Rumor: Lower-wattage Ivy Bridge chips coming

Less than a year old, and Ivy Bridge may already be going on a diet. Oh my. According to someone with knowledge of Intel’s plans quoted by CNet News, the chipmaker is cooking up some new Ivy processors with "significantly" lower power consumption than today’s offerings.

How much lower? CNet’s source doesn’t say exactly—but word is that Intel is shooting for something "well below" the 17W TDP of Ivy models found in today’s ultrabooks. Intel is unlikely to launch anything this month, so we’ll likely see these lower-power chips at some point next year, CNet News suggests.

Now, we all know Intel plans to slash power envelopes down to as little as 10W with its Haswell processors next year. Intel said as much a couple of months ago, and CNet mentions it in its story. Rolling out a lower-power version of Ivy just before Haswell’s debut would definitely be an unexpected move.

Perhaps Intel is simply looking for a stopgap to power Windows 8 tablets, though. CNet says PC makers are reluctant to use Z-series Atoms because of their poor performance. At the same time, 17W variants of Ivy Bridge probably aren’t a perfect fit for slates. According to our calculations, the Ivy-powered Surface for Windows 8 Pro will only have four hours of battery life despite weighing in at 2.2 lbs. A sub-17W Ivy Bridge could provide a decent middle ground to tide us over until Haswell.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    If they can run Ivy at 3.0GHz at just 10w, then that’s real news. If they have to butcher the die and clock it at 1GHz to get at 10w, no, it’s just them trying to fight ARM. No thanks. There are just too many apps written for ARM already. Intel is being too greedy.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    Or perhaps Haswell is being delayed due to lack of competition. With rumors saying Steamroller may be a no show in 2013, what incentive does Intel have to rush out Haswell. All Intel really needs is lower power chips for the tablet market. No one is really asking for low power and more performance right now.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Or perhaps Haswell is being delayed due to lack of competition.[/quote<] Unlikely unless ARM + licensees are about to shutdown without warning. Intel vs. AMD is over. Intel vs. ARM is just beginning to get serious.

        • Kurotetsu
        • 7 years ago

        Which is great for tablets and smartphones, not so much for desktops and laptops (which this site is mostly concerned with).

          • dpaus
          • 7 years ago

          And ARM is completely irrelevant when it comes to PC gaming, which this site is mostly concerned with.

        • BestJinjo
        • 7 years ago

        You are confusing entirely different markets. The fastest ARM chip is slower than an E6400 Core 2 Duo. Intel does compete with ARM in the smartphone/tablet space but not in the laptop or desktop space. I don’t think most people have any idea how slow ARM CPUs are. ARM might become a more serious competitor with Intel in the medium performance CPU arena in 5 years.

          • jdaven
          • 7 years ago

          I didn’t mention ARM in my post. I was mostly thinking about the x86 tablets from MS that will be released soon.

          • chuckula
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]You are confusing entirely different markets. The fastest ARM chip is slower than an E6400 Core 2 Duo.[/quote<] Absolutely true but besides the point. Haswell is intended to be a firewall that prevents ARM from moving upstream from the tablet/extremely cheap chromebook market. Haswell's lowest-power flavors are efficient enough to have about the same power draw as the high-end ARM SoCs (the big 2/4 core ones at high clockspeeds, not the lower-power ones used in phones) while having better performance, but coming at a higher price. Atom is intended to be a competitor in the really low-power range, although Intel needs a refresh of Atom to stay competitive with ARM in 2013, and I'm not sure Intel is going to do as well there for partly technical and partly political reasons. From what we've seen with Haswell/Broadwell I think there's been a shift in Intel: There will be versions of Broadwell that are basically tablet chips with TDPs of ~5 watts. Haswell is the first stab at this market at 10 watts, which is more for proof of concept than anything else. Broadwell is muscling into territory that was originally supposed to be Atom's, but Atom has not done well enough and apparently the next generation isn't up to the task either. Atom is now turning into two things: 1. A smartphone SoC (this is Atom's #1 future market if it has one), and 2. A low-end tablet SoC for the $200 - $400 tablet market, while Broadwell occupies the high-end tablet market.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            3. Low-power embedded applications – both industrial and CE.

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        >Intel vs. ARM is just beginning to get serious.

        Haswell isn’t a serious competitor to ARM. That would explain why it’s beginning delayed, though – to make room on the leading edge node for Atom+.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          Haswell is a competitor to future high-end low-power ARM that’s aiming for PCs, Atom is a competitor for main-stream ARM on phones and tablets

            • Sahrin
            • 7 years ago

            No, it isn’t. A high-power ARM SoC ‘weighs’ on the order of 1W; Haswell’s *lowest* projected TDP is 10W, not including platform (which the ARM CPU includes). It’s an order of magnitude difference.

            • chuckula
            • 7 years ago

            Go back and look at the latest articles about the first A15 chromebooks… the SoCs are pulling about 8 watts running non-GPU intensive javascript benchmarks. The myth that anything with an ARM label on it will always run at less than one watt is just that: a myth. Are there ARM SoCs out there that run at about 1 watt? Sure, but they aren’t the high-end SoCs that you are seeing in modern tablets.

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            Not to mention the ARMv8 chips that will be arriving for the nascent ARM server products. As that’s a high-margin market it already dominates, ARM inroads there are arguably an even bigger threat to Intel than the growth of the tablet market it has been mostly sitting outside of. Broadwell has an obvious home in whatever “utlrabooks” become, of course, and if Intel can get Broadwell down into “high end tablets” (if that even becomes a true segment) that’s great, but it really wants that architecture to keep ARM out of the server room.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6422/samsung-chromebook-xe303-review-testing-arms-cortex-a15/7[/url<] [quote]"Once again however we see a much larger increase in power consumption once the Cortex A15 is under heavy load. Active power consumption more than doubles on the new Chromebook, while we see around a 30% increase on the Atom based system. [b<]I do wonder what will have to be done to get the Exynos 5 Dual into a smartphone as an increase of ~4W under load just won't cut it in a phone.[/b<]"

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]At the same time, 17W variants of Ivy Bridge probably aren't a perfect fit for slates. According to our calculations, the Ivy-powered Surface for Windows 8 Pro will only have four hours of battery life despite weighing in at 2.2 lbs.[/quote<] 1) The existing Acer iX tablet runs 8 hours, and with a larger screen. 2) Even overlooking that, it's the [b<]exact same chip[/b<]. TDP ≠ battery life. 3) The afforementioned Atom platform is the SoC with a 1.7w TDP, contrasted with Ivy Bridge's 20w+ total TDP, but no crazy battery life to show for it. All a 10w TDP could mean is they're targeting 9" and maybe even 7" tablets, or OEMs requested a special SKU that butchers the turbo scheme.

      • cartman_hs
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<] Acer iX tablet runs 8 hours [/quote<] i wonder why surface pro rumoured to have 4hours+ of battery life?

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]According to someone [s<]with knowledge of Intel's plans[/s<] who read about it on AnandTech three months ago[/quote<] There, fixed that for ya. EDIT: damn, Chuckula beat me to it. Took me way too long to find the date of the original article.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    It’s 10 watts, and Anand already reported on this when the announcement of 10 watt Haswells first came out.

    [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6248/haswell-at-idf-2012-10w-is-the-new-17w[/url<] [quote<] Early next year we'll see limited availability of 10W Ivy Bridge ULV parts. These parts will be deployed in some very specific products, likely in the convertible Ultrabook space, and they won't be widely available. Any customer looking to get a jump start on Haswell might work with Intel to adopt one of these.[/quote<]

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