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#IDF: Intel touts performance gains in Atom as mobile battle heats up

12 Sep 2012

SAN FRANCISCO: Intel is banking on major performance gains for its upcoming line of Atom processors for smartphones and tablets, a crucial market for the chip giant, as the industry moves out of the PC era.

Speaking at the company's 2012 IDF conference, Intel Fellow and chief platform architect for mobile and communications Ticky Thakkar said that the company's mobile platform holds a number of design which will allow it to distance itself from competitors in the mobile space.

"Our competitors will tout that they have multi-core because they cannot reach the levels we can with single-threaded," he said.

Thakkar predicted that the company would catch and surpass competitors in the coming years as it integrates its engineering strengths, including the 22nm fabrication process, into its mobile platform.

The company is set to add multi-core chips to its mobile line-up later this year with the release of the Clover Trail processors. Later this year, the 22nm process is slated to arrive on Atom with the Bay Trail processor line.

Thakkar noted a number of other engineering techniques which the company has used to squeeze ore performance out of its chips without sacrificing power efficiency.

He noted tools such as Burst performance technology, which allows a handset to operate the CPU at a higher power level for short periods of time.

By switching between a rest state and multiple "burst" pushes, the CPU is able to achieve a computing task in less time and with less power than by operating at a lower, steady power consumption

"When something heats up it takes a while to heat up, what we do is run a much higher power than the limit for very short durations," Thakkar explained.

"You don't encroach the thresholds and you get the work done quickly."

The presentation came as part of an effort by Intel to drum up interest in its developer community. Thakkar suggested that the company's dominant status in the PC and server market would only help Atom going forward.

"The Intel architecture is one of the most widely-supported platforms, you all are here because of the ecosystem," he told attendees.

"The developer tools today are used for everything from servers for developing applications for smartphones."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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