Intel Clover Trail+: A New Smartphone Platform With Atom Z2580

Defining A New Platform

Intel’s Atom Z2580 processor sits at the heart of the new platform, its twin x86 cores running at up to 2 GHz. Core architecture does not change from the previous generation. If you run a single-threaded app with both SoCs at the same frequency, they’ll perform identically. Dual-threaded apps are expected to run faster on Clover Trail+ though, since Android’s scheduler knows the difference between physical and logical resources, and will schedule to the second core before kicking over to the Hyper-Threaded cores. Gotta love open source, right?

Although company representatives won’t comment on the chip’s power consumption compared to Atom Z2460 or Z2480, we have to assume that, based on the same 32 nm node, twice as many host processing and graphics cores would burn through battery life faster. But Intel insists that Clover Trail+ benefits from process tuning and refined power management.

We’re told that the PowerVR SGX544MP2 graphics core not only handles the phone’s screen at 400+ PPI, but also 300 on a 7” screen or roughly 200 on a 10” display (should a vendor put Atom Z2580 into a tablet).


Medfield Smartphone Reference Design
Clover Trail+ Smartphone Reference Design
CPU
Single-core Atom at up to 2 GHz
Dual-core Atom at up to 2 GHz
Cores/Threads
1C/2T
2C/4T
Memory
1 GB LPDDR2-800 (2 GB Max.)
2 GB LPDDR2-1066
Graphics
PowerVR SGX540 at 400 MHz
PowerVR SGX544MP2 at up to 533 MHz
Internal Storage
Maximum 64 GB NAND package
Maximum 256 GB NAND package
Cellular
Intel XMM 6260; HSPA+ 21 Mb/s
Intel XMM 6360; HSPA+ 42 Mb/s
Camera
8 MP rear, 1.3 MP front
16 MP rear, 2 MP front
Supported Operating System
Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)


With more performance from its CPU and GPU components, Intel seems to have reached the same conclusion as Nvidia and a number of phone vendors: alongside Internet access, imaging is one of the most prevalent smartphone usages, and advanced features able to exploit a high-quality camera are great for differentiation. The Atom SoC supports still image capture up to 16 MP, burst capture at 15 FPS using 8 MP resolution, zero shutter lag with time shifting, and 1080p recording at 30 FPS.

Intel’s image signal processor, which comes from the acquisition of a company called Silicon Hive back in 2011, is fast enough that it’s able to recognize up to 32 faces in real-time—though Intel limits the number of displayed names to five, due to UI limitations. The speed of the fixed-function processor also makes it possible to capture HDR without the artifacts you’d expect from an iPhone 5 if you tried to shoot something in motion.

If you move, HDR images don't turn out well.If you move, HDR images don't turn out well.

In many ways, this sounds a lot like what we’ve just seen Nvidia introduce with its Chimera computational photography architecture. Tegra 4 employs a combination of OpenGL (GPU), Neon (CPU), and core calls to its camera (ISP), facilitating a flexible process capable of performing a number of different tasks. Intel counters that this likely comes at the cost of power, whereas its ISP has custom hardware for some of the same features. That’s not to say Intel doesn’t touch its CPU and GPU cores—load-balancing is used to balance processing on either side of the ISP.  

Clover Trail+: An Intermediate Step

Without question, Intel’s impending shift to 22 nm manufacturing for Atom represents the largest window of opportunity for the company to assert itself. Until that happens later in 2013, though, we have Clover Trail+.

The low-level speeds and feeds folks are going to look at this platform and see twice as many x86 cores, a much more capable graphics engine, up to twice the RAM, as much as double the NAND storage, and an evolved camera.

At a high level, however, Clover Trail+ is incremental, allowing Intel to update its reference phone, a year’s worth of optimization work, and the feature list (largely enabled by more potent hardware). There’s no word from Intel on whether this platform supports LTE, though the company does update Clover Trail+’s cellular modem to the HSPA+-compatible XMM 6360.

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    Top Comments
  • catfishtx
    We should all want Intel to succeed in this market. Anytime we get these companies innovating, pushing the boundaries, and competing on price, we all win as consumers. ARM vs. Intel vs. nVidia vs. AMD = WIN.
    14
  • drakefyre
    kartuIf I remember correctly, margins in mobile market are so small by Intel's standards, that even if they manage to capture most of the market it would still be a laughable income for them.So the only reason they are doing it is: fear.And oh well, no thanks, dear Intel, enjoy your x86 margins while you can.

    If they can put out a superior product, even if it is due to fear, more power to them.
    12
  • realibrad
    irish_adamerrr what? the last thing we need is intel dominating another market. At some point we do need to move away from x86 as Intel pretty much hold all the cards for it and refuses to licence it anymore. I'm pretty sure AMD and VIA are the only ones that have one, neither of which have the money or resources to present a challenge to Intel hence why they have a monopoly


    Intel has pushed out a product that is currently the best thing in the X86 market. AMD had pushed Intel, and Intel responded with a CPU that currently is more than enough for 90% of the people. Im more than happy to have Intel come into more markets, and attempt to push everyone to improve, even themselves.
    12
  • Other Comments
  • Computerrock1
    ^ It's atom, known for 5~6 watt chips...
    10
  • kartu
    If I remember correctly, margins in mobile market are so small by Intel's standards, that even if they manage to capture most of the market it would still be a laughable income for them.

    So the only reason they are doing it is: fear.

    And oh well, no thanks, dear Intel, enjoy your x86 margins while you can.
    -11
  • drakefyre
    kartuIf I remember correctly, margins in mobile market are so small by Intel's standards, that even if they manage to capture most of the market it would still be a laughable income for them.So the only reason they are doing it is: fear.And oh well, no thanks, dear Intel, enjoy your x86 margins while you can.

    If they can put out a superior product, even if it is due to fear, more power to them.
    12
  • irish_adam
    drakefyreIf they can put out a superior product, even if it is due to fear, more power to them.



    errr what? the last thing we need is intel dominating another market. At some point we do need to move away from x86 as Intel pretty much hold all the cards for it and refuses to licence it anymore. I'm pretty sure AMD and VIA are the only ones that have one, neither of which have the money or resources to present a challenge to Intel hence why they have a monopoly
    -7
  • TimeLass
    Yeah i have been waiting for the released of smartphones that are powered by Intel's CPU for a long time and finally here it is...! i believe they will improve a lot in future as time goes on...
    3
  • ubercake
    There are rounded corners on that rectangle. I smell an Apple patent lawsuit.
    3
  • catfishtx
    We should all want Intel to succeed in this market. Anytime we get these companies innovating, pushing the boundaries, and competing on price, we all win as consumers. ARM vs. Intel vs. nVidia vs. AMD = WIN.
    14
  • realibrad
    irish_adamerrr what? the last thing we need is intel dominating another market. At some point we do need to move away from x86 as Intel pretty much hold all the cards for it and refuses to licence it anymore. I'm pretty sure AMD and VIA are the only ones that have one, neither of which have the money or resources to present a challenge to Intel hence why they have a monopoly


    Intel has pushed out a product that is currently the best thing in the X86 market. AMD had pushed Intel, and Intel responded with a CPU that currently is more than enough for 90% of the people. Im more than happy to have Intel come into more markets, and attempt to push everyone to improve, even themselves.
    12
  • drakefyre
    irish_adamerrr what? the last thing we need is intel dominating another market. At some point we do need to move away from x86 as Intel pretty much hold all the cards for it and refuses to licence it anymore. I'm pretty sure AMD and VIA are the only ones that have one, neither of which have the money or resources to present a challenge to Intel hence why they have a monopoly

    As long as there is competition, the consumer will benefit. Even if Intel does put out a better product I'm very confident that there will be very strong competition for quite a while.
    11
  • mayankleoboy1
    More competition is always good. If nothing, it will make the lower end QC chips uncomfortable. possibly forcing QC to bump up specs on all chips.
    Win-Win for consumers.
    2
  • ta152h
    Intel is always trying to do too many things with Atom, and always failing trying to do them.

    Trying to go all the way from cell phones to low power PCs, with tablets along the way has rendered the processor inferior in many scenarios.

    ARM derivatives still show big advantages in very low power devices, and AMD's Bobcat/Jaguar destroy Atom in performance, and with their lower power use and better performance than Bobcat, Jaguar will be much more attractive on tablets.

    Atom seems best suited for applications below Bobcat, but above ARM. I'm just not sure anything is there in terms of a market.
    -1
  • lradunovic77
    ARM is dead
    -6
  • jppk
    lradunovic77ARM is dead

    You misspelled Intel.
    -3
  • Marcus52
    Quote:
    I’m almost certain that, at some point in 2013, I’m going to happen upon the tablet I consider to be perfect for everything I do.


    Does this mean you expect to play World of Warcraft on a tablet by the end of the year? :D
    3
  • sanilmahambre
    Atom is going head on with Temash! But in graphics it is a one sided match
    3
  • K2N hater
    Marcus52
    Quote:
    I’m almost certain that, at some point in 2013, I’m going to happen upon the tablet I consider to be perfect for everything I do.
    Does this mean you expect to play World of Warcraft on a tablet by the end of the year?

    He'll find the cure for WoW addiction
    3
  • tomfreak
    Sorry Intel, No x86 phone for me until windows phone in x86.

    and why dual core so early when the biggest problem in Atom is not performance but power consumption?
    -2
  • alextheblue
    sanilmahambreAtom is going head on with Temash! But in graphics it is a one sided match
    The GPU in Temash/Kabini beating Atom is a no brainer. But what is impressive to me is how big of a leap Jaguar is over Bobcat, especially at the same or lower thermal targets.
    1
  • DavidC1
    Atom Z2460 in Motorola RAZR I uses less power than the ARM equivalent RAZR M.

    So how that makes it a power hungry 5-6W chip is beyond me. Oh wait, I do. People are BIASED.
    3
  • tobalaz
    I don't care WHO makes the chip in my phone so long as its the BEST.
    Intel, ARM based, Nvidia, heck AMD could join in the fun for all I care.
    Just give me something fast, powerful, and has good battery life.
    4