Intel Announces 5th Gen Core Mobile Processors, 14nm Cherry Trail At CES

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Introduction

The Consumer Electronics Show is about to get underway, and Intel is leading the pack with a set of CPU announcements. It has been six months since the company took the lid off its first 14nm processor, the Core M, but that CPU is designed for the ultramobile, low-power market. Consumers who wanted to tap Intel's 14nm products in more mainstream notebook hardware had to wait a bit longer until the Q1 2015 time frame.

This new SoC is a "tick" in Intel's tick-tock plan, which means it's mostly a die shrink of the existing Haswell architecture -- at least, on the CPU side. On the GPU side, there's a bevy of improvements and advances, and the video decoder block has been beefed up with dual bit stream decoders in the high-end (GT3) hardware. Other feature improvements and capabilities are expected, though Intel has been quiet on exactly what it has tweaked and changed to date.

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Intel is going to hit the drum on this launch from multiple angles. First, there's die size. At a time when TSMC's 20nm has been characterized as a modest improvement on die size and power consumption, Intel is positioning these new Broadwell cores as a full 37% smaller -- in line with what we'd expect from a standard die shrink.

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Similarly, the company is arguing that it can boost battery life by 1.5 hours, speed video conversions, and offer a whopping 22% improvement to 3D performance -- a gain on par with what we saw when moving from Ivy Bridge to Haswell. The 4% productivity jump isn't going to light up the sky, but productivity gains have been stalled for years thanks to macro trends in the semiconductor industry. Intel's "ticks" generally don't deliver much in the way of improved CPU performance in any case, that's what the larger "tock" is for.

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