Intel to Broaden Market for Fanless Tablets, Ultrabooks with 14nm Intel Core M
June 3, 2014 10:42 AM
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Intel announces its “most energy-efficient Intel Core processor” to date
When it comes to processors used in today’s computers (be they laptops, desktops, or servers), Intel remains the king. However, as consumers find themselves increasingly moving away from being tied down to a desktop towards mobile devices, Intel still wants to be at the forefront of innovation when it comes to processor performance and efficiency.
With processors based on
clearly dominating in the smartphone and tablet space, Intel is looking to push back heavily starting at the convertible PC level and downward. To show its commitment, Intel is introducing a new Core M processor that is based on the
. Intel calls the Core M the “most energy-efficient Intel Core processor” to date, and states that the processor will enable a broad range of thin, lightweight, and more importantly, quiet mobile devices.
Intel's Llama Mountain reference design
Compared to the previous generation Core offerings, the Core M will have a 60 percent lower TDP, 20 to 40 percent better performance, and a 50 percent smaller package footprint.
At Computex, Intel demoed a 2-in-1 device with Core M, codenamed
, which pairs a 12.5” fanless tablet with a detachable keyboard. The tablet itself is just 7.2mm thin, and weighs 1.48 pounds. For comparison’s sake, the recently announced Surface Pro 3 features a 12” display, is 9.1mm thin, and weighs 1.76 pounds.
Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 is 2.1mm thicker than the Intel reference design
One of the first products to use the new Core M processor is the ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi which runs Windows 8.1. This convertible PC features a 12.5” IPS display (2560x1440), detachable keyboard, and integrated LTE connectivity.
ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi
There’s no word yet on availability for the Transformer Book T300 Chi, or other devices that will use the Core M.
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RE: Not much to go on here.
6/3/2014 8:35:58 PM
I forgot about 3D:
3D is fun stuff and offers huge performance improvements. You can vastly shorten your interconnect lengths and integrate memory on-chip with orders of magnitude higher bandwidth than you can by going to even a modern L1 cache.
There's 1 big problem with 3D though, and that's heat density. If you take logic that has an area A, and stack it in 3 layers ontop of itself your logic now has 3 times the heat density. A 22nm CPU without an overclock already has about a 30C temperature differential between the die and heatsink due to how small the high-power area of the cores are. Stack the logic on itself 3 times and you now have 90C just across the thermal interface. A big part of this is because for some reason we still use Silicon Dioxide to physically protect the processor which has around 1/100th the conductivity of copper, but stacking only makes the heat density problem worse.
Overall I think it is a good idea to do 3D. There are ways to bond the wafers with very high yield. As with everything though, there's always a drawback. This problem should be fixable by ditching SiO2 as the processor's protective coating for something more thermally conductive.
RE: Not much to go on here.
6/4/2014 3:04:49 PM
Regarding the heat problem in 3D, I'm wondering why not just slow down the clock?
For example, what if you could get rid of DRAM entirely, and put a couple of GB of SRAM on die (say 20 layers on top of logic)? This way, the program would load from SSD straight into SRAM on the CPU. You would still want to have a couple of levels of cache, but your main memory accesses would speed up dramatically.
To deal with heat from those 20 layers of SRAM and the CPU, slow the clock to, say, 500 MHz. Sure, the CPU becomes slower, but the main memory is now at least 10 times faster, and system design is simplified.
Also, a slower clock allows to have multiple layers of logic too, so a multilayer CPU can have more transistors: cram more cores, more execution units per core, larger graphics accelerator unit, etc.
Finally, a slower clock allows to build larger, more complex systems, because it's much easier to deal with signal integrity issues.
If 500 MHz sounds like an awfully slow speed, just remember that your brain works pretty well at just 100 Hz.
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