Intel has unveiled a new line of Atom processors meant for the mobile market at Mobile World Congress 2015. The Atom x3, x5, and x7 follow a similar naming scheme to Intel’s Core brand of processors, and are meant to secure a better position in mobile devices.
The Atom x3 is the odd one out of the trio, not only because it intended for the lower end market; but also because it is not made by Intel. Manufacturing is done by TSMC as Intel thinks it is not cost efficient to build its own chips with integrated modems into its 14-nm node. For this reason as well, the Atom x3 is made using a 28nm process; which essentially makes it a rebranded Intel SoFIA which was revealed at last year’s Computex.
Available in three different models, Intel claimed that the Atom x3 processors are able to match or even exceed (in certain areas) the performance of other chips that comes from Qualcomm and MediaTek which already in the scene way before Intel. The launch of Atom x3 also marked Intel’s foray into the world of Windows Phone since Atom x3 will apparently support Windows 10 for Phones although specific details will only be revealed at later date.
On another hand, the Atom x5 and x7 are made on a 14nm process, and are Intel’s first Cherry Trail based mobile chips. These also bring a scaled down Broadwell class GPU to replace the weaker Ivy Bridge class version that Intel was using on the older chips. Hence, these chips offer improved graphics performance over previous Atom chips.
Interestingly, Intel has not provided any information about power usage for the new processors although we were informed the power consumption is relatively the same as their Bay Trail predecessors. The smaller die on the Atom x5 and x7 should, in theory, mean more power efficiency over the previous generation. However, there is nothing to compare against the competition without at least some numbers.
Intel isn’t the only one making 14-nm processors at the moment, as Samsung is already using their homebrewed 14nm Exynos chip in the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. All this means is that Intel has a lot of catching up to do, especially since it will be a while longer before any devices running on the new Intel Atom processors reach the open market.