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Intel to launch sub-10W Ivy Bridge Y chips at CES

Intel to launch sub-10W Ivy Bridge Y chips at CES

Intel's Ivy Bridge Y chips have a claimed sub-10W thermal design profile, bringing them close to Atom parts in power draw.

Intel is to launch a selection of ultra-low power Ivy Bridge processors, aimed at the tablet market and with a thermal design profile of less than 10W, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Last Vegas later this month.

The ultra-low power processors, dubbed the Y Series, were the subject of a rumour late last year which saw Intel claimed to be launching its first Ivy Bridge chips - or 'Third-Generation Intel Core Processors,' as the company's branding department would have it - with a 10W TDP. Compared to the current lowest Ivy Bridge chip, which sits at a 17W TDP, that's an impressive figure - made more so by the fact that 10W parts weren't expected to arrive until the next-generation Haswell architecture got off the ground.

Intel, naturally, refused to comment on the rumours, but the company has broken its silence ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show to confirm that the 10W parts are real. Speaking to CNET, a company spokesperson confirmed that sub-10W Ivy Bridge parts will be unveiled at the show, targeting x86-based Windows 8 tablets and ever-more-slim variations on the company's Ultrabook design.

The process of getting all the performance and functionality of an Ivy Bridge Core-series processor below 10W doesn't appear to be easy, however: the spokesperson gives the impression that the chips won't be available for general consumption but will instead be limited to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) stock control units (SKUs) - and while a retail release would have been too much to hope for, CNET appears to be hinting heavily that the parts will be made available to selected OEM partners only.

A sub-10W Ivy Bridge processor would be a game-changer in a number of ways. Currently, the low-power processor market is all-but monopolised by ARM and its multitudinous licensees, and while Intel's x86-based Atom processors are making some headway in this market their lacklustre performance leaves manufacturers cold at the thought of the effort required in an architecture switch. An Ivy Bridge Core-series processor at a sub-10W TDP, however, would be a very different proposition, offering a full-fat 64-bit x86 experience - a far cry from the 32-bit Atom chips Intel currently sells to the low-power market.

Specifications for the Y-series Ivy Bridge chips are not, sadly, available, with more information expected to come at Intel's Consumer Electronics Show events.

12 Comments

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r3loaded 4th January 2013, 11:41 Quote
Well, you didn't expect to buy BGA soldered chips from Scan did you? :p

I'm guessing that these Y series will crop up in the Surface Pro?
Anfield 4th January 2013, 12:07 Quote
its likely that they are headed for the surface pro yep, although given that haswell is around the corner I'd say don't buy a surface pro and wait for the surface pro 2 or whatever they'll end up calling it.
Stelph 4th January 2013, 13:04 Quote
This news has certainly made me re-think buying a Clover Trail tablet if the release of these chips is so close! At the very least it should cause a dip in the price of the one im most interested in (Acer W510)

I do wonder however if there will be any performance benefit from these new chips or if it is simply power saving only, considering the W510 is capable of 8 hours (plus 8 hours more from the keyboard dock battery) these new chips will certainly be impressive

Why cant smartphones have similar leaps in battery life?
greigaitken 4th January 2013, 13:30 Quote
even if intel could flick a switch and get tdp to 1 watt, still doesnt do all that much for battery life when you still have to power the screen. If intel spent their next 10bn on battery tech instead, you'd get a better result, but then that would dilute their manufacturing advantage...
jrs77 4th January 2013, 14:01 Quote
Seeing the current i3-3217UE sitting at 17W, someone has to ask what they cut down to lower the power by almost half.

Maybe reducing clockspeed to 1-1.2 GHz and cutting down the iGPU aswell.
azazel1024 4th January 2013, 19:00 Quote
Likely reduced clock speeds of GPU and CPU combined with probably cherry picking the chips further than what is done for the ULV parts and then running at even lower voltages.

It might even involve going so far as changing the actual transistors on the chip to be extremely low leakage transistors.

Currently ULV Ivy Bridge chips seem to run roughly 4w per core loaded, so just the CPU end of things already is sub 10W TDP, though that doesn't include GPU or the other on die stuff (which when maxed out can push things to roughly 20w...which means TDP is exceeded, which results in the GPU being throttled a bit, to roughly 900Mhz to get back under the 17w TDP after a minute or so of turbo speeds exceeding TDP).

I'd would imagine that we are going to be looking at chips running in the 1-1.5Ghz range maybe with turbos that could boost them to 1.4-2Ghz range and probably a GPU running around 250Mhz base clock with maybe turbos in the 500-800Mhz range.

A fair amount slower than ULV Ivy even, but whicked faster than Cortex A15 or Atom (probably roughly 2-3x faster still than a quad core A15 for a dual core 1.5Ghz Ivy Bridge processor).
Anfield 4th January 2013, 22:51 Quote
Yeah, this should eat atom for breakfast, although it does make it kind of questionable why intel even bothers with atom any more if they can scale the desktop cpus down to sub 10w.
Hanoken 4th January 2013, 23:32 Quote
"Last Vegas later this..."

um... you mean Las Vegas...?
rollo 4th January 2013, 23:44 Quote
With Arm chips below 4watts its still way too much for tablet or smartphone consumption which i guess is the idea.

Does not matter if it performs 10 times faster ( which it wont ) if it dies in 10mins flat.

a 10 watt apple ipad would last about 4hrs in full usage for reference.

Also something wierd is going on with intel chips and battery usage. As the samsung ativ thing with clevo chip lasts nearly 10hrs + without dock. The surface using the same chip scrapes in around 8hrs. so its not all intels fault. ( samsung ativ has a smaller battery than the surface does)
dicobalt 5th January 2013, 02:57 Quote
I think ARM's head is about to roll. Intel seems to have the power/performance advantage going forward.
fluxtatic 5th January 2013, 09:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
Yeah, this should eat atom for breakfast, although it does make it kind of questionable why intel even bothers with atom any more if they can scale the desktop cpus down to sub 10w.

I'd agree - it hardly seems worth the bother that Intel will finally re-architect Atom into a proper OoO processor and put it on the current process node starting next year (Atom traditionally has been turned out in the older fabs that are a node behind the fabs used for the current generation - Ivy's on 22, Atom's on 32.)

If they can get IB down to 10, how low can Haswell go? Have to wonder, too, if maybe they'll just keep the Atom branding even if the arch inside is Haswell. Lucky for Intel that Atom doesn't have the lackluster reputation amongst the general public that it seems to with tech enthusiasts, and so the name won't hurt it.
r3loaded 5th January 2013, 10:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
If they can get IB down to 10, how low can Haswell go? Have to wonder, too, if maybe they'll just keep the Atom branding even if the arch inside is Haswell. Lucky for Intel that Atom doesn't have the lackluster reputation amongst the general public that it seems to with tech enthusiasts, and so the name won't hurt it.
While all Atom chips so far are essentially modernised derivatives of the Pentium 3 with PowerVR GPUs, future Intel Atom chips should be roughly based off the current-generation Core architecture of their time (e.g. Silvermont will share a lot with Haswell) and will use Intel's GPU IP. I think they're intending for Atom to be used in phones and mainstream tablets that require sub-4W TDP, with Core going in the high-end tablet/ultrabook market.

Apparently the arrival of the 14nm Broadwell architecture should bring low-power Core chips that are completely fanless. I can't wait to see what a fanless Surface Pro or MacBook Air looks like!
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