Intel specifies Medfield, tips Lenovo, Motorola deals

January 11, 2012 // By Peter Clarke
Intel has provided details of its Medfield 32-nm platform for smartphones claiming that the main SoC consumes less than 800-mW worst case. It has also announced that it has deals in place with Lenovo and Motorola for products based on Medfield to appear in 2012.

Lenovo is scheduled to introduce the K800 smartphone based on Medfield for the Chinese market in the first half of 2012, Intel said. The second partnership — with Motorola Mobility — is due to bear fruit in the second-half of 2012 but the Intel executives declined to say whether that would be for smartphones only, or would also include tablet computers.

However, it would appear that Intel is aiming Medfield at gaining design wins in smartphones and first and foremost. It is for the smartphone that Intel has produced a reference design.

The Medfield platform is based on a 32-nm CMOS SoC called Penwell — part numbered Atom Z2460 — which has as its CPU the single-core Saltwell implementation of the Atom processor architecture. However, the Penwell SoC comes with a number of other chips around it to complete the system functionality. It appears that a number of other companies have chips in the Medfield platform including Texas Instruments.

As expected, Intel has announced that the top clock frequency for Medfield is specified at 1.6-GHz with the highest "burst-mode" power consumption described by Intel briefing documents as being about 750-mW and less than 800-mW. This is considerably lower than some industry observers had predicted.

However, this power consumption is for the Penwell SoC on its own. Intel did not discuss the power consumption of the full Medfield chipset including modem and power management ICs with up to 1–Gbyte of DDR2 format DRAM.

Medfield platform overiew with Penwell SoC shown in blue. Source: Intel. Click image to enlarge.

Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the Mobile Wireless Group at Intel, said the Penwell chip has better performance at the same power consumption as rival SoCs and in some cases can demonstrate better performance at lower power consumption. In a slide presentation the company claimed it has performance leadership at competitive smartphone power consumption levels but produced no quantitative data