Smartphones, tablets, and notebooks keep getting more powerful… but that doesn’t mean they have to become more power hungry. There’s a race on to make chips that don’t just offer higher performance, but which are also more efficient than previous models.
Intel’s been making pretty big strides in reducing power consumption with its Bay Trail and Haswell chips, and now the company’s taking aim at graphics processors. Intel is demonstrating a new 22nm tri-gate GPU that it says is 40 percent more efficient.
That could lead to mobile devices with longer battery life… or products with the same battery life but significantly more powerful graphics performance.
Here’s a roundup of tech news from around the web.
- Intel develops GPU tech that could offer 40-percent more efficient graphics chips
By better regulating voltage, going to sleep while not in use, and implementing a few other tweaks, Intel’s new graphics processor can use 40 percent less energy while offering the same performance as a similar chip. [PC World]
- Intel says mini desktops like the NUC went from almost 0 to over a million sold between 2012 and 2013
Apparently most of the mini PCs are being sold to businesses looking for something compact, but easier to upgrade and repair than an all-in-one PC. I suspect Liliputing readers, on the other hand, are probably more likely to pick one up for use as a home theater PC. [Ars Technica]
- “OK Google, Call my lawyer”
Google voice search for Android now lets you say “text my husband” or “call my mom” (with a little setup first). Basically you can set nicknames like “mom” for your contacts. [Google]
- Pipo Work W1 tablet features 10″ display, Bay Trail CPU, Windows software
It also looks an awful lot like a Microsoft Surface… and has the keyboard cover to match. [Padhz]
- Sony markets its waterproof MP3 player in a bottle of water… in a vending machine
Don’t expect to find your next MP3 player in a water bottle (unless you dunk it in there yourself), but as marketing goes, this move is pretty clever. [The Verge]
- Archos 64 Xenon phone/tablet with 6.4 inch display on the way?
A few unannounced Archos products are starting to show up online, including what appears to be a 6.4 inch phone with 4GB of storage. [ArcTablet]
- Shenzhen Ze Feng Skytop ZeePhone tablet could be one of first 8 inch Win8 Bay Trail tablets with 3G
It’s been a few months since the first Windows 8.1 tablets with Intel Atom Bay Trail processors first hit the market. So far there haven’t been any models with mobile broadband support… but it looks like a Chinese tablet could be one of the first. I suspect it won’t be the last. [PadNews.cn]
- LG Chromebase all-in-one Chrome desktop hits Australia in April for $599 (about $540 US), likely cheaper in the US
It looks like LG’s first Chrome desktop will carry a pretty hefty price when it hits Australia… but most computers sold in Australia are pretty expensive. It’s likely the Chromebase will be cheaper when it hits other countries.[Channel News]
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I’m rooting for intel’s technology but not for the prices they would demand if they start to dominate. It almost seems like ARM is wanting to give their market away by not trying to provide/promote an open platform. If they had there’s no way intel would have any hope in mobile.
I agree, if the closed is best thinking from ARM doesn’t improve a lot then they’re just waiting for Intel to take over in a few years. ARM vendors need to standardize more and contribute significantly to the Linux kernel and other open software.
When the Baytail came out, I thought “the empire strikes back”. Still, I remember the days with Pentium 4 with focus on IPC and the move to lighter Pentium M and subsequent Core 2 Duo that saved Intel. On the other hand, AMD is going down hill with FX line, almost parallel to Intel’s Netburst era, struggling to keep the performance whilst keeping the power down, trying to squeeze the last few drops of IPC. Kaveri may see the benefit of HSA context switching, but AMD has already moved their server line to lighter Jaguar and ARM variants.
I wonder how long Intel will continue with x86 line for mobile devices. But so far, they seem to be doing well on their own.
Hmm. Maybe I’ll be getting an Intel powered smartphone in 1-2 years. Then I’ll say goodbye ARM. There are more Linux users than just Linus who would give ARM vendors the middle finger.
What’re the next steps after Merrifield? Get rid of PowerVR and integrate generation 8 Intel GPUs? Integrate more than just LTE? Maybe have 3G, WiFi and GPS as part of the SoC?
And of course the ARM vendors aren’t sitting still either.
I don’t see ARM vendors improving the whole closed source drivers and only updating them for a short period situation which Luis alluded to. Meanwhile, Intel has been dedicating more and more resources to open source Linux drivers for their chips and general contributions to open source software. They now even have a dedicated team: https://01.org/ .
For ARM vendors, there’s just the typical few patches here and there. Also, there isn’t much standardization among ARM vendors making Linux support more difficult. There’s a new proposed standard that was announced earlier this month but that’s specifically targeted for server platforms.
Present road map is 22nm Merrifield, which is coming out soon, then Moorefield may come out before the end of the year, and then next year we can look forward to 14nm Morganfield…
So far Merrifield will definitely still use a PowerVR Series 6 Rogue GPU, like Apple’s A7 SoC, and will remain a dual core SoC, along with being the first to be paired with Intel’s LTE chip to finally be able to offer it for more than 3G markets… Moorefield will be the performance improvement as it will increase the core count to quad and will likely still go with the Imagination PowerVR GPU solution…
We’ll have to wait and see if Intel will finally switch fully away from Imagination with Morganfield but by then Intel will have Gen 9 version of their GPU available… The power efficiency improvement should go a long way to making it viable for smaller devices like Smart Phones but the present Gen 7 and upcoming Gen 8 Intel GPU’s will only be seen from tablets on up…
As to when we’ll see LTE, etc. integrated remains to be seen but Intel plans to go there eventually. Intel just haven’t revealed a planned schedule yet for when to expect it… However, it’s likely that it may take till Morganfield before we see any significant integration…
Anandtech thought pretty highly of the Razr I (battery and speed were highlights of their review); I’d like to get an Intel phone one day, too.
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