Though several companies have already announced handhelds running it, Intel has just now officially announced the PXA255, an XScale microprocessor that is replacing the PXA250, which is at the heart of most current handheld models.
The initial versions of PXA255 will run at 200 MHz, 300 MHz, and 400 MHz, the same speeds the current versions do. However, Intel has doubled the internal system bus speed to improve application performance. The PXA255 includes a 200 MHz memory bus, as opposed to the 100 MHz one being used now.
In addition, the company lowered the voltage to 1.3 volts at 400 MHz through a variety of manufacturing techniques, resulting in more than 30% lower power consumption in run mode and more than 60% lower in idle mode.
PXA255 Really Is Better
After the 400 MHz PXA250 turned out to be not much faster than a 206 MHz StrongARM processor in real-world tests, many have been suspicious about claims that the PXA255 would be any kind of improvement.
Developers have been testing the capabilities of this processor and the PocketTV team has posted their results in the Brighthand Forums. According to them, “the new devices that will be using 300 MHz PXA255 should be about 20% faster than the current 400 MHz XScale devices, with a better battery time.”
The just-released Toshiba e750 runs the PXA255 and users have reported that it’s noticeably faster than its predecessor, the e740.
Intel is going to stop producing the PXA250 soon, if it hasn’t already. Handheld makers must switch to the new chips by March 28. The new chips will cost the same as the current ones.
A question many are asking is if it will be possible to switch out the processor in current handhelds for the new one. Pocket PC Techs is working on this now.