Core M Broadwell Speeds, Feeds, And Performance

Platforms and Form Factors

Broadwell will eventually debut in every form factor where Haswell competes, but these first chips are targeting ultra-mobile tablets and laptop designs first. Expect to see a few SoCs in convertibles and all-in-ones as well, with more powerful quad-core hardware coming later in 2015.


As it has previously, Intel is thumping the ultra-thin design. The interesting thing this time around is that Intel has a better chance of pulling off the comparisons versus its rivals. The longer battery life (up to 1.7 hours longer), robust capabilities, and 4.5W target, give Intel a chance of competing with the top end of ARM's arsenal, at least in some areas.

This slide takes a bit of digesting. What Intel is noting is that 2-in-1 devices empowered with Core M appeal to users who might have become tablet users, claiming that half of 2-in-1 buyers had strongly considered tablets instead. I'm of two minds on facts like this.  On the one hand, I agree, tablets have been huge these past few years, and have gobbled up sales that would've once flowed to the PC market.

The reason I don't buy this idea completely, however, is that the lack of a keyboard on a tablet is a fundamental deal-breaker for many looking to do more than consumption on a device. Looking at a tablet vs. a high-end 2-in-1, I'm making that call based on whether or not I need the complete performance of a high-end ultrabook (most of these systems are $1000+), a lower-end but functional 2-in-1 like the Asus TransformerBook T100 (the first Atom-based 2-in-1 I've ever tested that got the job done well), or if I can get by with and want an Android tablet or an iPad. In many cases, these three simply aren't mutually interchangeable.  Tablets are for casual convenience, while 2-in-1s tend to be used for more than that. However, Intel would argue, with Core M's power envelope, the lines will blur even further between tablet and 2-in-1.

Intel's on-board graphics are taking a step forward this generation, though exact details are still few and far between. We know that DX11.2 support will be baked in (Haswell topped out at DX11.1), but there's no word of DX12 support. OpenGL 4.2 on Windows is the same feature level that Haswell offered, but the addition of OpenCL 2.0 is welcome (current Intel GPUs top out at OCL 1.2).

Intel is claiming a 40% gain over the Core i5-4302Y, a Haswell-based dual-core with an 850MHz maximum GPU core clock. The implication here is that Broadwell's graphics, when they eventually ship, should be significantly faster than what Haswell could squeeze into the same area.  Though not specifically stated by Intel currently, the way they achieved this performance increase is primarily through addition graphics EU (Execution Units) built into Broadwell-Y Core M designs.

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