.

Mark Papermaster - PPC boy genius
Ivan Krstic - Security mastermind
Bob Drebin - AMD/ATI graphics guru
Raja Koduri - another AMD/ATI graphics stalwart

It's like watching the Yankees clean up in free agency.

These hires aren't just about the iPhone. These hires about making the Mac a graphics powerhouse "soup to nuts" iPhone to iMac.

The brilliant part is the tech press at large doesn't even see, which means they fail to comprehend, the end around that Apple's doing with Intel.
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post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

It'll probably coincide with their custom SoC designs. I'm gonna guess that Apple's going to differentiate themselves in power management. ARM is known to be a very efficient core but what's going to separate the "men from the boys" is going to be getting that extra 10-20 %.

That is a good point. While these new CPUs (ARM, C2D, Atom) are touted as being energy efficent for their classes, and Apple cant do much about that, there are lot of other chips they can make more efficient. That really is how Apple will shine.
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post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadow View Post

Let's wait and see what the real-word performance is. If the iPhone 3Gs video is any indication, iPhone beats Pre hands down, no matter what the specs are. Remember, Apple's strength is the whole package. As mentioned several times above, there is a reason Apple does not advertise the specs. What matters is the user experience. I had an opportunity to play with Pre for 2-3 minutes. It does not feel faster that the current iPhone. May be there were more apps started or else, but I have a feeling the iPhone 3Gs will come out as a definite winner here.

Even with a slightly less capable GPU the OS X still trumps anything WebOS can do. I think there approach with WebOS and their Mojo SDK is great, since its opposite of how Apple is doing things and its allowing them to get in the mix faster but we are kidding ourselves if we think the Palm Pre will trounce Apple in any real graphic capability at this point. Ive read their developer APIs dont even tie to the GPU at this point. Its like buying a formula one racer and then putting my grandmother behind the wheel, its highly capable HW but you know shell just be 25mph around the track with turn signal* on in the wrong direction the whole time.


* She had a turn signal added for the example.
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post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Even with a slightly less capable GPU the OS X still trumps anything WebOS can do. I think there approach with WebOS and their Mojo SDK is great, since its opposite of how Apple is doing things and its allowing them to get in the mix faster but we are kidding ourselves if we think the Palm Pre will trounce Apple in any real graphic capability at this point. Ive read their developer APIs dont even tie to the GPU at this point. Its like buying a formula one racer and then putting my grandmother behind the wheel, its highly capable HW but you know shell just be 25mph around the track with turn signal* on in the wrong direction the whole time.


* She had a turn signal added for the example.

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post #22 of 42
So the iPhone 3G S will deliver close to or slightly better than Wii graphics capability? That sounds good. (I'm serious, not being sarcastic here).
post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

...The brilliant part is the tech press at large doesn't even see, which means they fail to comprehend, the end around that Apple's doing with Intel.

Well, in the mobile space Intel can pretty much give up on Apple using their tech. The tablet if released this year may use Atom though. Don't be too optimistic, nonetheless for Macs Intel will be there for at least another good 3 to 5 years.
post #24 of 42
By the way, where I am right now (Malaysia) iPhone 3G[S] is listed for a July launch... So, can't wait. I don't need the "snappiness" necessarily but the photo and video improvements will be good. Not a big mobile gamer at all BTW. In any case within two months it's time for my current iPhone 3G 8GB to go to a good home. Also around the time the warranty runs out, and, touch wood, no problems since Day 1.

One more thing... Is there OpenCL on the iPhone 3G/S ???
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think Atom + Tegra is more likely for the next AppleTV.

Cheapo Core 2 (Celeron/Pentium) and Nvidia Ion? Maybe. Just throwing it out there.
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

...laugh out loud @ apple taking on Palm. try the other way around.

Palm's international push won't be as strong as the iPhone. Since global telcos are now heavily invested in rolling out the next sexy iPhone to continue generating interest in people using their networks. Even during the recession.
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think Atom + Tegra is more likely for the next AppleTV.

Atom and Tegra are mutually exclusive, as Tegra is a system-on-a-chip with dual ARM11 cores and a low(ish) power nvidia GPU. Do you mean the ION/9400 platform perhaps? The dual-core Atom 330 and Ion would be good. but even that is overkill. There are many embedded 1080P decoders available that can be integrated into a 900-1000mhz Cortex-A8 based system-on-a-chip. The AppleTV could be the size of a deck of cards and still run great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRevolution View Post

If you ask me, Apple would be more future oriented with this thing, I think their using at least an equivalent SGX 530, though ideally they'd use the latest SGX 543 and the VXD for video playback. Also, why not use the much better A9? It's been available for at least a year. ...

It doesn't work that way. The embedded market moves far slower than PCs. Even when a processing core is finished, it has to go through extensive testing and verification. And then that's just the CPU core. Next, it has to be integrated with a handful of other components into a system-on-a-chip from one of the major manufacturers, and then that whole chip has to be tested, debugged, and validated. Finally, the system-on-a-chip has to be integrated with another handful of components into a full smartphone platform, and then tested/validated/debugged. All of this before a single product gets out.

The Cortex-A8 core was introduced in October 2005 and only now finding its way to production smartphones. Similarly, the multi-core Cortex-A9 architecture was finalized a long time ago, but companies using it like Texas Instruments (OMAP4) and Qualcomm (future Snapdragon) aren't even sampling chips yet. Last I heard, OMAP4 samples in Q3/Q4 2009 and will be in volume production H2 2010.

Also, The Cortex-A8 chip in the iPhone 3GS is 65nm.. A power efficient dual-core Cortex-A9 will need to be in 45nm to get a decent battery life.

And even if they could, why would they jump so far ahead when what they have now is so far ahead of the competition. A Super-iPhone running a dual-core Cortex-A9 running at 1.0+ Ghz and PowerVR SGX40+ would also create major platform problems with regards to making games and applications compatible with the legacy iPhones and iPods.
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Atom and Tegra are mutually exclusive, as Tegra is a system-on-a-chip with dual ARM11 cores and a low(ish) power nvidia GPU. Do you mean the ION/9400 platform perhaps? The dual-core Atom 330 and Ion would be good. but even that is overkill. There are many embedded 1080P decoders available that can be integrated into a 900-1000mhz Cortex-A8 based system-on-a-chip. The AppleTV could be the size of a deck of cards and still run great!
.

i think he did mean atom + ion. I've seen people mix up the tegra and ion chips a lot lately.
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

i think he did mean atom + ion. I've seen people mix up the tegra and ion chips a lot lately.

Yes, that is exactly what I did, not several hours after correcting someone on a different board for making that mistake.
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post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

It doesn't work that way. The embedded market moves far slower than PCs. Even when a processing core is finished, it has to go through extensive testing and verification. And then that's just the CPU core. Next, it has to be integrated with a handful of other components into a system-on-a-chip from one of the major manufacturers, and then that whole chip has to be tested, debugged, and validated. Finally, the system-on-a-chip has to be integrated with another handful of components into a full smartphone platform, and then tested/validated/debugged. All of this before a single product gets out.
to making games and applications compatible with the legacy iPhones and iPods.

This is exactly why I don't see Intel or Nvidia making any inroads to iPhone/iPods/ Apple TV etc.

The amount of work this it takes to design and debug SoC designs is what keeps so many vendors out the game and buying components "off the shelf" but Apple has already signaled their intentions to go this route with the PA Semi acquisition and acquisition of IBM and AMD talent.

If there was ever a time for Apple to eat its own dogfood ..now is that time.
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post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

This is exactly why I don't see Intel or Nvidia making any inroads to iPhone/iPods/ Apple TV etc.

The amount of work this it takes to design and debug SoC designs is what keeps so many vendors out the game and buying components "off the shelf" but Apple has already signaled their intentions to go this route with the PA Semi acquisition and acquisition of IBM and AMD talent.

If there was ever a time for Apple to eat its own dogfood ..now is that time.

Given that Intel is not your average company and has built ARM products in the past I don't see why you expect Intel not able to make inroads if they really really wanted to.

Especially given they already run in the AppleTV.

It seems that they really really want to but are taking their time about it. They aren't competing against ARM until at least Pineview/PineTrail (SoC) and that will go against the A9.

Intel is also going to have a process advantage over most other folks. If I remember right Atom is going 32nm this year.

But the MID market is DOA so these will go into netbooks and smartphones. Maybe an Apple tablet...
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Given that Intel is not your average company and has built ARM products in the past I don't see why you expect Intel not able to make inroads if they really really wanted to.

Especially given they already run in the AppleTV.

It seems that they really really want to but are taking their time about it. They aren't competing against ARM until at least Pineview/PineTrail (SoC) and that will go against the A9.

Intel is also going to have a process advantage over most other folks. If I remember right Atom is going 32nm this year.

But the MID market is DOA so these will go into netbooks and smartphones. Maybe an Apple tablet...

Intel the company that said "clockspeed is king" and then promptly cancelled Tejas after spending millions?

Intel the company that yammered about 60" LCOS displays for a grand and then promptly cancelled their development?

Intel the company that has announced the Atom which isn't close to be a mobile platform. Hell the 945 bridge eats up wattage like it has prader-willi ?

Intel the company that has been talking about delivering a decent GPU for years and the best they can do is the awful GMA 4xxx crap?

I don't think the process matters as much as the overall design. Intel is simply not a player in the ultra low wattage arena they are the plucky challenger hoping to unseat ARM and not the other way around.
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post #33 of 42
Will we see this technology in the new iPod Touch this Sept, along with a camera?

I've got my fingers crossed
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post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Intel the company that said "clockspeed is king" and then promptly cancelled Tejas after spending millions?

Intel the company that yammered about 60" LCOS displays for a grand and then promptly cancelled their development?

Intel the company that has announced the Atom which isn't close to be a mobile platform. Hell the 945 bridge eats up wattage like it has prader-willi ?

Intel the company that has been talking about delivering a decent GPU for years and the best they can do is the awful GMA 4xxx crap?

I don't think the process matters as much as the overall design. Intel is simply not a player in the ultra low wattage arena they are the plucky challenger hoping to unseat ARM and not the other way around.

Yep, Intel which is now executing well and dominating the CPU arena as it has in the past. Not quite the same Intel you detail above which couldn't get much right and was getting clobbered by AMD.

Atom is currently targeted toward a different market than ARM....netbooks/MID vs phones. But ARM is scaling up while Intel is scaling down. The A9 will be more power hungry than the A8 while Pineview will be less power hungry than Silverthorne.

IMHO, it's more defensive than offensive on Intel's part. I think they prefer to cannibalize their own notebook CPU sales with Atom than let ARM have an entry into the netbook arena with higher performing ARMs.

Regarding GPUs, amusingly, the Intel GMA500 is a licensed variant of the PowerVR SGX and the GMA4500 isn't that bad. The guys working on Larrabee is the same shop that worked on Nehalem. Maybe you've heard of that?

Larrabee should be a very interesting and with the number of cores they say it has the process steps really DO matter quite a bit. Whether it is a successful design remains to be seen but as a hugely cored CPU pretending to be a GPU it plays to Intel's strengths in x86 CPU design (heh) and compiler design (Intel's compilers are some of the best).
post #35 of 42
I look forward to the battle.

If they can beat ARM then they've got one hell of a platform because it's going to take a lot of work.

The thing I love about the mobile arena is this.

Wintel doesn't dominate.

Microsoft's software is not the defacto and Office isn't going to help them here.
Intel's deep pockets and considerable design skills in desktop/server CPU won't apply here

Intel has made some missteps but I give them kudos for executing very well once they left Netburst architecture.

Can they deliver with Larabee? That's going to be an answer I cannot wait to see.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I look forward to the battle.

If they can beat ARM then they've got one hell of a platform because it's going to take a lot of work.

While I think that Intel will always think of domination, I really do think their expectation to be much more limited (rational) for the next few years vis a vis the embedded CPU space. ARM is the big leader but it works differently than Intel or AMD. More like a successful Sparc with many licensees (and not just a couple).

Quote:
The thing I love about the mobile arena is this.

Wintel doesn't dominate.

Microsoft's software is not the defacto and Office isn't going to help them here.
Intel's deep pockets and considerable design skills in desktop/server CPU won't apply here

Intel has made some missteps but I give them kudos for executing very well once they left Netburst architecture.

Can they deliver with Larabee? That's going to be an answer I cannot wait to see.

The Wintel dominance helped more than it hurt in the PC space. They drove computing to a commodity market which neither IBM nor Apple was inclined to do. In an IBM or Apple dominated world we'd still be paying...well...Apple prices for computers.

That's okay today given we have the choice of cheaper Wintel boxes but if that was the ONLY choice then the PC market would be a heck of a lot smaller than today and the internet not nearly as evolved.
post #37 of 42
I wouldn't throw dirt on Intel just yet.

They see where the market is heading and know they need a product that can be competitive in the smartphone arena.

There is no doubt in my mind that Intel will use the process node as the 'hammer' to beat on ARM. We know intel will get to 22nm. Will ARM? Can ARM get below 22nm?

No matter what process node you look at, Intel will get there first. That's going to be an advantage. Whether its enough to chip away at ARMs dominance in embedded chips remains to be seen.
post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by domerdel2 View Post

PowerVR MBX .... 2004?

http://www.imgtec.com/News/Release/index.asp?NewsID=77

'791
post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

I wouldn't throw dirt on Intel just yet.

They see where the market is heading and know they need a product that can be competitive in the smartphone arena.

There is no doubt in my mind that Intel will use the process node as the 'hammer' to beat on ARM. We know intel will get to 22nm. Will ARM? Can ARM get below 22nm?

No matter what process node you look at, Intel will get there first. That's going to be an advantage. Whether its enough to chip away at ARMs dominance in embedded chips remains to be seen.

Well, ARM not so much as the fabs the licensees use. TSMC will go 22nm. Of course, how much of that capabiltiy will get used by Intel to build Atom remains to be seen.

Ti has said no to 32nm.
IBM however will go 22nm and they have an agreement with ARM. Samsung is part of that alliance I think.

Below 22nm? Heh, let's let IBM and Intel figure out 22nm first. IBM has supposedly done so already.
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Well, ARM not so much as the fabs the licensees use. TSMC will go 22nm. Of course, how much of that capabiltiy will get used by Intel to build Atom remains to be seen.

Ti has said no to 32nm.
IBM however will go 22nm and they have an agreement with ARM. Samsung is part of that alliance I think.

Below 22nm? Heh, let's let IBM and Intel figure out 22nm first. IBM has supposedly done so already.

I thought that Ti had said they weren't going to 32nm. I didn't know that TSMC was committed to going to 22nm and that IBM had an agreement with ARM.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. At a similar process node I would think that ARM will have an advantage over the x86 designs of Intel. However, if Intel can keep their x86 chips one process node ahead of ARM who knows?
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