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Intel debuts "Core M" processors with sub-5W TDP

Sep 5, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 3139 views

Intel debuted three dual-core, 14nm “Core M” processors aimed at 2-in-1 laptops and high-end tablets, featuring 50 percent faster performance and sub-5W TDPs.

Intel launched its 5th Generation Core processors at the IFA show in Berlin, promising 50 percent faster compute performance and 40 percent faster graphics performance compared to the 4th generation (“Haswell”) Intel Core processor. The Core M (“Broadwell-Y”) processors are the first commercially available 14nm fabricated processors, and they also incorporate a new version of its TriGate 3D FinFET transistor technology. They will be joined later this year by 14nm Atom Sofia processors based on its Airmont architecture.

Core M chips and wafer
(click image to enlarge)

The Intel Core M package is 50 percent smaller than Haswell, and offers a 4.5 Watt TDP (Thermal Design Power) rating, representing 60 percent lower power consumption than the 4th-Gen Cores, claims Intel. The Core M is claimed to offer or up to 20 percent (1.7 hours) longer battery life compared to the Haswell Core processors, with up to eight hours of video play. The size reduction, meanwhile, will enable fanless computers that are less than 9mm thick, says the chipmaker.

Intel announced three Core M models, although other variants may well appear at a later date. The high-end Core M-5Y70 and the lower-end M-5Y10a and M-5Y10 are all dual-core, quad-thread processors, and integrate Intel HD Graphics 5300 graphics. They also offer 4MB L3 cache, shared by both the CPU and GPU, and support 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM. All three chips provide Intel virtualization and AES-NI encryption technology.

The business-oriented Core M-5Y70 is clocked at 1.1GHz, but can jump up to 2.6GHz in turbo mode, and offers a 4.5W TDP. The GPU is clocked at 100MHz, and can be ramped up to 850MHz. The M-5Y70 model enables Intel vPro technology for remote system management and security, as well as Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT).

The Core M-5Y10a and M-5Y10 are identical to each other except that the latter can be configured to run at an even lower 4W TDP. Both processors start at 800MHz, or 2.0GHz in turbo mode, and the 100MHz GPU can ramp up to 800MHz.

Additional Core M features include support for high-quality audio, Intel Wireless Display 5.0, and Intel’s second-generation 802.11ac products, says the company. They will also “evolve” to support wireless docking with WiGig from Intel.

More than 20 Core M-based 2-in-1s and other products are under development from companies including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba, with some expected to appear in time for the holidays, says Intel, For example, a Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, due in October, is said to be 12 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than its predecessor. Meanwhile, Wistron plans an Intel Core M based design based on the Intel “Llama Mountain” [PDF] reference device, which is 7.2mm thick and weighs only 670 grams.
According to PCMag, an Intel rep recently revealed several other sources for reduced power consumption in addition to the 14nm fabrication. Intel achieved a 10 percent power reduction from 22nm designs by reducing leakage, plus another 20 percent via design optimizations and reduced variation in Broadwell processors, says the story. Intel also trimmed idle power draw by an additional 10 percent over Haswell, adds PCMag.

Intel also touts the Core M as being a “conflict-free” product. It includes no conflict minerals “that directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries,” says the company.

Further information

The first three Core M processors are available now, and will appear in 2-in-1’s, high-end tablets, and other products starting in October. More information may be found in the Intel Core M announcement and at this Core M product page.

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