During a benchmarking session at IDF 2014, Intel showed off their Llama Mountain Reference Design, where the new Intel Core M-5Y70 processor was shown running Cinebench and 3DMark in a slim tablet form factor that demonstrated the platform’s potential as a low power, high-performance mobile chip.
In the session at IDF this week, Intel focused on showing off the improved thermals that the new Core M processors bring to the table. The Intel Core M-5Y70 is based on the new Broadwell architecture and is manufactured using the latest 14nm fabrication process. It has a low TDP or thermal design threshold which makes it suitable for fanless designs as well as super thin and light devices. What we were looking at specifically was the materials used; a pressed aluminum case is easier to make but will only yield 3-4W of thermal dissipation, the uni-body aluminum frame can handle 6-8 Watts. They even showed a copper tablet that has the best numbers with 10-12 Watts.
When Broadwell first ships it will be the lower locked version that is aimed at a 4.5 Watt TDP, but what we saw in the benchmarking session was the higher performance 6W version that will obviously deliver higher benchmark scores and better overall performance.
Broadwell will be able to power a full Windows PC in a thin, fanless form factor. To offer some comparison, the Surface Pro 3 has 15W TDP parts, while Core M operates in a 4.5W TDP. However, for this reference design Intel is leveraging the larger amount of surface area to dissipate a 6W TDP chip. When it comes to benchmarks, Chippy from UMPC portal was in the session with us so we decided to use his charts. If you’re interested in another deep dive, he’s got a great article with a Core M Overview, Benchmarks & Devices.
Intel Core M on Cinebench 11.5 multi CPU scored 2.65 which is 20% better than Core i7 Ivy Bridge Y Series device like the Lenovo Yoga 11S.
Intel’s Core M in a chassis that has been optimized with the idea materials for heat dissipation will score 2.65 which is just a shade slower than the Surface Pro 3 will get you at 2.77. With it’s new thin profile we’re coming it in the ball park of current generation devices.
Intel’s new processor line up is producing some pretty impressive results, we just hope that the manufacturers take a few lessons here regarding materials. The other thing that you should keep in mind is that this is the high-end of the Core M series; the 6W version, not the average 4.5W edition.
The tablet itself has an aluminum frame and weighs around 680 grams (for reference sake the iPad Air is 469 grams). Intel showed the performance of Llama Mountain in Sunspider 1.0.2 and 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited.
Intel’s Core M clearly provides an improvement on the CPU, GPU as well as A/V decoding and encoding performance over the 4th-generation Core Y Series SoCs. However, the thermal design in a device so thin is clearly going to play a role in performance. Intel was showcasing the possibilities, they even showed off a copper tablet that would provide the best thermal performance and the results were essentially identical.
We got to take a look at the Llama Mountain board which is much smaller than previous generations. The second green PCB contains the storage (a SanDisk iSSD solution) and a WiFi chip (Intel 7260AC). You can see the WiFi on the left hand side of the device, it adds in 0.6oz of weight to the mother board.
One interesting fact that was gleaned from this intimate meeting was a clarification on the 15W power consumption number that is going around, this spike in drain is for instant use power, having these peak power moments allows Core M to move very fast, it is not sustained power consumption.
Intel’s Core M is shipping and 5-8 devices are expected to launch in Q4 2014, we’ve got hands on with quite a few of them, like the Acer Aspire Switch 12, ASUS Transformer Book T300FA, HP Envy x2, ASUS Transformer T300 Chi, Lenovo Thinkpad Helix 2, ASUS Zenbook UX305 and one that we didn’t get hands on with which is the Wistron N-Midas.
If you want to check out some hands on videos of the devices, I’ve got a series of them below.
ASUS Transformer Book UX305
ASUS Transformer Book Chi T300
Acer Aspire 12
Lenovo Helix 2
HP Envy X2