During Intel’s Computex 2014 keynote, the company announced a ‘new’ line of CPUs designed for low-power tablets and similar mobile devices. The new line, called Core M, isn’t unfamiliar to those keeping up with Intel’s roadmap: it essentially refers to their upcoming Broadwell Y parts, which are manufactured using a 14nm process.
Core M parts will be found in thin-and-light x86-powered tablets, including Asus’ recently announced Transformer Book T300 Chi, towards the end of 2014. Intel showed off a reference tablet as thin as 7.2mm with a Core M part inside, which was completely fanless due to the CPU’s low power consumption (somewhere around 10W).
Intel claims Core M is the most power efficient processor they’ve ever made, which will allow thin and light x86 devices similar to Intel’s reference design to be produced. If low-power Haswell Y parts are anything to go by, Core M parts should easily outperform the best ARM chips available. How Core M stacks up against ARM on a price and battery consumption level is a different story.
For those who aren’t aware, Broadwell is Intel’s 14nm die shrink of their Haswell microarchitecture. Each die shrink provides a better level of energy efficiency, and Intel can typically also squeeze out some more performance through various optimizations.
I’ve taken a look at the T300 Chi from Asus, which is powered by a Broadwell-based Core M CPU, at their press event during Computex, and the impressive tablet goes to show how Intel’s new chips will bring about better x86 tablet designs.