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Computex: Intel unveils Broadwell-based Core M chip

03 Jun 2014

TAIPEI: Intel has shown off a 14nm fanless mobile chip family named Core M, which will power upcoming slimline laptops, tablets and 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 but James said 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 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 came 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.

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. Broadwell has received much scrutiny due to Intel admitting to delays in bringing the 14nm chip to market last October.

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 uses 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.

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Lee Bell

Lee joined as a reporter on The INQUIRER in April 2012.

Prior to working at The INQUIRER, Lee was sponsored by the NCTJ to do a multimedia journalism course in London. After completing placements at local magazines and newspapers in both print and online he wrote for an online gaming news website, and it was here where his love for technology grew.

Lee's main coverage areas include processors, internet security, PCs, laptops and tablet news and reviews.

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