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Computex: Intel unveils Broadwell-based Core M chip for 2-in-1 devices

14nm fanless mobile chip family
Tue Jun 03 2014, 11:03

TAIPEI: INTEL ANNOUNCED a 14nm fanless mobile chip family named Core M at Computex on Tuesday, which will power upcoming slimline laptops, tablets and in particular 2-in-1 convertible devices such as the Transformer Book Chi that Asus announced on Monday.

Unveiled on stage by Intel president Renee James at the Computex computer trade show in Taiwan on Tuesday, the Core M processor line is based on Intel's upcoming 14nm chip architecture, codenamed Broadwell, which is said to take up around 50 percent less space inside devices.

Detailed specifications for the Core M processor are thin on the ground so far but James said that the chip family will offer faster performance, smooth application switching, better and speedier visuals, and longer battery life in devices.

"This is our first Core 14nm part. It's cool, it's quiet, it's lighter, it's thinner and it's the most energy efficient Core processor in Intel's history," said James. "This holiday you will be able to purchase systems built on Core M."

Intel announced the Core M Broadwell based chip family at ComputexJames said that most of the hardware running the chip will be fanless, allowing for much thinner devices, as seen in the Transformer Book Chi.

"The new Core processor family will be well below 10w TDP, that means these [products] will be fanless-based systems in 2-in-1 as well as the tablet form factor and a full docking capability that gives you a full desktop," she added.

"This is what the breakthrough in microprocessing technology provides you... that's why we think Moore's Law does matter as it allows you to bring all the vectors of performance to mobile computing."

Intel said Core M devices will offer 20 to 40 percent performance improvements, while system on chip (SoC) power could be cut by up to 45 percent, producing 60 percent less heat, which allows for fanless design.

The Core M processor brand will fit snugly in between Intel's Atom and Core processors, bridging the gap between less powerful smartphones and tablets running on Merrifield and Moorefield SoCs and Core i3 to Core i7 Haswell CPUs powering higher performing laptops and desktops. Intel said Core M is better than Bay Trail, which is focused more on tablets and phones, because it is able to offer more processing power while retaining the same TDP.

Asus chairman, CEO and president Jonney Shih was dragged on stage to talk about how amazing the Core M is and how it will be powering the firm's Transformer Book Chi, which Asus claims is the world's thinnest tablet. Shih, who didn't seem his usual theatrical crazy self, said that the Core M is responsible for the Transformer Chi's 7.3mm design.

Core M is a big deal for Intel. It will be the first time Broadwell chip architecture will hit the market in laptops and tablets. However, today wasn't the first appearance of Intel's Broadwell chip. Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich flashed a laptop running the chip on stage at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco last year.

Since that time, Broadwell has received much scrutiny due to Intel admitting to delays in bringing the 14nm chip to market last October. Krzanich revealed the news during a conference call, telling investors that the chipmaker had fallen behind its original estimate of a release within a year.

However, by mid-May Krzanich said Broadwell chips will in fact arrive in computers in time for Christmas, which was backed up by James today.

While on stage in Taipei on Tuesday, James also took the opportunity to announce an addition to Intel's SSD line for the data centre that use non-volatile memory express (NVMe) to access the SSDs through the PCIe bus.

The three SSD data centre series comprise the P3500, P3600, and P3700 model lines and are designed to provide high performance and low latency while being cost effective, James said. µ


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