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Cellphones Handhelds Intel Hardware

New Analysis Casts Doubt On Intel's Smartphone Performance vs. ARM Devices 94

MojoKid writes "A few weeks ago, the analyst company ABI Research published a report claiming that Intel's new CloverTrail+ platform (dual-core Medfield) for smartphones was significantly faster and more power efficient than anything ARM's various partners were shipping. If you follow the smartphone market, that was a very surprising claim. Medfield was a decent midrange platform when it launched in 2012, but Intel made it clear that its goal for Medfield was to compete with other platforms in its division — not seize the performance crown outright. Further investigation by other analysts has blown serious holes in the ABI Research report. Not only does it focus on a single, highly questionable benchmark (AnTuTu), the x86 version of that benchmark is running different code than the ARM flavors. Furthermore, the recently released Version 3.3 of the test is much faster on Intel hardware than on any of the other platforms. But even with those caveats in place, the ABI Research report is bad science. Single-source performance comparisons almost inevitably are."
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New Analysis Casts Doubt On Intel's Smartphone Performance vs. ARM Devices

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @12:31PM (#44262303)

    I design chips and work for intel.

    Clover Trail is significantly more power efficient than Medfield because it has a lot more power control stuff in it, so more of it is turned off most of the time. This is not a big secret as far as I know.

    The rest of the phone consumes power too, particularly the screen. So YMMV.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @01:05PM (#44262637)

    What's really hilarious is that this supposedly "rigged" benchmark got almost zero press (never posted on Slashdot or mentioned on major tech websites) when it first came out. Now the ARM religion has to wage a jihad on anybody who claims that it is physically possible to use silicon that doesn't include royalty payments to the Church of ARM to run your smartphone.

    Using my own ARM-based smartphone and the Dexplorer app, I looked at Antutu and other common Android benchmarks. One interesting thing that stood out was that Antutu uses the NDK (i.e. there are C-compiled libraries for both ARM + x86 ABIs). The other benchmarks like quadrant and Linpack were pure java based. Basically what I'm seeing is that the Clovertrail+ x86 hardware absolutely is in the same ballpark as the snapdragon 600 for performance, but that the ARM vendors and Android developers have been optimizing Dalvik for the ARM architecture since 2009 while little has been done for x86. Once a real compiler like GCC gets to generate C-code for the x86 Atoms though (and also for the ARM parts BTW, it's a level playing field), then we see that Clovertrail+ puts up decent competition for modern ARM chips in the same power envelope.

    As for the usual: "Intel cheats using compilers!" whine, please take a big dose of vitamin STFU. I've been bored to death for over a decade by the drone of the ARM jihadists who claim that their architecture is so magical that you can literally knock back a fifth of Tequila and vomit up a perfectly optimized web browser before breakfast. If ARM is truly so beautiful and if the engineers at ARM are truly such geniuses, then it should be trivial for them to implement compilers that blow away x86.

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