Is this thing for real?
Sure looks like it. Although they strangely asked us not to take any pictures during the press briefing, Intel passed around a nifty Broadwell reference design tablet code-named "Llama Mountain." The screen was 12.5" in size, and the chassis was 7.2 mm thick. The system was running Windows 8.1, and idling at the desktop, its skin felt relatively cool to the touch.
Intel appears to have crammed a fairly potent x86 PC into a system not much larger than an iPad Air.
We don't yet know the full specs of the first Core M processors, but Intel has clearly set the expectation that Broadwell-Y will match the performance of Haswell-Y in half the power envelope. The Haswell-based Core i5-4200Y has a 1.4GHz base clock and a 1.9GHz Turbo peak. I fully expect to see a Core M processor with the same clock speeds in a sub-nine-mm tablet.
The zillion-dollar question is whether having truly astounding performance in a tablet-style power envelope is enough to move the market in Intel's direction. Will Windows-based tablets and two-in-ones become so attractive with the Core M onboard that consumers will overlook the clumsiness of Windows 8.1's dual-mode usage model and dearth of touch-oriented applications?
Yeah, that's a tough one.
A related and more interesting question is what Intel's tolerance is for exploring lower price points. Broadwell-Y is darn near half the size of Haswell-Y, and assuming the 14-nm process matures as expected, it ought to be incredibly cheap to manufacture. One of those 10" Windows tablets becomes a much more attractive alternative to an iPad when its price is comparable—or possibly even lower.
Intel also has the intriguing option of pursuing new territory now that Android on x86 is a reality. One could imagine an 11" convertible tablet a la the Asus Transformer lineup sporting a Core M processor and bringing a whole new class of performance to the Android market.
That's just speculation, though. What matters most are the systems Intel's partners actually release during the coming holiday season. One or more of those will have to get some real traction with the buying public in order for the Core M to succeed out of the gate. We'll be keep an eye on the prospects to see what develops.
87 comments — Last by NarwhaleAu at 10:50 AM on 10/22/14
|AMD's Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U APUs revealedInfinity Fabric ties Zen and Vega together||172|
|Intel's Core i7-8700K CPU reviewedSix shots of Coffee Lake, please||369|
|Intel's Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X CPUs reviewedDid somebody say more cores?||176|
|The Tech Report System Guide: September 2017 editionHog heaven at the high end||100|
|Gigabyte's Aero 15 gaming laptop reviewedPower and portability in one package||24|
|Aorus' X5 v7 gaming laptop reviewedG-Sync on the go||13|
|Intel kicks off eighth-gen Core with four cores and eight threads in 15WMore of the good stuff||89|
|AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 1920X and Ryzen Threadripper 1950X CPUs reviewedI'm rubber, you're glue||126|
|Break records with EVGA's GTX 1080 Ti Kingpin Hydro Copper Gaming||8|
|Intel patches new vulnerabilities in its Management Engine||15|
|National Stuffing Day Shortbread||10|
|Tuesday deals: a 4K monitor, a 1 TB SSD, and much more||16|
|Cooler Master MasterKeys MK750 goes for a minimalist style||3|
|Marvell takes Cavium under its wing for $6 billion||2|
|Deals of the day: Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs on the cheap and more||36|
|Aorus K9 Optical keyboard senses strokes with infrared light||15|
|ROG Strix XG32VQ and XG35VQ fuse fast VA panels with FreeSync||21|
|Working on it.||+17|