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.