Intel Launches Core M 'Broadwell' for Two-in-One Systems

Intel has officially launched its Core M processor line aimed at ultra-thin laptop and tablet designs, detailing the clock speeds and performance of the new chips, which are expected to appear in systems before the end of the year.

Unveiled at the IFA show in Berlin, the Core M is Intel's first 14nm processor and enables ultra-thin laptop and tablet designs with double the battery life, but without compromising on performance. It enables fanless 2-in-1 hybrid laptop/tablet devices less than 9mm thick for the first time in Intel's Core family.

According to Intel, half of all buyers of 2-in-1 systems had considered a tablet, but were only swayed by the performance of a laptop, hence Intel's keenness to cut the size and weight of such systems while maintaining performance.

"The barrier until now has been cost," said Simon Lambden, user experience engineer for Intel in EMEA. "You can get a thin-and-light laptop, but they have always been expensive. Core M allows for a reduction in that cost," he added.

Details of the chips, codenamed Broadwell-Y, were released last month when Intel disclosed it had begun volume production and shipments to system vendors.

Now Intel has revealed that upwards of 20 designs are in the pipeline, with about five vendors expected to ship products before the end of the year, and more expected in early 2015.

The Core M platform boasts up to 50 percent faster CPU and 40 percent faster graphics performance versus the previous generation, Intel claimed, while offering typically up to 1.7 hours longer battery life.

At launch, just three versions are available, all dual-core chips designed for a maximum thermal design power (TDP) of 4.5W. The top-end Core M-5Y70 has a clock speed of just 1.1GHz, but this can ramp up to 2.6GHz when needed with Intel's Turbo Boost Technology 2.0.

The other two are the Core M-5Y10a and Core M-5Y10, both running at 800MHz with a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 2GHz. The chief difference between these two is that the Core M-5Y10 has a configurable TDP, enabling the system vendor to limit it to below 4W operation.

For business users, the top-end Core M-5Y70 also features Intel's vPro and TXT technologies for management and security, but Lambden said that Intel is not yet ready to disclose what features and capabilities it has added to vPro for this platform.

Intel is pushing the benefits of investing in new systems based on Core M, by comparing these with a typical four-year-old laptop that many businesses will still be using.

A new system will typically be 50 percent lighter and could be just one third of the thickness, while offering increased performance for applications, as well as other benefits such as a higher resolution touch-capable screen, the firm said.

The platform also includes support for wireless desktop docking using the WiGig standard, but this is an option that it is up to the system vendor to implement, according to Lambden.

Intel also disclosed that its first 5th Generation Core processor family, codenamed Broadwell-U, is due to be in volume production before the end of the year, with availability expected early in 2015.

7-Sep-2014 16:01:39