Intel processor

Still struggling to find its way into the mobile market, Intel has announced its Atom x3, x5, x7 SoCs for the smartphone and tablet markets. The new, simplified name tags should also hopefully help sort out Intel’s often confusing line-up of names and numbers.

As the naming scheme implies, the series begins with the low-end Atom x3, a re-branding of its integrated LTE and 3G SoFIA chips. Interestingly, the Atom x3 isn’t being built by Intel, but is rather being put together by a separate foundry, almost certainly Rockchip, using a 28nm process. Three chips fall under the x3 branding. The C3130 features a dual-core CPU, ARM Mali-T400 MP2 GPU and 3G modem. The C3230RK which is a quad-core 3G chip with Mali-T450 MP4 GPU, and the leading quad-core C3440 features a Mali-T720 MP2 GPU and integrated LTE modem. The x3 range is pegged for release in low-cost Asian markets very soon.

Intel x3 series

Moving on, the x5 and x7 series are Intel’s first 14nm Cherry Trail mobile processors, both built from Intel’s Airmont CPU design. So much for avoiding the naming confusion. These SoCs will feature Intel’s high-end Gen 8 HD graphics, which should provide a big leap in performance over Intel’s previous mobile chips. Unfortunately, not a lot of detail was given as to what separates the x5 from the x7, other than 12 and 16 graphics execution units in the respective chips.

Intel x3 x5 and x7 SoCs

The Atom x5 and x7 SoCs don’t come with integrated data solutions, but will play nicely with Intel’s LTE MM276x modem, which supports Cat-6 speeds and carrier aggregation. These two chips will be aimed at the tablet market, leaving Intel without a high-end smartphone chip for the time being. However, the company will have something to announce in that regard in the future.

Intel Atom product segments

Battery performance is likely to be the big issue for Intel, and with Samsung already at 14nm and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 destined to reach 16 or 14nm by the end of the year, Intel’s manufacturing advantage is beginning to disappear. Based on previous roadmaps, the Atom x3 should appear in products in the first half of this year, while the x5 and x7 are more likely to arrive in the second half of 2015.

Robert Triggs
Lead Technical Writer at Android Authority, covering the latest trends in consumer electronics and hardware. In his spare moments, you'll probably find him tinkering with audio electronics and programming.
  • Prox

    I like competition, Intel needs to keep pushing. Now get the product to market.

    • Juan S. Camargo Visbal

      I’d love to get an Intel phone, but they are so far behind, they are the AMD of the smartphone industry.

    • crutchcorn

      EXACTLY. I love the idea of an Intel phone, but they are currently lacking in almost everything, including devices

  • LeetLawrence

    Intel needs better support for some ARM apps. Some are super slow.

  • WhoaManWtF

    The x3’s are seriously dated in terms of graphic power, we’re talking Galaxy s2/3 era GPUs.

  • wat

    Competing with quad core A7 processors in 2015, what a brilliant plan to save the company…… MediaTek are selling 8core A57 2GHz CPUs for the price they will sell their shitty X3 for.

    • Maciek Buczkowski

      I didn’t I didn’t know Intel must save the company. ☺

      • wat

        They lost over $4bn last year in the mobile division. PC sales are dying, ARM devices sales are rocketing. Think about it, genius.

        • Maciek Buczkowski

          Great joke. Their stock price has increased 30% since last year. Genius :)

          • wat

            We shall see.

    • Prox

      CPU performance is more than just 8 cores and GHz of the processor. Different architectures can do different amount of tasks per cycle. A processors architecture, instructions, and other technologies can change its performance without relying on pure clock speed to gain performance.

      • wat

        Of course, but that does nothing to defy the point. Intels chips already fail, so they will release even shitter versions while Chinese OEMs drop chips far superior for the same price or less. Don’t be pedantic, address the issue.

        • Prox

          Your absolutely right, crappy Chinese OEM chips are really all that is need to run single threaded smartphone apps. Facebook app does not need Intel and vice versa.

          • wat

            Idiot.

          • Prox

            If you are so butt hurt over Intel don’t buy the product. Calling people names over the Internet proves your own level of intellect.

          • wat

            I called you an idiot because you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. How is calling MTK a “crappy Chinese OEM”, when these chips are being produced by Rockchip which is a completely shit Chinese OEM, even logical to you? How can you be so fucking stupid? Why are you even speaking when you know nothing?

          • Prox

            Again, your lack of intelligence is a problem. I was quoting you, you replied to me with the words crappy Chinese OEM. No one mentioned media tek except yourself.

          • wat

            Oh gee, someone who can’t even use grammar is trying to criticize my intelligence. Stay on topic ignoramus. Go read over again, I did not say “crappy Chinese OEM”, I said “Chinese OEMs”. Try again.

  • flye

    until now it’s still hot air coming from intel. i seriously doubt they could make a decent high end mobile SOC

    • GJ

      Check out the zenfone 2. Looks pretty decent to me. And for that price?? Wow

  • Busybee

    Those Atom x3 series are likely to use ARM cores instead of x86 cores, especially due to that Mali GPU. Most probably the result of Rockchip partnership: http://www.anandtech.com/show/8061/this-is-huge-intel-enters-strategic-agreement-with-chinese-soc-maker-rockchip. Strangely there are no core codenames for those Atom x3 (simply called “Intel Atom Dual Core” and “Intel Atom Quad Core”, which looks to be named after the Soc itself). This is unlike the Atom x5 and x7 which has “Airmont” codename for its cores (definitely x86 cores, plus using Intel’s own HD GPU).

    Check these out: http://armdevices.net/2014/10/31/intel-makes-arm-processor-in-40-rockchip-xmm6321-tablets-at-skyth-tek-pcb-design-house/ and http://armdevices.net/2014/11/05/weibu-shows-intelrockchip-xmm6321-dual-core-arm-cortex-a5-with-3g/ and http://armdevices.net/2014/10/15/rockchip-xmm6321-arm-made-by-intel-with-rockchip-for-low-cost-3g-phones-and-tablets/ those ARM chips have the Intel logo. They match particularly the lowest Atom x3 (for the ultra low cost segment) with 28nm fabrication and dual core, but that one is only 32-bit Cortex-A5. However the quad core Atom x3 is still unknown (if these are 64-bit)…

  • Neo Morpheus

    To the ones hoping that intel gathers more market share, you should take a look at what happens when they dominate a market.
    Be grateful that they are not able to compete with ARM on mobiles.