Intel: our new Merrifield chip leaves the Snapdragon 800 standing

The next generation Atom processor is quicker than anything Qualcomm can muster, apparently

Intel’s Mobile World Congress got off to a flyer with the announcement of an all-new Atom processor, the Z34XX or “Merrifield”.

The Merrifield, which will see use in smartphones, tablets and small mobile computers, is a system-on-chip offering a bevy of performance and feature benefits over the Clover Trail+ Atom chip it’s replacing. It’s 64-bit, for one thing, and comes with a built-in sensor that measures motion, gestures, location and sound without putting too much drain on the battery (a bit like the iPhone 5S' M7 coprocessor).

Intel claims the Z3480 Merrifield delivers up to twice the web app performance of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800, beats Qualcomm’s best quad-core CPU in general app performance (despite being dual-core), and offers better battery life on equivalent Android phones.

A mid-range chip that delivers high-end performance

Merrifield also features a quad cluster graphics engine that Intel says can help deliver “console-type games”. It offers twice the graphics performance (in terms of frames per second) of the Clover Trail+ Intel Atom chip it’s replacing and supports OpenGL and RenderScript for improved visual effects.

Intel seems to be saying that the dual-core Merrifield either beats or equals the quad-core Snapdragon 800 in all the key areas, despite being seemingly a mid-range chip. That’s something we’ll be keen to see for ourselves when we get our hands on the first wave of Merrifield-equipped devices.

The chip supports a clock speed up to 2.13GHz, RAM up to 4GB, rear cameras up to 13MP and up to 256GB of local storage. It will support Android 4.4.2 and above devices, and you can expect to see it popping up in phones very soon.

READ MORE: Mobile World Congress 2014 – the biggest MWC smartphone news so far

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