For more than a year, Intel's 14-nanometre Broadwell, the successor to its Haswell microarchitecture, has been consistently delayed -- due in part to early-stage manufacturing snafus. But today Intel gave a glimpse of this incredibly tiny powerhouse, and the computing future it will introduce in its wake.
The first Broadwell chip, branded as Core M, will be the more efficient alternative to existing Core i3, i5 and i7 processors when it arrives later this year. In a press release, Intel promises that "the combination of the new microarchitecture and manufacturing process will usher in a wave of innovation in new form factors, experiences, and systems." The reason being that the Core M chip runs cooler than existing Haswell parts, which could lead to fanless laptops less than 9mm thick. The chip provides "similar" performance compared to Haswell, but improved battery life because of its low-voltage design.
Intel already powers some fanless gadgets with Bay Trail and other processors designed for tablets and smartphones. But with Broadwell's low-heat capabilities, Intel could fit real computing power into a tablet. In fact, we're already going to see Broadwell-based Windows tabs, such as the 7.3mm thick ASUS Transformer Book Chi T300, go thinner than iPad Air, according to PCWorld. This idea obviously makes the Core M an attractive sell to tablet/laptop hybrids because of its improved performance and fanless attributes.
Broadwell is a continued step in Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's law that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles every year, and is the tick of Intel's tick-tock production model. In the model, the "tick" represents a die shrink of the current architecture and the "tock" is a new microarchitecture entirely.
We'll most likely see Core M branding on the boxes of select tablet devices this holiday season with even more laptop and PCs hopping on board in early 2015. [Intel]