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Intel debuts 5th Gen Core processors

Jan 5, 2015 — by Eric Brown 4,252 views

Intel revealed its 14nm 5th Generation Core (“Broadwell”) processors, as well as its first 14nm, 64-bit Atom (“Cherry Trail”) SoCs, which target tablets.

Intel unveiled its first 14nm “Broadwell” chip architecture in September with a Core M trio of dual-core CPUs aimed at 2-in-1 laptops and high-end tablets. Now, the chipmaker has unveiled the dual-core members of its high-end Core processor, and also released its lower-end Atom (“Cherry Trail”) system-on-chips using the same Broadwell architecture.

The first products based on 5th Gen Core processors, including i3, i5, i5 vPro, i7, i7 vPro, as well as 14nm Pentium and Celeron models, will begin shipping later this month. The first Cherry Trail Atom tablets will ship in the first half of this year.


Cherry Trail Atoms

Intel’s 14nm “Cherry Trail” Atom SoCs are now shipping to OEMs, although Intel currently has made few details about them public. While there were similarities between the 4th Gen Haswell Core CPUs and tablet-focused Bay Trail-T Atom Z3000 processors, including 22nm, Tri-Gate3D fabrication, the Bay Trail processors were instead dubbed Silvermont processors. Silvermont was also the designation given to the similar, embedded-focused Atom E3800 (“Bay Trail-I”) and smartphone-linked Atom Z3400 (“Merrifield”).

Leaked Intel roadmap slide showing Cherry Trail’s market positioning
(click image to enlarge)

By contrast, Cherry Trail, which was pre-announced with even fewer details in April of last year, is the first Atom to join the mainstream architecture used by the Core chips, primarily because it also shares with the 5th Gen Core chips the same basic same video architecture. This convergence may also be linked to Intel’s recent merger of its struggling mobile division into its PC division.

Leaked Intel slides listing Cherry Trail general and graphics features
(click images to enlarge; source:

Like the 5th Gen Core CPUs, the Cherry Trail SoCs support Intel RealSense 3D gesture recognition technology, augmented with “voice assistants.” Intel announced its first sensor-driven RealSense 3D camera in September when it announced the release of its Edison module.

The RealSense camera was billed as “the world’s first integrated 3D depth and 2D camera module that helps devices ‘see’ depth.” The full-color 1080p camera will be built into a variety of Intel-based Ultrabooks, all-in-ones, tablets, and other devices. RealSense enables the detection of “finger level movements enabling highly accurate gesture recognition” and “facial features for understanding movement and emotions,” Intel said at the time.

The Cherry Trail SoCs will also feature the “no wires, no password” technology used by the new Cores, which appears to relate in part to support for the Intel WiDi and WiGig technologies detailed farther below. Cherry Trail also offers “Intel Context Aware” technology, says the chipmaker.

There were no new details on Intel’s 14nm Sofia Atom processors for lower end smartphones and tablets. Intel is working with China’s Rockchip and Tsinghua Unigroup to develop the first Sofia SoCs.

5th Gen Core processors

Intel announced 14 new 5th Gen Core processors, representing what Intel expects to be “the fastest mobile transition in company history.” They are primarily aimed at desktop and notebook PCs, but also support 2 in 1s, Ultrabooks, Chromebooks, All-in-One (AiO) PCs, and mini-PCs.

Photo of die containing Intel 5th Generation Core plus Iris Graphics
(click image to enlarge)

In addition, Intel is pitching the Broadwell Core chips at Internet of Things applications in retail, manufacturing, and medical. In other words, like Haswell, Broadwell also embraces high-end embedded projects. It’s unclear whether we’ll see new, more embedded-focused models, potentially with lower power consumption, or whether most of the Broadwell-based embedded models will instead emerge from the Cherry Trail Atoms, as well as the Core-M chips, which have sub-5W TDPs.


Intel 5th Generation Core Processors

Processor model Cores
Base freq (GHz) Graphics Graphics
freq (MHz)
L3 cache TDP
i7-5650U 2/4 2.2 Intel HD Graphics 6000 300/1000 4MB 15W
i7-5600U 2/4 2.6 Intel HD Graphics 5500 300/950 4MB 15W
i7-5550U 2/4 2 Intel HD Graphics 6000 300/1000 4MB 15W
i7-5500U 2/4 2.4 Intel HD Graphics 5500 300/950 4MB 15W
i7-5557U 2/4 3.1 Intel Iris Graphics 6100 300/1100 4MB 28W
i5-5350U 2/4 1.8 Intel HD Graphics 6000 300/1000 3MB 15W
i5-5300U 2/4 2.3 Intel HD Graphics 5500 300/900 3MB 15W
i5-5250U 2/4 1.6 Intel HD Graphics 6000 300/950 3MB 15W
i5-5200U 2/4 2.2 Intel HD Graphics 5500 300/900 3MB 15W
i5-5287U 2/4 2.9 Intel Iris Graphics 6100 300/1100 3MB 28W
i5-5257U 2/4 2.7 Intel Iris Graphics 6100 300/1050 3MB 28W
i3-5010U 2/4 2.1 Intel HD Graphics 5500 300/900 3MB 15W
i3-5005U 2/4 2 Intel HD Graphics 5500 300/850 3MB 15W
i3-5157U 2/4 2.5 Intel Iris Graphics 6100 300/1000 3MB 28W
3805U 2/2 1.9 Intel HD Graphics 100/800 2MB 15W
3755U < font size=1>2/2 1.7 Intel HD Graphics 100/800 2MB 15W
3205U 2/2 1.5 Intel HD Graphics 100/800 2MB 15W

Ten of the 5th Gen Core models have relatively modest 15W TDPs, and run Intel HD Graphics 5500 or 6000, while the rest are 28W products with more advanced Intel Iris Graphics 6100. Battery life is claimed to stretch up to 8.7 hours, or 1.5 hours longer than with Haswell chips.

The energy savings appear to have their biggest impact on the high end models. Haswell’s higher-end desktop PC models had TDPs of 47 to 57 Watts, although the lower-end models debuted at the same 15W level. Then again, all 14 of the first wave of 5th Gen Core chips are limited to dual cores, so the quad-core models expected to be released later this year are likely to have higher TDPs. At least some of the quad-core models are also expected to feature more advanced Iris Pro graphics.

Except for three of the 15W models, which are limited to dual computing threads, all the rest have four threads. Base clock rates go from 1.5MHz to 3.1GHz, with Intel Turbo modes ranging up to 3.4MHz. L2 cache ranges from 2MB to 4MB

The new Cores have 35 percent more transistors on a 37 percent smaller die than the Haswell chips, says Intel. They offer 24 percent better graphics performance and up to 40 percent faster video conversion, claims the company. The chips are said to support 4K Ultra HD displays, even when streamed using Intel WiDi 5.1 technology.

We saw no claims for general performance improvements, although Engadget reports an Intel claim of only a 4 percent improvement in productivity performance. This is understandable considering this is a “tick” release, debuting a smaller die and process, which Intel typically follows up within the year with a “tock” release that delivers performance improvements.

The 5th Gen Core chips feature enhanced codec decode support for VP8, VP9, and HEVC video, and support recent standards like DX 11.2, DX 12 Ready, OpenCL 2.0, and OpenGL 4.3. The four Core chips with Iris graphics also significantly boost 3D performance, says Intel.

As before, the Broadwell Cores support Intel WiDi, now updated to WiDi 5.1, and also support WiGig wireless docking. These features appear to come standard with the enterprise focused vPro models, which are touted for wireless docking. Other touted features include Intel Identity Protection Technology. Together these technologies appear to related to the “no wires, no passwords” buzzword Intel is also using for its Cherry Trail SoCs.

Acer tips first Broadwell PC with 15.6-inch Chromebook

At the CES show in Las Vegas, Acer announced the first products based on Intel’s 5th Generation Core processors. The Broadwell Core chips fuel the Acer Chromebook 15, the first Chromebook with a 15.6-inch display. The notebook, which runs Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS, is also available with one of the new 14nm Intel Celeron processors.

In addition, Acer will release updated versions of the Acer Aspire R 13 and Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook with the new Core models. Also at CES today, Acer announced the 5th Gen-based Acer Revo One entertainment desktop mini-PC system.

Further information

The Intel 5th Gen Core processors and Cherry Trail Atom SoCs are both shipping now. More information on these Broadwell chips may be found in links budding off from the Broadwell announcement.

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One response to “Intel debuts 5th Gen Core processors”

  1. Greg Graber says:

    When will Quad core 5th Generation processors be available?

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