Accounting for an impressive 81% of all CPU's delivered in 2011, Intel is currently dominating the global CPU market. However, while the desktop, netbook and notebook markets are all well under Intel's firm grasp, the Santa-Clara based company is still struggling (and has been for the past few years) to enter the mobile CPU market, a market currently dominated by ARM's Cortex A9 chips. While Intel has the technology to create substantially more processing power, previous smartphone CPU attempts were severely lacking in the power management sector, exactly the area where ARM's chips shine.
Announced back at CES 2012 in January, the new Atom Z2460 “Medfield” platform is considered to be Intel's most pertinent attempt to take a stab out of ARM's market share. While most believed it will be fast, up until this point we had no idea whether Intel's Medfield will match up with other smartphone CPU's and be competitive.
The only device officially unveiled that is known to be running on the new Medfield chip is Orange’s Santa Clara. Previously on display at MWC 2012, the Santa Clara is based exactly on Intel's reference design, a lot like an Intel Nexus smartphone if you will. While hands-on reports pointed towards a smooth overall experience, we all know that benchmark scores are the only respectable way of differentiating hardware.
As it turns out, German blogger managed to get his hands on the Orange Santa Clara at CeBit recently and was able to run it through a couple of browser benchmarks. While browser benchmarks don't reflect real-world usage as well as app-based benchmarks (even them, in turn, have proven to be slightly misleading), it's still a starting point. In short, if we're to judge by the numbers reported by Caschy, the Orange Santa Clara is at least on par with current top-end smartphones like the Galaxy Nexus or the iPhone 4S.
Unfortunately, until the Orange Santa Clara launches in June, we will be unable to figure out if this high-performance comes at low power-consumption rates. Everyone was expecting the Medfield chip to be fast, but there has been a lot of skepticism regarding the battery life of the Santa Clara (or any other Medfield-based to come, for that matter).
Does Intel have what it takes?