Intel claims new 22nm Atom 64-bit mobile chips are faster than Apple's A7 CPU

Chipmaker Intel unveils new 22nm dual-core and quad-core 64-bit Atom SoCs which the company claims is faster than Apple's A7 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 chips.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Chipmaker Intel has used Mobile World Congress currently in progress in Spain to unveil two 64-bit enabled system-on-a-chip (SoC) updates across its Atom range of mobile processors.

Intel unveils new Merrifield and Moorefield Atom chips.
Hermann Eul, the head of Intel's smartphone business, unveiling the new Merrifield and Moorefield Atom chips. (Source: Shara Tibken/CNET)

The 22nm dual-core Z34XX part, along with the beefier quad-core Z35XX chips, previously codenamed Merrifield and Moorefield respectively, are based on Intel's new Silvermont chip microarchitecture, and bring with them a number of improvements compared to the previous generations in the form of a die shrink from 32-nanometers to 22-nanometers, clock speed upgrade (the Z3480 runs at 2.13GHz compared to 2GHz for the previous-generation Z2580), and graphics upgrade, in particular 2D performance.

According to Matt Dunford, worldwide Chief Benchmarking Manager at Intel, these improvements bring the overall performance of the new Atom chips above that of Apple's A7 chip which is found in the iPhone 5S, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 part.

New Merrifield and Moorefield Atom chips.
(Source: Intel)

Dunford also claims that battery life for the new Atom chips is better than for the Apple or Qualcomm parts.

The new chips also feature a raft of low power sensors similar in nature to Apple's M7 coprocessor. These sensors provide the device with information such as motion sensing, position, gesture sensing, and even audio sensing, so apps can make use of this information without knocking battery life too hard.

Intel said it expects devices from "multiple" handset makers to launch beginning in the second quarter.

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