Intel Clover Trail+, Advancing Atom In Mobile

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Clover Trail+ Products and Performance Expectations

Clover Trail Products and Performance Expectations -

Though Intel is claiming multiple design wins waiting in the wings, Lenovo’s K900 smartphone was chosen to showcase Clover Trail+ previously at CES2013.

The K900 is a very large 5.5-inch phone and those lucky enough to get some hands-on time with it have commented about its high quality, thin, industrial design, as well as its impressive full HD screen with 400+ PPI density.

Under the hood of the K900 is an Atom Z2580 SoC and all the flagship features that go along with Intel’s top-end SKU.   Though the design is sleek and thin, it does look a bit squared off compared to the rounded corners we’re so familiar with in many high-end Android phones.

Clover Trail+ Performance Expectations -

Performance-wise, Intel supplied us with a fair amount backup data that supports Clover Trail+ performance across a number of standard usage models and workloads.  Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to disclose the data first hand.  What we can tell you is that, for standard computing functions like web browsing, Javascript, photo manipulation etc., Clover Trail+ will be on par or slightly faster than Medfield, which is actually a solid competitive watermark, since Atom generally does well in these areas. Versus SoCs found in smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S3, Intel has historically been faster.  Also, Clover Trail+ could offer up to 2X the performance in multithreaded apps, with the biggest performance gains available above two threads.  

In addition, Clover Trail+ should offer graphics performance dramatically better than Intel’s previous generation Medfield Atom SoC. In certain scenarios Intel is showing a 3X increase for Clover Trail+'s SGX 544MP2 GPU versus the SGX540 in Medfield, and surpassing the Adreno 320 core found in the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro that resides in phones like Google’s Nexus 4. 

Of course Intel is rather proud of their new-found mobile graphics prowess and possibly no other Intel employee is more proudly outspoken about Intel technologies than the flamboyant Frenchman, our good buddy, Mr. Francois Piednoel. Francois has taken to the airways, or should we say Youtubes as of late, with sneak peeks of Lenovo's K900 and Clover Trail+ demonstrating some rather impressive gaming performance in various titles like Max Payne, Epic's Citadel demo and Bat Man: The Dark Knight Rises for Android. 

Feast on the eye candy while Francois has a little fun...

As you can see, the Lenovo K900 seems to handle the action with relative ease.  You can check out a couple more demos Francois has loaded up on his YT channel right here.  We hope to have a few demos of our own with the device, shortly.
Finally, somewhat surprisingly, Intel also expects Clover Trail+ to shine in battery life.  Here Intel points to Clover Trail+’s ability to get to an idle state more quickly (HUGIs all around, people), bringing total platform power down to a half-Watt or less.  Clover Trail+ reportedly clock gates between a zero-power C6 standby mode, LFM (Low Frequency Mode) and HFM (You guessed it, High Frequency Mode) and its max frequency with what Intel calls “Burst Performance Technology” or BPT (illustrated in the diagram to the left).  Total platform power at its full 2GHz clock speed does appear to be higher than most of the current high-end competition, however, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out in real-world usage.  The technology is tried and true for Intel in the desktop, notebook and tablet space; Intel arguably has some of the best power consumption mitigation technologies available. However, whether or not this translates to competitive battery life numbers in handsets, versus low power ARM architectures, remains to be seen.

We have been told the first Clover Trail+-powered smartphones will be hitting retail sometime in April, with Lenovo's K900 leading the charge.  We hope to get in an early prototype for testing and review here in the coming weeks, so make sure you stay tuned.  In the meantime, it looks like Intel is gearing up to make things even more interesting this year in the smartphone and tablet race, and their first 22nm quad-core Atom architecture is on the horizon next.

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