terça-feira, 18 de setembro de 2012

Motorola RAZR i Announced: Packs 2GHz Intel Medfield

Motorola has recently announced its first Intel Atom-based smartphone, the RAZR i (XT890). Usually,  Intel Atom smartphones look almost identical to Intel's development platform, for instance, the Lava XOLO 900. Intel has done a very unusual thing there: they made their own reference smartphone, as a development platform, and most OEMs made little or no changes to the design of the development platform. Motorola has done differently, by making the device with a similar design to other RAZR devices. Thus far, Atom SoCs found in smartphones operated at frequencies of 1.6GHz, but Intel has now enabled Atom to go all the way up to 2.0GHz, and the RAZR i is the first device operating at this clock speed.


Motorola RAZR i
Connectivity Wi-Fi + 3G
Body 8.3mm thick, 126g, splash resistant
Display Super AMOLED Advanced 4.3" 540 x 960 (256 pixels per inch) w/Corning Gorilla Glass
Storage 8 GB (5 GB user available) w/microSD slot, up to 32 GB
RAM 1GB, dual-channel LPDDR2
Camera (Rear) 8MP w/LED flash, autofocus, face detection, image stabilization, HDR, and 1080p@30fps video
Camera (Front) VGA
OS Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich (4.1 Jelly Bean upgrade coming soon)
Chipset Intel Atom Z2460 (Single-core Medfield @ 2.0GHz (Intel Hyper-threading enabled) + PowerVR SGX540 @ 400MHz, 6.4 GFLOPS)

Display

The RAZR i seems like it has a mildly impressive display, with its Super AMOLED Advanced display, it should provide great, vibrant color reproduction, however, the pixel density of 256 pixels per inch falls a bit behind today's high-end standards, but should be very crisp nevertheless.

Performance

This must be the most interesting feature of this smartphone. The RAZR i is one of a select few devices shipping with Intel's Atom SoC. At a first glance, the Atom SoC might look very unimpressive, having a single-core Medfield processor and a dated PowerVR SGX540 GPU, however, it doesn't go quite that way. The Medfield processor architecture is a very unusual one for a SoC, primarily because it is based upon x86 architecture, like every processor found inside PCs and laptops. But wait, isn't Android only compatible with processors based on ARM architecture? Well, yes, but the Medfield processor has a binary translator, that converts instructions pertaining to the ARM instruction set into x86 instructions, and vice-versa. That alone makes Medfield a very unorthodox processor. Secondly, a single-core processor in a dual-core, quad-core era? Wouldn't that give unsatisfactory performance, despite the clock speed advantage Medfield has over the dual-core and quad-core competition? Usually, that would be true, but it's not. Firstly, the Medfield architecture supports Intel's ingenious hyper-threading technology, a feature which allows for two separate threads to be executed on a single core, thus making Medfield somewhat like a dual-core processor. Hyper-threading is the technology present in the Intel Core processors, and is what makes them the best. Remember also that higher core count doesn't always mean better performance, but rather, a mixture of core count, clock speed, and instructions executed per core and per clock. So Medfield has a single-core (but equivalent to a dual-core, because of hyper-threading), which is a rather low core count, at a good clock speed, but what makes the Medfield shine is the number of instructions executed per clock, which is very good in Medfield compared to current ARM processors. At 1.6GHz, the Atom SoC was seen giving CPU performance to rival dual-core and even some quad-core competitors, but now at 2.0GHz it should edge ahead of most of the competition, with exception perhaps of Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro, which uses a Quad-core Krait @ 1.5GHz. Obviously, single-threaded performance is just sweet in Medfield, thanks to the single, yet efficient core. Battery life should also be good on the RAZR i, despite of the good  CPU performance, because only one core is having to be powered there, albeit at a high clock speed. Battery life and thermals should also be very good because the Atom SoC is built upon 32nm process, better than Tegra 3's dated 40nm process, however slightly worse than the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4's 28nm process.

The GPU was also an interesting choice of Intel's, and not a very smart one. The Atom SoC features a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. Yes, this is the SGX540 that was abandoned in favor of newer GPUs after last-gen Android devices, however, it is overclocked @ 400MHz, which should bring the SGX540 back from the dead for a while. The 400MHz clock speed results in a 6.4 GFLOPS performance, which is faster than the last-gen Tegra 2, yet much slower than today's Tegra, Adreno and Mali GPUs. At the same clock speed, a current Tegra GPU could give 9.6 GFLOPS, and a Mali-400MP4 GPU should give 14.4 GFLOPS. So, as you can see, the Atom's GPU is really below average, even with the RAZR i's lower resolution hence, the RAZR i isn't the right phone for a mobile gamer. However, the Atom SoC does have one advantage in the gaming area, and that is, in fill rate, thanks to the good memory bandwidth. Atom's dual-channel LPDDR2 memory controller @ 400MHz manages to beat Tegra 3 in fill rate, as well as every device with an Adreno 225 GPU, and most Mali-400 containing SoCs, therefore we won't see any bottlenecks because of poor memory bandwidth. The framerate bottleneck in Atom will definitely be due to the weak GPU. 

Conclusion

Basically, the only thing that distinguishes (albeit not necessarily in a positive sense) the Motorola RAZR i is the Intel Atom SoC, especially being clocked at 2.0GHz. Other than that, all that I can say about it is that is has a pretty good display and an excellent camera. Other than that, the RAZR i is just another phone in the Android pack. I'd say that 5 GB of user available storage is far too little for today's standards, but of course the microSD expansion saves the RAZR i in that sense. The RAZR i is a pretty fast phone, although it is not very good for gamers that like complex 3D games. It must be the best Atom phone created so far. The RAZR i is scheduled for a October release in certain European and Latin American countries, such as the UK, France, Germany, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.

Um comentário:

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