Published: February 26, 2013 11:30 AM
By Régis Jehl
Translated by: Hugh Ehreth
Set on not letting Qualcomm and Samsung take the lead in 2013, Intel has announced its own range of high-end mobile chips, which it's releasing sometime this year.

The name of Intel's new platform is Clover Trail+. We already mentioned the high-end model, the Atom Z2580, which will be equipping the Lenovo K900 smartphone, earlier this month. Now we have more details about the technical specs and the other chips in the range.

The Clover Trail+ series comprises three chips, the Z2580, Z2560 and Z2520. What sets them apart are their CPU and iGPU frequencies. Everything else is the same across the range: a dual-core processor with hyper threading support (the system recognises four 'cores'), a Turbo mode that modulates the cores' frequencies depending on the workload (all three have a default rate of 933 MHz, which increases by varying degrees) and a PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU.

Intel Clover Trail+

The highest resolution each SoC can support is 1920 x 1200 pixels (WUXGA), which is plenty for a high-end smartphone in 2013, as most have Full HD displays. Like Qualcomm and Samsung's competing chips, Intel's range supports advanced camera functions, such as HDR, burst mode and continuous focus.

The biggest question with these systems-on-chip is their power consumption, which 'Trails' a bit behind the competition. The transistors use a 32 nm process at a time when the competing companies are focusing by-and-large on 28 nm (this is because the smaller the transistor, the less it tends to overheat and the more efficient is its overall use of energy).

Of course, power consumption doesn't only depend on how fine the engraving process is, and the Clover Trail+ range includes a 'low consumption' rate, set at 800 MHz (where, again, the default is 933 MHz). This reduced frequency lowers the amount of energy the chip uses when performing tasks that require less computation, as well as when the device is on standby or lock.

As soon as early 2014, Intel will be launching the next generation of Atoms with the Merrifield and Bay Trail platforms, which use a 22 nm process. There will be a dual-core version (the Tangier) and a quad-core version (the Valley View), both of which will have a Series 6 Power VR iGPU.

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