We were fully aware about Intel has plans to release a smartphone/tablet processor built on the 14nm manufacturing process at some point before 2014. But when the official announcement was made (back in February at the Mobile World Congress 2012 when Intel revealed their Smartphone Platform Roadmap) there was no indication regarding the other CPUs Intel plans to manufacture using the new technology. In this context, today I’m reporting on a very interesting rumor that has recently surfaced at SemiWiki, claiming that the LTE-enabled Intel Atom Z2580 will be the first CPU Intel manufactured using the 14nm technology.
With sales of smartphones recently surpassing PC sales, it only makes sense for Intel to be more and more interested into providing the best CPU chips for smartphones and tablets. Their most recent effort, the Medfield chip, seems to be able to keep up performance-wise with current ARM architectures, but is generally believed to be lacking in the performance per watt ratio. This is exactly where Intel’s 14nm tri-gate manufacturing process comes in, as the new tech is expected to bring significant improvements to the power consumption rates in the upcoming Intel Atom Z2580. As the processor will use less battery, the latter will be able to properly fuel up the LTE radio. In other words, the Intel Atom Z2580 might be the first LTE-enabled chip that won't showcase a monstrous thirst for battery juice.
Although ARM has generally more power-efficient architectures, Intel is in control of the manufacturing process tech game (something even Nvidia’s CEO has hinted at), meaning they might be able to compensate design flaws by providing a better manufacturing technology. Granted, other silicon manufacturers such as IBM and Samsung have revealed 14nm wafers, but the general conception is that Intel’s tech is better than anything else. On a personal note, I can't wait to see ARM's response to the new Intel threat.
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