Intel Core M 14 nm Broadwell announced for fanless devices

Intel Broadwell Die

Intel has finally taken the wraps off their brand new 14nm Broadwell-based Core M series processors which will help Intel make their way into fanless tables and 2-in-1 devices with as low as 9 mm thickness. The Core M series is a direct predecessor to Haswell based Y-series chips which were classified into traditional Core i and Pentium series. Intel has taken some extreme measures to lower down the power needs of the chips while improving the performance. Even the thickness of the processors is dropped to 1.05 mm from 1.5mm.

Intel Broadwell Die

Right now, Intel has only announced three Broadwell Y-parts under the Core M nomenclature. All there are targeted towards mainstream market and will make their way to fanless tablets and 2-in-1 devices.

Intel Core M Specifications

  Core M-5Y70 Core M-5Y10a Core M-5Y10
Cores / Threads 2 / 4 2 / 4 2 / 4
Base Frequency 1100 MHz 800 MHz 800 MHz
Turbo Frequency 2600 MHz 2000 MHz 2000 MHz
Processor Graphics HD 5300 HD 5300 HD 5300
IGP Base Frequency 100 MHz 100 MHz 100 MHz
IGP Turbo Frequency 850 MHz 800 MHz 800 MHz
L3 Cache 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB
TDP 4.5 W 4.5 W 4.5 W
LPDDR3/DDR3L Support 1600 MHz 1600 MHz 1600 MHz
Intel vPro Yes No No
Intel TXT Yes No No
Intel VT-d/VT-x Yes Yes Yes
Intel AES-NI Yes Yes Yes

At the top of the Core M line sits the 5Y70 processor. Before we jump into its specifications, let’s have a look at what these numbers and alphabets mean in processor’s model number. The first digit ‘5’ refers to the positioning to the processor. In this case, ‘5’ is similar Core i5 which means that it has two cores with HyperThreading resulting in 4 threads. The ‘Y’ means that its a low-power Broadwell Y chip. The last two digits, ’70’, gives its position in the product stack.

As mentioned, the Core M-5Y70 comes with two cores and four threads. It has base frequency of 1.1 GHz which can go as high as 2.6 GHz under load. The integrated graphics is from HD 5300 series and has base frequency of only 100 MHz which can go up to 850 MHz when needed. It comes with 4MB L3 cache, 4.5W TDP, 1600 MHz memory support along with vPro and TXT instructions.

The other two models, Core M-5Y10a and Core M-5Y10, are exactly similar in terms of visible specifications. Both have two cores, four threads which are clocked at 800 MHz with turbo of 2.0 GHz. They have same HD 5300 IGP as their bigger brother. Even the base clock is same as 100 MHz but these two have lower turbo clock of 800 MHz. They have 4MB L3 cache, 4.5W TDP, 1600 MHz memory support but vPro and TXT is missing. The only difference between Core M-5Y10a and Core M-5Y10 is that the later one has configurable TDP of 4W.

Intel Core M Die Map

All three processors are essentially the same, they are basically binned differently to produce three different SKUs. We’ll probably see the Core M-5Y10 the most. There is another surprising fact that Intel has set same price for all three SKUs (1000 units) but as all of the chips will go to OEMs so the ultimate pricing depend on their particular deals with Intel. OEMs will probably buy these chips depending on the thermal and performance needs of their product designs.

Intel Core M chips with 1.3 billion transistors and 82mm2 die size. Most of the real estate on the die is taken by IGP. Intel has not released much details about the new HD 5300 graphics but it reportedly has 24 EUs with increased cache. The HD 5300 is confirmed to have support for DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 2.0, with UltraHD (3840×2160) supported at 24 Hz through HDMI. This could lead way towards fanless tablets with UHD displays.

Intel has released a chart which shows different tablet sizes and thicknesses which are possible for fanless designs with these new 4.5W Core M chips. These new processors enable 11.6-inch 8mm thick fanless tablets as well as 10.1-inch 10mm thick tablets with no fans. And unlike most successfull tablets these days, the Core M based tablets will have full x86 platform.

Intel Fanless Tablets Chart

Intel is also talking about improved battery timings with these Broadwell Y chips as compared to Haswell Y chips. We are looking at 103 mins extra time while playing HD video, 74 mins extra on idle device with display turned on, 63 mins extra with web browsing and 54 mins extra on Mobile Mark 2012. These tests are all done with Windows 8.1.

Intel core M Battery Life

Intel has shown several Core M based devices on IFA 2014 which will be available later this year. There will be devices like Aspire Switch 12, ASUS Zenbook UX305, ASUS Transformer Book T300FA, HP ENVY x2, Lenovo ThinkPad Helix and others.

However, there is an interesting fact here. Intel has recently discontinued the first stepping of Core M Broadwell processors which had TSX issues. Core M 5Y70, 5Y10a and 5Y10 are in the list of discontinued products. So the first wave of Broadwell based Core M notebookss might get the old stepping CPUs while the new stepping went in to mass production last month so we might see them in notebooks launched in early 2015. We suggest you that should wait a bit to get the new F0 E0 stepping Core M CPUs because the TSX issues causes abnormal system behavior.

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