Expect Intel's next generation of mobile CPUs to consume quite a bit less power than current models. Ars Technica has the goods on the company's new mobile strategy, and it looks like ultra-low-voltage chips could be the norm moving forward.
Intel's mobile Sandy Bridge lineup currently spans a TDP range of 17-55W. Low-voltage models are available with 17W and 25W TDPs, while standard-voltage chips come in 35W, 45W, and 55W flavors. 35W is the midpoint, but Intel CEO Paul Otellini says that will shift to somewhere in the 10-15W range moving forward.
This move is meant to enable more thin-and-light notebook designs, which mobile PCs may need to compete with the slender sexiness of current tablets. Of course, one has to wonder how much performance Intel will need to sacrifice to squeeze into more restrictive thermal envelopes. The low leakage of the company's new tri-gate transistors will certainly help to ease the transition, but it's hard to imagine Ivy Bridge CPUs besting their Sandy Bridge counterparts while working with less than half the power. Sandy's pretty fast already, though. Notebook users may be more interested in slimmer designs and longer battery life than faster performance.