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Sep 18, 2012

Intel 2 GHz Atom Medfield with Disastrous Performance

We’ve already detailed that Intel’s x86 Atom has very slim chances when taking on Qualcomm’s ARM processors or any other new generation ARM mobile CPU from Samsung or Nvidia. Intel’s IDF 2012 Medfield launch is plagued by catastrophic benchmark results.

Many industry insiders were wondering and pointing out that Intel was very silent about smartphones during this year’s IDF event in San Francisco, California and the main reason for this is the fact that the platform has no chance to impress in the face of ARM’s army. Intel’s architecture may be power efficient by x86 standards, but when compared with ARM Cortex A9 or Cortex A15 processors, Medfield looks like Mr. Bean’s Mini next to a brand new BMW. Mini Cooper might sound good and it is a well-known brand just like Intel is, but it is very important to point out the model and performance as we’re definitely not talking about a Mini Cooper JCW. Despite having a huge software development team, Intel has not been able to get a decent level of performance in Google’s Android and the current benchmark results place the CPU a whole 33% behind a meager OMAP 4430 processor, designed and built by Texas Instruments. The guys at gsmarena.com have already got their hands on the new Motorola RAZR i that uses the new 2 GHz Medfield and the test results are painting an ugly picture.

Compared with a rather new generation SnapDragon S4 running at just 1.5 GHz, the 2 GHz Medfield needs 202% S4’s benchmark time to complete the test, GSMarena reports. This basically makes Intel’s flagship half as slow as a normal SnapDragon S4 Krait. There is a single area where Intel’s software team has managed a clear success and that’s the Sun Spider benchmark where the 2 GHz Medfield is the absolute best. Other than that, any other benchmark is only going to reveal just how weak the computing performance is and the PowerVR SGX540 iGPU is very old and can’t really compare with Nvidia’s Tegra 3 or Qualcomm’s Adreno 320.

The most important aspect is that, despite the fact that Intel has the absolute manufacturing technological superiority, ARM CPUs are still able to offer better performance and better power consumption. Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4430 for example is still being built in 45nm technology while the new Medfield is a 32nm CPU. Nvidia’s Tegra 3 is a 40nm chip built at TSMC and only Qualcomm’s Krait is a 28nm processor, but it also brings considerably better battery life along with very high single-threaded performance. Intel really needs a 22nm Atom processor to be able to put up a decent fight against today’s mid-range ARM CPUs.

On the other hand, by then, quad-core Cortex A15 chips will be out and we’re not sure Intel’s future dual-core 22nm SoC will be able to compete successfully even if the company manages to keep its manufacturing superiority. Tegra 3 is roughly twice faster than Tegra 2, but Tegra 4 is projected to be ten times faster so Intel’s future dual-core 22nm Atom won’t have it easier than Medfield.

Motorola RAZR i Phone Powered by Intel 2 GHz Medfield SoC
Image credits to SlashGear

Motorola RAZR i Phone Powered by Intel 2 GHz Medfield SoC
Image credits to SlashGear

First Medfield 2 GHz Benchmarks Inside Motorola RAZR i Phone
Image credits to GSMArena

Samsung Starts Mass Production of 2GB LPDDR3 Mobile Memory

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung has announced the mass production of its 2GB low-power double-data-rate 3 (LPDDR3) RAM for mobile devices.

According to Samsung, the new RAM is capable of offering data transfer rates at up to 1600 megabits per second (Mbps) per pin, almost 50 percent faster than LPDDR2 DRAM. When it comes to packages, it can deliver transfers of up to 12.8 gigabytes per second (GB/s). The new products is also expected to provide support for full HD video playback and even beyond, even on screens that are larger than 4-inch.

“We will embrace greater technical cooperation with industry leading mobile device makers, as we continue to provide timely next-generation memory solutions like 2GB LPDDR3 DRAM, in helping to accelerate growth of the mobile memory market,” Wanhoon Hong, executive vice president, Memory Sales & Marketing, Samsung Electronics, commented.

Samsung 2GB LPDDR3 Mobile Memory
Image credits to Samsung

Intel-Based RAZR, Motorola RAZR i

Motorola’s first Intel-based smartphone is now official, and it promises great performance and an outstanding experience to all users.

The new smartphone is powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is expected to receive an upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at an unspecified moment in the future. Not only does it feature a 2GHz processor inside, but it also comes with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced screen (960×540 pixels) that spans from edge to edge, thus making the phone seem smaller. According to Motorola, the new phone is capable of offering true multitasking capabilities to its users, while also providing them with a great experience when viewing HD content. Moreover, the smartphone was unveiled with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, capable of snapping up to 10 pictures in a second when in burst mode, and also designed to record HD videos. “And with the illuminated sensor located on the back and High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities, you’ll get a great shot, even in challenging lighting conditions,” Motorola notes.

The phone was also built for durability, with Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the screen and DuPont KEVLAR covering its body. Not to mention that there is a splash-guard coating protecting it from splashes. Motorola also promises prolonged battery life from the new device, a feature enhanced through the inclusion of the SMARTACTIONS application to set specific rules related to phone usage. Other software also comes pre-loaded on the new mobile phone, including Motorola’s Guide Me app, Circles Widget, Google Maps for Android, and access to thousands of other applications via the Google Play Store. “Together with Intel, we’re redefining what people can expect from a mobile device. A camera that launches in an instant, Web pages that load blazingly fast and a device that’s the perfect balance of screen size and fit in hand,” said Jim Wicks, senior vice president, Consumer Experience Design, Motorola Mobility.

“RAZR i delivers just that when you put an Intel-fast processor in a beautifully designed phone and add in extra-long battery life.” Motorola’s new device should hit the market in the U.K., France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico next month, while also being set to arrive in other countries shortly after. A white flavor of the device will be launched in select markets.

Motorola RAZR i
Images credits to Motorola

RIM BlackBerry 10 L-Series Handset New Photos Available

New photos of an upcoming L-Series handset running under Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 10 operating system have made an appearance online.

We have already had the chance to have a look at some leaked images with the handset, and new ones are now available for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of BlackBerryItalia. The same as the units spotted in previous leaks, these ones appear to be test devices, since they still feature serial numbers attached to them.

No new details are being unveiled on the handset through these photos, but more info on it is expected to emerge in the near future, as RIM is preparing to kick off the BlackBerry Jam Americas developer conference. The first BlackBerry 10 smartphones are expected to arrive on shelves in early 2013 with full touchscreens, the same as the handset in these leaked images.

BlackBerry 10 L-series handset, London
Images credits to BlackBerryItalia

Leaked BlackBerry OS for Bold 9790 and Curve 9360

Owners of a BlackBerry Bold 9790 and BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone can now download and install a new platform release on their devices, namely OS

The software has leaked online, and it does not come as an official update for the smartphones, which means that users will have to be cautious when installing it. According to the guys over at CrackBerry, the software should be safe to install, but it is not supported by RIM, nor by wireless carriers that sell the two smartphones.

While specific info on what was included in the new OS flavor is not available as of now, you can head over to the CrackBerry forums to learn more on what users have found via this thread for Bold 9790 and on this thread for Curve 9360.

BlackBerry Bold 9790
Image credits to RIM

Hasselblad €5,000 / $6,533 Lunar Camera

We thought that Sony's A99 and the 24.3-Megapixel Compact Camera were expensive, but we may have been speaking too soon. Back then, Hasselblad hadn't launched the Lunar mirrorless interchangeable camera.

There is no question that this is an “ultimate luxury” product. If the design and specs aren't enough to qualify it as such, the price definitely is. Hasselblad will ship the Lunar starting in the first quarter of 2013, for €5,000, which just so happens to be equal to $6,533, according to exchange rates. Of course, we know how seldom exchange rates are reflected in prices, so there are high odds that the US tag will be of $5,000 or so. It is still very high though. The Hasselblad Lunar features an APS-C 24.3-megapixel image sensor and a 25-point AF (autofocus) system. Coupled with an OLED viewfinder, this all should be more than enough to shoot full HD video (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a good frame rate, and the optional twin flash and external microphone can only help.

The light sensitivity is more than decent, though not spectacular (100-16,000), while the shutter release is of 0.02s. At the end of the day, 10fps burst shooting should be easy to accomplish, and video can be recorded normally or in one of several smart modes, like face recognition. Other features include a 3-inch HD display, custom grips, E-mount and A-mount lens support, and a curved and smooth frame made of carbon fiber, leather, gold, wood and other materials, mostly precious ones. Thus, the Lunar has such a price mostly due to its looks and frame, not its tech specs. It will be interesting to see how many people believe these elements are important enough to justify the aforementioned tag. People interested in Hasselblad and its products only need to drop by this page and click on one of the subjects there.

Hasselblad Lunar luxury camera
Image credits to Hasselblad

AMD Demos 5 GHz FX-8350 and 4 GHz Trinity at IDF

During this year’s IDF event in San Francisco, California, Intel was pretty silent about x86 computing performance and quite happy to show its new iGPU, but the company has also emphasized on other related technologies such as wireless connectivity and mobility.

The new Haswell architecture is not really impressive when it comes to x86 performance and all the improvements are expected to range somewhere below the 10% mark. On the other hand, AMD is the underdog of the x86 performance and, in an attempt to crash Intel’s party, it has called some IDF visitors to its hotel suite in the vicinity of the IDF event. The company had some impressive gaming systems on display and one of them was powered by an AMD FX-8350 processor running at 5 GHz while the other was using a 4 GHz Trinity, Hardware.fr reports.

Both systems used a water cooling solution, but these frequencies are nevertheless very impressive. The photo of the FX system was taken after the frequency was modified to 4.8 GHz, but initially the CPU was running at a full 5 GHz.

AMD IDF 2012 Demonstration
Images credits to hardware.fr

Zotac GTX 660 Ti Overclocked to GTX 680 Performance Level

Traditional Nvidia video card manufacturing partner Zotac has an interesting GeForce GTX 660 Ti implementation with a custom PCB design and probably the test cooling system ever to be mounted on a GTX 660 Ti video card.

The official name of the product is Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti Extreme and the huge PCB is the same with the one used on the company’s GTX 670 Extreme line, featuring two power connectors and a 13-phase VRM power circuit. There is one 8-pin power connector and a 6-pin one while the cooling system has impressive 8-millimeter heatpipes and two fans with a 92-millimeter diameter. Although the 8-mm heatpipes are more efficient than classic 6-mm ones and usually three of such heatpipes do a better job than five 6-mm pipes, the company has decided to use no less than five of them.

The copper cooler is nickel-plated so there shouldn’t be much worry about oxidation, Expreview reports. The performance of the card is really impressive as the factory overclock makes it faster than a standard GTX 670 while the impressive 1401 MHz overclock managed by the hardware experts at Expreview.com and the 7608 MHz memory frequency made the card compete with a GTX 680.

Zotac GeForce GTX 660 Ti Extreme Video Card
Images credits to expreview

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