Intel unveils its next mobile maneuver: Atom x3, x5, and x7

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BARCELONA, Spain—At Mobile World Congress 2015, Intel has unveiled its latest in a very long line of attempts at securing a beachhead in the mobile market: the Atom x3, Atom x5, and Atom x7 SoCs. As the naming implies, the Atom x3 is a low-end part that is probably destined for developing markets in countries such as India and China. The Atom x5 and x7, however, are quad-core 14nm Cherry Trail chips with Broadwell-class Intel HD graphics. Performance-wise, the x5 and x7 chips should be pretty good—but right now we only have Intel’s own benchmarks to go on. There’s also no word from Intel on the power consumption of the new chips, which is rarely a good sign when you’re trying to break into a highly competitive, entrenched market. Let’s start at the bottom. Atom x3 is essentially rebranded SoFIA, but now along with a 3G version there is a new chip (the x3-C3440) with an integrated LTE modem. Rather unusual despite its use of the Atom brand name, the x3 is a 28nm chip that isn’t being built at Intel’s own fabs. Instead, Intel is using a foundry (most likely TSMC or Rockchip), primarily because it isn’t cost effective for Intel to build chips with integrated modems on its own bleeding-edge 14nm node. The top-end Atom x3, the x3-C3440, has a quad-core CPU and Mali 720 MP2 GPU (yes, that’s a GPU designed by ARM Holdings). We probably won’t see the Atom x3 in Western markets; it will be cheaply fabricated in Asia, and it will be used in very cheap phones and tablets. We have asked Intel what CPU core is being used by Atom x3, but the company hasn’t yet responded. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Intel unveils its next mobile maneuver: Atom x3, x5, and x7

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