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Intel Core M performance overview: fanless tablets with multiple times the throughput of iPad

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Intel is holding the lead in terms of manufacturing technology - while ARM fabs have just started mass production of 20nm chips (the Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy Alpha are among the first devices to ship with silicon on that node), Chipzilla has unveiled details about its upcoming Core M chip, one of the first made using the 14nm process.

What is Core M all about and is the new manufacturing process the only thing worth noting? The company revealed more details about the newest member of its chip family at IDF, and it’s time to take a deeper look.

First, let’s keep in mind that the Core M chip will arrive in devices by the end of the year, and while it does not fit in the power envelope for Atom (a territory for tablets and smartphones), it has an important role bridging the gap between tablets and laptops. This format includes 2-in-1 tablet/laptop convertibles a la Microsoft Surface - it is this type of devices that will get the new chip, and we do not expect to see it in regular $500 tablets for two reasons: it has a high price and the thermal envelope might be pushing the limits of battery longevity at that form factor.

For all else, Intel’s new Core M series is a huge leap forward for the company and shows new priorities - launching this first as the new Broadwell family of silicon rolls out reveals just how important the mobile sector has become for Intel. While previously the company’s low-power chips and Atom in particular lagged behind in priority to desktop and laptop chips, and did not make the cut for Intel’s newest manufacturing processes, this time around things have changed.

So how powerful is it? Intel says that Core M is three times more powerful than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 system chip, but that’s not an apples to apples comparison since the difference in price is also multiple times (we don’t yet have an official MSRP for Core M, but it’s almost certain that it’s more than three times as expensive).

“The Intel Core M is two to three times faster than the top of the line premium tablets out there. So if you’re talking about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 or 805 we’re going to be about two to three times faster. We’re about two times faster on gaming and three times faster on most of the other things you’re doing like web applications,” according to Intel.

It’s hard to generalize about the Core M series, though, as just as the Core i family, we have different models at different clock speeds and prices. Right below, you’d see the specs and the overall details about the upcoming platform, what do you think, will Core M be a threat to ARM’s mobile business or not?

reference: AnandTech

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