intel medfield sunspider benchmarkI was curious about the Intel smartphones and tablets performance, so I ran a couple of benchmarks, including Antutu (system benchmark) and SunSpider (Javascript execution). In both instances, the Intel Medfield chip performed very well: in the Javascript test, the Intel reference design tablet steals the show and is the fastest SunSpider system to date. It scores 1128ms, which is even blowing past the Asus Transformer Prime and its Tegra 3 processor. Now, you should keep in mind that SunSpider is a single-core test, so it doesn’t fully utilizes the many-cores from Tegra 2, but neither are real Javascript apps.

With the Intel handset, I ran Antutu, an Android system performance test that tries to stress every aspect of the system (cpu, graphics, storage…). There, the medfield reference design  smartphone scored  5710, which is right on par with the best dual-core Android systems on the commerce today, including the Xyboard tablets, and the Galaxy S2. Right now, only Tegra 3 stands above the crowd and scores beyond 10,000 at this medfield antutu benchmarkThe interesting part is that Intel’s Medfield is a single-core system. Depending on how you look at it, you may have a different perspective. For absolute performance, this may not “crush” the competition, but it offers a comparable experience, theoretically in a similar or better power budget. Although multi-core is a great thing, I think that single-core performance is still extremely important because many apps simply don’t scale with multi-core.

But benchmark numbers don’t tell the whole story. Perceptively, I found both Intel reference designs (handset+tablet) to exhibit a very smooth user experience, even more so than some dual-core products on the market. It will be very interesting to take an actual product for a real-world test.

Obviously, by the timeMedfield  product arrive to the market, competitors may introduce newer and faster chips (more on that at Mobile World Congres…), but Medfield shows that Intel’s relentless quest for driving its X86 architecture into low-power territory is paying off – big time.

Although it is not multi-core, Medfield shows that X86 can run mobile devices in a practical way, and Intel has proven that it can build multi-core processors on PC (duh), so it is certain that a multi-core version will follow. Mix this with Intel’s leading-edge manufacturing process and you will reach the same conclusion that industry insiders have – at least behind closed doors: don’t underestimate Intel.

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